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Eastern celebrates graduates during 108th Commencement Ceremony

5/8/2017

WILBURTON, OK (May 8, 2017) – Eastern Oklahoma State College hosted its 108th Commencement Ceremony on May 5 in Wilburton. An estimated 287 students will earn degrees from Eastern this year.

Commencement speaker Teresa Jackson, an Eastern alumna and longtime employee of the Choctaw Nation, spoke to the Class of 2017 about how to define success as they move forward in life.

“Tomorrow and in the next couple of years, you’ll be getting closer to reaching your goals for success. And although there’s no way to measure success, you can determine what level of success you want to achieve,” Jackson said. “Success shouldn’t be measured by the amount of money that you have in your bank account and it shouldn’t be measured by a title. Success should be measured by the standards which you set for yourself.”

Jackson, of Hartshorne, is a member of the Choctaw Tribe and has worked for the Choctaw Nation for nearly 17 years. A 1985 Eastern graduate, Jackson earned an associate degree in business administration before continuing her education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. After starting her career as an auditor with the IRS, Jackson joined the Choctaw Nation as a comptroller for the health system in 1999. She quickly progressed in her career as the chief financial officer, hospital administrator and now senior executive officer.

Jackson closed her speech by offering graduates four ways to strive for success.

“Believe in yourself, dare to dream, discover what inspires you, and unleash your passion,” Jackson said. “Graduates, good luck in your future endeavors, hold true to your dreams and never forget where you started, right here at Eastern Oklahoma State College. Go Mountaineers!”

Eastern’s 287 graduates included 145 students who earned an associate of arts degree, 81 who earned an associate of science degree, 50 who earned an associate of applied science degree and 11 who earned one-year certificates of mastery.

Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities have produced thousands of college graduates ready to enter the workforce this spring.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education estimates that more than 35,800 students will earn degrees during the 2016-17 academic year at Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities. Of those graduates, an estimated 10,200 will earn associate degrees with nursing, business and general studies and business listed as the most popular fields.

Business and nursing were the programs most frequently selected by the projected 17,800 students earning bachelor’s degrees. An estimated 4,890 students will receive master’s degrees in a variety of fields, most notably in education, counseling and business. Projections show that approximately 630 students will earn doctoral degrees, while 920 others will receive professional degrees in areas such as law and medicine.

“We are very pleased with the number of students earning degrees and graduating from our state’s public colleges and universities,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Despite recent historic budget cuts, our state system of higher education remains committed to increasing college degree and certificate attainment and producing the graduates required to meet our state’s workforce needs. The State Regents congratulate these graduates and wish them the very best in their future career endeavors.”

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