Givens to be inducted into Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 29, 2018) – Eastern Oklahoma State College professor emeritus Dr. Billye Givens will be inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame on Monday, Nov. 5. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Givens retired from Eastern in 2017 after 44 years of teaching English, giving her the distinct recognition as the longest-serving, full-time, tenured faculty member in the college’s 110-year history. She continues to teach courses on a part-time basis.

“Dr. Givens is one of Eastern’s most recognized and respected faculty members. Her energy and passion for teaching have inspired generations of Eastern students,” said, Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith. “We appreciate the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society for recognizing the significant role community college instructors play in educating a diverse group of students. This is a deserving acknowledgment of Dr. Given’s successful career and her commitment to providing all students with the highest quality education.”

In April, the Eastern Oklahoma State College Board of Regents recognized Givens’s longtime service to the college by naming a classroom in her honor. A bronze plaque featuring her photo and biography is now permanently displayed outside the classroom where she taught for decades in Pratt Hall.

An Eastern graduate, Givens spent her entire professional career at her alma mater. She earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English and a doctoral degree in Education from Oklahoma State University. She returned to Eastern in the fall of 1973 to teach English and physical education. She also served as the men’s and women’s tennis coach and led both teams to a conference title during her early years at Eastern. In addition to teaching, she served as the dean of the Division of Language, Humanities and Education for 11 years.

Throughout her career, Givens has been recognized for teaching by both students and her peers. She has received numerous Faculty of the Year honors, including the peer-selected President’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013. In addition, she also served as a member of Eastern’s Faculty Council and Academic Assessment Committee, as well as a member of the SW Regional Conference on English for two-year colleges and the Higher Education Alumni Council. Givens delivered the keynote address at Eastern’s Commencement Ceremony in 2015.

Displaying a strong sense of service to the community, Givens is the president of the local Partners for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), a member of the American Cancer Society, and a member of the Latimer County Historical and Genealogy Society. She also volunteers her time to pastor the First Presbyterian Church of Wilburton.

Givens will be recognized at the 25th Annual Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner with nine other individuals plus, collectively, generations of the Benedictine Monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey for leadership and service to higher education. The 2018 inductees include Charles Abramson, Ph.D., Isabel Baker, Ed.D., Robert Con Davis-Undiano, Ph.D., Penny Hopkins, Ph.D., Bill Ivy, Ph.D., Paul Lehman, Ph.D., Rama Ramakumar, Ph.D., James Utterback, Ph.D., Betty J.C. Wright, and the Benedictine Monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey.
The Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame was established in 1994 to recognize and honor individuals, living and deceased, whose achievement and leadership in scholarship, teaching, research, administration, staff support, outreach and public service have brought honor and distinction to higher education in our state. This year represents the 25th year to honor these individuals’ distinguished contributions.

To be eligible for induction, an individual must have been employed by one or more institutions of higher education in Oklahoma, public or private, on a full-time basis for a minimum of 10 years. Individuals not so employed, but who have performed outstanding service above and beyond financial contributions to higher education organizations or institutions in the state, are also eligible for consideration.

For more information on all the 2018 inductees, visit www.ohehs.org.

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