WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 17, 2021) – The Eastern Oklahoma State College Alumni Association will induct five deserving graduates into its Hall of Fame during a Homecoming celebration on Friday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.
The 2021 inductees include Dr. Raymond Campbell, Dr. George W. Monks, Dr. Bill Hill, Anita Risner, M.A., and Charlotte Shoate Gordon, M.Ed. Established in 1988, the Alumni Association Hall of Fame recognizes former students who have distinguished themselves in their profession and community.
Dr. Raymond Campbell of Stillwater is a retired horticulturist with extensive professional service in extension, research and teaching. A 1961 graduate of then Eastern Oklahoma A&M College, Campbell earned an associate degree in agriculture. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry and a master’s degree in horticulture from Oklahoma State University, as well as a Ph.D. in horticulture from Kansas State University. His professional career includes service as a county extension agent in Coal and Delaware counties; Sedgwick County Extension Horticulturist in Wichita, Kansas; and State Specialist in Horticulture at Virginia Tech University. He joined the faculty at Oklahoma State University in 1974 in the Department of Horticulture with an extension/research position in vegetable crops and small fruits. While there, he served in varying capacities of extension, research and teaching, including producer and host of the popular weekly televisions program “Oklahoma Gardening” for eight years. He is the author of numerous horticulture extension fact sheets and research and abstract publications. In 1986, he was appointed assistant director of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development for the Oklahoma Cooperative Service and became Associate Director of OCES in 1994 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1998. He has received several outstanding teaching awards and has served in leadership positions for several boards and committees. Since his retirement, Campbell continues as a private horticulture consultant and contributing author. He is active as an Oklahoma Gardening Ambassador and volunteers for mobile meals delivery and with his church in varying capacities.
Campbell was unable to attend the event in person and accepted the Hall of Fame award via video.
“I can honestly say that Eastern Oklahoma A&M College, now Eastern Oklahoma State College, really helped lay the foundation for me as a student when I transferred to Oklahoma State University and later on in my career,” Campbell said. “Coming from a small school in Idabel, it would have been hard for me to transition to a large university. Eastern State College was a real jumping start for me and my career and I owe a lot to the faculty and staff. I’m still a Mountaineer, and once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.”
Anita Carter Risner of Mustang is a lifelong educator and retired administrator in Oklahoma’s career technology program. Risner is a 1967 graduate of Eastern, earning an associate degree in vocational home economics. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in vocational home economics education from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Northeastern State University. In addition, she holds certifications for secondary school counselor, secondary principal, superintendent, and licensed professional counselor. Risner began her career as a teacher at Pryor Public Schools in 1971 where she developed and implemented the first hospitality careers program in the state of Oklahoma. She also served on a state task force that revised the Future Homemakers of America organization to include non-traditional students. In 1973, Risner helped open the new hospitality careers program at the Northeast Area Vo-Tech School in Pryor. She transitioned to Tulsa Technology Center in 1976 to implement a new pre-school child development program and was named Teacher of the Year in 1977. Risner served in various capacities for the Oklahoma Department of Vo-Tech in Stillwater and the Indian Capital Technology Center in Muskogee before transferring to the Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville to finish her career. During her 13 years at Tri County Technology Center, Risner served as Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Deputy Superintendent, and Superintendent. Throughout her tenure, the Center was recognized with numerous awards, high student retention and completion rates, and high employee satisfaction. Throughout her career, Risner has earned numerous outstanding educator awards and served in leadership roles for many professional organizations and boards.
During her acceptance speech, Risner talked about her experiences at Eastern, where she practiced leadership skills, learned about other cultures, and made lifelong friends.
“I’m not sure what my life would have been like if it hadn’t been for Eastern. Thank goodness Eastern was here, because it was affordable, small, and I was able to transition here easier than it would have been at a bigger school. Most importantly, it was the people I came in contact with, not only the faculty and staff, but the friends I made here. I’m very proud of the opportunity you’ve given me and this recognition,” Risner said.
Dr. Bill Hill of Durant is one of only two Eastern graduates who have served as president of their alma mater. A 1961 graduate of then Eastern Oklahoma A&M College, Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in computer science from Oklahoma State University, as well as a doctorate in higher education administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce. To begin his career in education, Dr. Hill taught vocational agriculture and high school science before joining the computer science faculty of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. When Wes Watkins left the Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma (KEDDO) to run for U.S. Congress, Hill succeeded him as Chief Executive Officer and served in that role for 17 years. In 1986, Hill was selected as the 14th President of Eastern and served in that position for 14 years. During his tenure, Eastern saw many successful endeavors including the establishment and delivery of a successful partnership between Eastern and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections with the DOC training academy. Hill also developed and cultivated a relationship with McAlester bankers and philanthropists Clark and Wanda Bass which resulted in the creation of Eastern’s McAlester campus. Hill was the youngest member ever inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and his tenure and achievements were honored at Eastern with the naming of the Bill Hill Library and Administration Building.
While accepting his Hall of Fame award, Hill spoke mostly about his time as Eastern’s president and the employees that worked with him.
“The whole idea of what Eastern’s about, and something we always accentuated over time, is the business of trying to create the best learning experience through our faculty. When I look back over time, I think about how great the faculty were, how student-oriented they were, and how they tried to teach for success, that’s what Eastern is all about,” Hill said. In speaking about the faculty and staff he worked with during his time at Eastern, Hill stated “They are the key to what created the dynamics of 14 years of growth and prosperity, I think, beyond what Eastern has ever experienced.”
Dr. George W. Monks of Jenks is a dermatologist at the Tulsa Dermatology Clinic and also serves as a clinic assistant professor of Dermatology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Tulsa. He is also the immediate past president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association. Monks is a 1990 Eastern graduate, earning an associate of science degree in pre-medicine. While at Eastern, Monks was a member of the U.S. Army National Guard 445th Military Police Company based in McAlester. Shortly after graduating from Eastern, his unit was sent to the Persian Gulf where he was involved in missions for Operation Desert Shield and Storm. He later received numerous medals and honors for his service. Monks continued his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Oklahoma before graduating from OU’s School of Medicine and completing his dermatology residency. In addition to his full-time work serving patients, Monks also serves on the executive committee of the Oklahoma State Medical Association. Since 2009, he has also served as the chairman of the Young Physician’s Committee of the Tulsa County Medical Society. He is also a past president of the Oklahoma State Dermatological Society and a member of the Tulsa County Medical Society and the American Medical Association. In 2006, Monks was selected to participate in the prestigious American Academy of Dermatology Leadership Forum. He has also been recognized with a presidential citation from the American Academy of Dermatology for dedication to the organization and exemplary work on behalf of Camp Discovery, a camp for children with severe skin disease.
Monks accepted his Hall of Fame award by sharing memories from his time at Eastern and thanking those who made an impact on his future career.
“I want to say, sincerely, to EOSC and all the teachers, advisors, staff, and President Hill who was president when I was here, I want to say thank you. It was a family-like environment with a really good student-to-teacher ratio. I was a kid who graduated from Wilburton and I knew I wanted to go to OU, so this was a great in-between and it was a great place to build that foundation of knowledge for me to become a physician. I feel blessed to be a physician,” Monks said.
Charlotte Shoate Gordon of Norman is a groundbreaking educator, setting historic milestones as the first African American teacher in the Norman Public Schools system and the first African American principal in the Moore Public Schools system. Gordon is a 1971 Eastern graduate, earning an associate degree in elementary education. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Oklahoma. She holds certifications for elementary and middle school administration.
Gordon began her career in education in 1974 as the first African-American teacher in the Normal Public Schools system. She spent 16 years teaching before transitioning into various counseling, administrative, consulting, library, supervisory and mentoring roles. As a principal for Fisher Elementary School, Gordon led the school to a Blue Ribbon School recipient and was recognized by the Oklahoma State Department of Education for achieving superior standards of academic excellence. She currently serves as an elementary intern supervisor through OU’s College of Education, as well as a mentor for aspiring principals through the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Gordon has received numerous recognitions for her education career and serves in several leadership roles for community boards and commissions.
“It is with great humbleness and awesome gratitude that I accept this honor. Whatever achievements that have come my way, I have not done this alone,” Gordon said, describing her family, colleagues and friends who have helped her in her life. “On the shoulders on which I stand, I am so grateful, so honored, and so blessed to have had them. They have enabled me to see the possibilities. So from those shoulders, my goal is to continue to grow and learn, to lend a hand, and to carry those others that will follow me. Once we learn, we need to share and spread the light.”
The Eastern Alumni Association plans to make the Hall of Fame Celebration an annual event during Homecoming Week festivities. For additional information about Eastern’s Alumni Association or the Hall of Fame, contact Teresa Brady, executive director of the EOSC Foundation and Alumni Relations, at 918-465-1761.