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Distinguished Alumni


The true measure of a university’s greatness can be found in the achievements of its alumni and alumnae. Southwestern Oklahoma State University is nationally known to develop leaders in many fields of endeavor. A vast number of the University’s alumni have gained unique distinction through success in their professions, service to the University, and contribution to their communities. The University along with the Alumni Association established the Distinguished Alumni Award program to honor outstanding former students and to celebrate their achievements.

Purpose & Philosophy

The purpose of the Distinguished Alumni program is to recognize the University’s alumni who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and careers have honored the legacy of excellence at the University.

The Distinguished Alumni Award does more than honor its recipients. It also further illustrates the great value of the academic programs and student involvement at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and increases the pride all former students, students, staff and faculty have for the University. The award program recognizes those men and women who demonstrate the power of the SWOSU experience to the people of Oklahoma, the nation, and the world.

Criteria for Selection

Former students are nominated to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. Recipients may be accomplished in the following three distinct areas:

  • Career Distinction: The recipient is recognized as outstanding or exceptional within his or her career, field or industry, with endeavors that form a record of accomplishment impressive to the citizens of Oklahoma and the nation. This distinction is reflective of Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s core values – Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect and Selfless Service.
  • Service to Society: The recipient exhibits integrity and a demonstrated commitment to service through an interest in bettering the lives of others through volunteer efforts.
  • Service and Support to Southwestern Oklahoma State University: The recipient’s deeds and actions reflect the importance of his or her educational training, pride in alma mater and loyalty to Southwestern Oklahoma State University, as demonstrated through their interest in and support of the University and its programs.

Eligible Nominees

Eligible nominees must be a graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Former students employed by the University, Alumni Association, or the Southwestern Oklahoma State Foundation are not eligible during their term of employment. Former students may be nominated posthumously.

These awards are given for outstanding achievement and no compromises diminishing the significance of the awards will be made.

Method of Nomination

Nominations may be made for a Distinguished Alumni Award by any of the following individuals or groups:

  • Any member of The Alumni Association or its affiliate organizations, i.e. the Athletic Booster Club or Class
  • Any member of the University administration, faculty or staff
  • Any member of an affiliate or support organization of the University
  • Any Southwestern Oklahoma State University former student
  • Any friend of Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Nominations will be accepted using the following guidelines:

  1. The Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee will provide an Award Nomination Form upon request as well as make it available at
  2. In addition to the Award Nomination Form, nominators are encouraged to provide supporting items that further distinguish the nominee. Such items include, but are not limited to:
    • Current biography or curriculum vitae for the individual
    • Up to three letters of support from non-family members that specifically address the criteria
    • Newspaper and magazine articles
    • Personal stories
    • Award or certificates of achievement
    • Other items of interest
  3. One nomination per individual will be considered.
  4. Nomination forms will be held for each individual for a period of three years. If an individual is not selected for the award, his or her Award Nomination Form may be updated and renewed by the original or other appropriate nominator for consideration in any subsequent years of the three year period.
  5. No limitation will be placed on the total number of nominations accepted for consideration.
  6. The name of the nominator will not be disclosed.

Announcement & Recognition

The Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee will announce annual recipients through various methods and honor each recipient with the appropriate recognition. The SWOSU website will list all past winners and a short biography of each.

General Timeline

Second week of September — Press release announcing call for nominations
First week of November
— Deadline for nominations to be received
First week of December
— Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee meets to vote

Method of Award Recipient Selection

Year Awarded Recipient Class Year(s)
2019 Cark Hook 1967
2019 Ginamarie Ligon 2000
2019 Kelli Litsch 1985 & 1986
2019 Jim Litsch 1956 & 1972
2019 Tom Weichel 1964
2019 James Utterback 1978 & 1979
2018 Wendy Borlabi 1994
2018 C.B. Graft 1963
2018 Chris McKeever 1991
2018 Paul Moore 1978
2018 Jane Sims 1971
2017 Jack Bonny 1962 and 1966
2017 Lori Baker-Boyd 1997
2017 Lori (Wallace) Harper 1993
2017 Joey Martin 1988 and 1991
2017 Patrick Riley Griffin 1962 and 1968
2016 Terry Schmidt 1984
2016 Thomas Leck 1974
2015 Albert Gray 1974
2015 Jay Cannon 1966
2014 William Howell 1975
2014 Herbert M. Fix 1956
2013 Brad Berrong 1975
2013 Dwayne Allen Schmidt 1979
2012 Mike Aneshansley 1969
2012 Russell Rother 1986
2011 John Hays 1969
2011 LaWayne Jones 1955
2010 Bob Blackburn 1973
2010 Lowell M. Irby 1955
2009 Suzie Brewster 1965
2009 David L. Tautfest 1955
2008 Brice W. Harris 1970
2008 Walter E. Lamar 1977
2007 Gary L. Lumpkin 1968
2006 John W. Aaron 1964
2006 Benny J. Hill 1957
2005 Doug Keazler 1979
2004 Ron Graves 1966
2003 Joe Anna Hibler 1962
2003 Al Harris 1931
2002 Garry McKee 1969
2002 Alvin Alcorn 1942
2001 Bob Mills 1969
2001 Paul Conner 1963
2000 David Sparks 1966
2000 Kay Sparks 1966
2000 Everett Dobson 1981
1999 Don Weeks 1978
1999 Jim Mogg 1971
1999 Carolyn Sights Buckenmaier 1962
1998 Gary Russi 1969
1998 James Rhymer M.D. 1951
1997 Richard Morris 1963
1997 Henrietta Mann 1954
1997 Keith Dodson 1961
1996 Lorena G. Males 1935
1996 James Males 1962
1995 Jesus Ben Lucero 1961
1995 James Ferguson 1969
1994 David Seigler 1961
1994 General Jerry W. Grizzle 1976
1993 William Robert Romig 1948
1993 Charles E. Capshew 1968
1993 James Bates 1962
1992 Nelson M. Sims 1971
1992 Arch B. Alexander 1946
1991 Norma (Holly) Foreman Glasgow 1947
1991 William (Bill) Bernhardt 1948
1990 Ron Scott 1957
1990 Bill Brewster 1965
1989 Bryan Potter 1957
1989 Darrell Bose 1970
1988 J. Stan Powers 1957
1988 Frank Polk 1941
1987 Anita Burgtorf Pauwels 1973
1987 Ron Anderson 1969
1986 Bob Magness 1949
1986 Betsy Magness 1946
1986 Yvonne Kauger 1959
1985 Rollin D. Reimer 1961
1985 Grace Burcham 1937
1984 Louis Morris 1935
1984 Richard (Dick) Moore 1941
1984 Gladys (Jarvis) Janzen 1930
1984 Rudie Janzen 1930
1983 Margaret Renz Replogle 1933
1983 M.A. Diel 1936
1983 Frances Averitt Curb 1932
1982 W.T. Malone 1950
1982 Ed Berrong Sr. 1938
1981 Millie Thomas 1930
1981 Joe Schwemin 1948
1981 Harry Mabry 1916
1980 Richard Shelby 1970
1980 Dawson "Tack" Nail 1950
1979 Jerry Hodge 1965
1979 A.J. Alexander 1947
1978 James Dawson 1955
1978 Carl Bogdahn 1950
1977 Major General John Murphy 1964
1977 E.H. "Hack" McDonald 1933
1976 James Witherspoon 1936
1976 Glen English Jr. 1964