Eastern’s 2017 Sapphire Ball scholarship fundraiser set for March 25


WILBURTON, OK (Feb. 6, 2017) – Eastern Oklahoma State College will host its eighth annual Sapphire Ball on Saturday, March 25 in the Tourtellotte Student Center Ballroom in Wilburton. The annual black-tie event honors supporters of the college while raising funds for student scholarships.

In addition to the annual awards presentations for outstanding alumni, community supporters and employees, the event will feature dinner, silent and live auctions, and entertainment. The evening will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

“The Sapphire Ball has become a signature event for the area as tickets have sold out weeks in advance for the last four years,” said Dr. Stephen E. Smith. “Guests enjoy the opportunity to attend a local, black-tie event while raising funds that are critical to the success of students in this area.”

The Sapphire Ball has raised more than $70,000 since its inception in 2010. Smith said 100 percent of the event’s proceeds go directly to the Sapphire Scholarship Fund.

Four individuals and one organization that have been instrumental to the success of the college will be honored during the event.

Shelley Free of Red Oak and Bobby Mouser of Stigler will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the college.

Free is the superintendent and chief executive officer of Kiamichi Technology Centers (KTC). A 1982 Eastern graduate, Free has a 32-year career in education. She taught and coached basketball and softball at Talihina Public Schools from 1985-1997. She began her career with KTC as a business and computer technology instructor in 1997 and later became the campus director in Talihina, and deputy superintendent and chief operational officer before being named to her current role in 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in school administration from East Central University.

Mouser has served as the city manager of Stigler since January 2015. He also serves as the general manager of the Stigler Municipal Improvement Authority, director of Economic Development and manager of the Stigler Regional Airport. Mouser retired in 2015 from the Public Service Company of Oklahoma after 35 years of service in managerial roles in areas including commercial/industrial sales, customer service and marketing. He was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to serve a seven-year term as a member of the Eastern Board of Regents in 2015. After graduating from Eastern in 1984, Mouser earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He is also a graduate of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

AT&T Oklahoma will receive the Community Spirit Award for outstanding support and service to Eastern and the local community. AT&T Oklahoma has provided numerous donations to support student scholarships and leadership initiatives, as well as academic programs at Eastern. AT&T Oklahoma and Eastern have also created a unique private-public partnership to benefit the greater Latimer and Pittsburg county areas. In 2014, AT&T built a 350-foot tower on Eastern’s Wilburton campus to provide 4G LTE service to the area. The tower, which was then gifted to Eastern, provided a place to install equipment to launch Mountaineer Radio KWLB 93.1 FM, the college’s 25,000-watt radio station.

The President’s Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to Cheryl Wood-Myers of Wilburton. She has served as a professor of psychology, sociology and child development at Eastern since 2008. Prior to joining Eastern full time, she taught as an adjunct instructor for five years while also serving as a social worker with the Department of Human Service in Latimer County for 24 years. A 1980 Eastern graduate, Wood-Myers also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in psychology and higher education from Northeastern State University.

The J.C. Hunt Award for staff excellence will be presented to Rhonda Price Quinn of Panola. She has served as the administrative assistant to the Agriculture Division for 21 years. She supports both students and faculty, while assisting with the numerous livestock shows, scholastic contests and other agriculture-related events on campus. Quinn has been involved in cattle ranching her entire life and currently has a small herd of commercial cattle. She earned an associate degree in business from Eastern in 1991 and a bachelor’s degree in business education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Tickets for the Sapphire Ball are $60 each and are available through the Office of Institutional Advancement at 918-465-1759.

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