Eastern’s annual Sapphire Ball to honor supporters, raise funds for student scholarships


WILBURTON, OK (March 7, 2014) – Eastern Oklahoma State College will host its fifth annual Sapphire Ball on Saturday, April 5 in the Student Center Ballroom in Wilburton. The annual black-tie event honors supporters of the college while raising funds for student scholarships.

This year’s event will feature dinner, dancing, silent and live auctions, a theatrical performance and an awards presentation honoring outstanding alumni, community supporters and employees. The evening will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Treva Kennedy, Eastern’s director of Institutional Advancement, said the college expects another sellout crowd for the 2014 Sapphire Ball.

“In the past two years, more than $19,000 in scholarship funds have been raised exclusively through this event,” Kennedy said. “The success of the Sapphire Ball is driven by the generosity of our community partners, alumni and friends. One hundred percent of the event’s proceeds go directly to the Sapphire Scholarship Fund, which makes a difference for current and future generations of Eastern students.”

During the evening, Eastern President Dr. Stephen E Smith will honor four individuals and one organization that have been instrumental to the success of the college.

Anita Caldwell Jackson (Class of 1971) and John Redman (Class of 1987) will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the college.

A lifelong resident of the McAlester area, Jackson is a leading advocate for the arts in her community and is a co-founder of the SOFA Art Gallery. In 2011, as a gift to the community, Jackson helped initiate and design a project to paint an 80 foot-wide mural in downtown McAlester that celebrates the heritage of the community. Last year, 16 works of Jackson’s Native American art was donated to Eastern by Mike and Nancy McGowan, also of McAlester. The art is displayed throughout the first floor of the Library building in Wilburton. Jackson is a retired art teacher and counselor at Kiowa Public Schools.

Redman, who lives in Durant, has been employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since 1986. He currently serves as an enterprise community specialist for USDA Rural Development, managing a variety of community, business, water and sewer programs in southeast Oklahoma. He is committed to serving his community and is a graduate of three leadership training programs, including Leadership Durant, Leadership Southeast and Leadership Oklahoma. He also serves as a board member for the Eastern Alumni Association.

BP America Production Company will receive the Community Spirit Award for outstanding support and service to Eastern and the Wilburton community. BP America has provided more than $35,500 in scholarship funding to Eastern students over the past three years. The scholarships are available to qualifying students residing in BP’s operating counties of Latimer, Leflore, Haskell, Pittsburg or Sequoyah.

The President’s Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to Margaret Sorrell, dean of Eastern’s science and mathematics division. A Wilburton native and 1982 Eastern graduate, Sorrell has a long history with college. She was a cheerleader and played basketball for the Lady Mountaineers and her parents were both long-time Eastern employees. In 1986, she returned to her alma mater to teach mathematics as an adjunct instructor and was hired full-time in 1993. She became dean of the division in 2007.

Trish McBeath of Quinton will receive the J.C. Hunt Award for staff excellence. McBeath joined Eastern in 2011 as the director of communications and marketing. McBeath oversees the college’s creative services, publications, advertising, news releases, website and social media. She also serves on the executive board for two statewide organizations, Communicators Council and the Oklahoma College Public Relations Association.

Tickets for the Sapphire Ball are $50 each and are available at eosc.edu/sapphireball. Various sponsorship levels are also available for those interested in corporate tables and promotional recognition. For more information, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 918-465-1759.

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