Eastern Oklahoma State College Alumni and Friends
Alumni & Friends

Sapphire Ball 

Despite a winter storm that blanketed the area in snow, Eastern Oklahoma State College’s sixth annual Sapphire Ball was the most successful yet. More than 230 tickets were sold for the event that raised $14,100 for student scholarships while honoring alumni, outstanding employees and community supporters. Thank you for making the 2015 Sapphire Ball a success!

2015 Sapphire Ball Honorees

Dr. Marsha Gore, Distinguished Alumnus Award

A longtime educator and community volunteer, Dr. Marsha Gore has served as the superintendent of McAlester Public Schools since 2011. Throughout her career in education, she has either taught, led as an administrator or developed curriculum for high schools, community colleges and universities in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Following her graduation from Eastern in 1974, Gore earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Oklahoma State University. She went on to earn a master’s degree and doctoral degree in administration and supervision from Tennessee State University. Prior to beginning her career in education, Gore served as director of the Young Adult Conservation Corps for the Choctaw Nation and the U.S. Department of Interior. She also served as an intern and legislative aide to then Speaker of the House Carl Albert in Washington, DC.

An active community volunteer, Gore serves on the boards of the Eastern Oklahoma State College Foundation, the McAlester Boys and Girls Club, and the Southeastern OK Interlocal Cooperative Board. Last year, Gore was one of two Oklahoma superintendents chosen as a “Future Ready Superintendent” and attended President Barack Obama’s Future Ready Summit at the White House. While there, she was one of six U.S. superintendents chosen to review the national technology plan.

Dr. Bill Brewer, Distinguished Alumnus Award

Dr. Bill Brewer, who lives in Yukon, has enjoyed a diverse and exciting career since graduating from Eastern in 1958. After completing a bachelor’s degree in education then Central Oklahoma State College in Edmond (now the University of Central Oklahoma), Brewer began his career as a speech teacher for Midwest City Public Schools from 1960-1964.

Brewer’s career path would take a turn when he decided to enter the field of dentistry. He earned his doctor of dentistry degree in 1968 and became the staff dentist at organizations in Enid and Norman. During this time in his dentistry career, he also served 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, rising to the rank of Colonel and commanding the Dental Group Level Headquarters Unit. Brewer retired in 2009 after 40 years of private practice.

After his retirement from dentistry, Brewer began a career as a voice and stage actor. He has appeared in several short films, television commercials and theater productions, as well as performed voiceovers for numerous television and radio commercials. He has also led more than 25 medical construction teams to all the countries in Central America, as well as Vieques Islands, Puerto Rico and Alaska. Brewer and his wife, Harriet, have been married 56 years. She is also a 1958 graduate of Eastern.

A-OK Railroad, Community Spirit Award

The Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad (A-OK Railroad) was founded in 1996 by David and Patricia Donoley. The company began operating in Wilburton with 70 miles of railroad and six employees.

Today, A-OK Railroad has grown to 51 employees and operates an expanding 127-mile rail corridor between Howe and McAlester, and Shawnee and Midwest City.

The success of A-OK Railroad stems from three core beliefs established from the beginning by the Donoleys. First, David and Patricia believe that delivery and function are key to timely operation for loading and unloading. Next, they believe A-OK Railroad should have the necessary power to handle the job. Finally, they feel A-OK Railroad and its employees should always provide personal customer service.

These practices carryover outside of the operation for the Donoleys and their employees. They are all very involved with many community organizations, including Eastern, Wilburton Public Schools, the Wilburton Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts, Sycamore Springs Golf Course and Country Club, the Fire Department and local churches.

The Donoleys, as well as two of their three children, all attended Eastern.

Marilynn Duncan, President's Excellence in Teaching Award

Marilynn Duncan has dedicated her career to educating students in southeast Oklahoma. She has taught at Eastern for nearly 40 years and currently serves as the Dean of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Division.

A native of Muskogee, Duncan earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and sociology and a master’s of education degree from Northeastern State University. During her tenure at Eastern, she has been named “Teacher of the Year” on six occasions. She has also served on numerous academic and faculty committees, and sponsored the student psychology/sociology club and NAACP student organization for more than 25 years. Her Eastern colleagues say she counsels and tutors her students both inside and outside the classroom, sometimes working late hours on campus in order to accommodate those in need. Duncan encourages and motivates her students to “want more for themselves” in life.

Duncan is also a former board member for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), an organization that supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children. She was inducted into the Muskogee Service Leagues Hall of Fame and is an active member of the national service sororities, Delta Sigma Theta and Phi Delta Kappa.

Karen Darby, J.C. Hunt Award

Karen Darby is a lifelong resident of southeastern Oklahoma and feels she can relate to the challenges faced by students in small town America. After graduating from McAlester High School, Darby served as the Pittsburg County Deputy Court Clerk for several years. She later worked for a licensed day care center and then as a desk clerk for Holiday Inn in McAlester. It was during this time that she decided to attend college and earn a degree in a career development program.

Darby graduated from Eastern in 1997 and immediately joined the college as an administrative assistant to the nursing director. In 2001, she was promoted to the position of college recruiter where she works with high school students in search of high education possibilities. She is also an advocate for nontraditional adult students who aspire to get a degree later in life, as she did. Darby has been employed at Eastern for 18 years and is grateful to have been given a platform to share her experience with others.

Darby currently serves on the Advisory Board for Adult Education and the Advisory Counsel for Eastern Student Success. She has previously served as an advisory board member for the annual College and Career Expo and as a member of Eastern’s Scholarship Committee for 12 years.

Past Sapphire Ball Honorees

Distinguished Alumni Award Nomination Form
2016 Nominations are due Nov. 16, 2015