WILBURTON, OK (April 15, 2019) – Eastern Oklahoma State College celebrated its 10th annual Sapphire Ball on April 6, honoring supporters of the college and raising more than $31,000 for student scholarships.
Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith said that generous donors, attendees and local businesses helped raise $31,742.59 that will directly benefit Eastern students for years to come.
“The Sapphire Ball is truly a community event that brings together many friends of Eastern for a wonderful evening. The community’s support of this event demonstrates a faithful commitment to Eastern’s students and sends a strong message that we support them and their goal of earning a college degree,” Smith said. “Each year at the Sapphire Ball, we are grateful for the opportunity to honor distinguished and valued members of our community. All of our honorees this year are outstanding examples of success, character, service and community outreach.”
The black-tie event, which includes dinner, student entertainment, and silent and live auctions, also features an awards presentation honoring alumni, outstanding employees and community supporters. Eastern honored four individuals and one organization that have made a significant impact on the college or in their community.
David Perryman of Chickasha, OK and Brooklin Matthews Green of Wilmington, NC received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the college.
David Perryman was raised in southeast Oklahoma and graduated from Kinta High School. Arriving at Eastern, he had dreams of becoming an optometrist and earned an associate degree in pre-medicine from in 1977. But, during his studies, Perryman discovered an affinity for political science and history and decided to change his career path. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Perryman has been a partner in the Frailey, Chaffin, Cordell, Perryman, Sterkel and McCalla law firm in Chickasha since 1987. During his law practice, he has represented corporations, small businesses, medical facilities, rural water districts, cities, towns, public trust authorities and non-profit entities. In 2013, Perryman began serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for District 56 which represents Caddo, Grady and Kiowa counties. He is currently the Minority Floor Leader and serves on the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Banking, Financial Services and Pensions Committee, County and Municipal Government Committee, and Judiciary Committee.
Following her graduation from Checotah High School, Brooklin Matthews Green graduated from Eastern in 1996 with a degree in speech and drama. She continued her education at Gonzaga University, earning a bachelor’s degree in theatre and a master’s degree in communications and leadership. As she developed a love for improvisation comedy, Green moved to Chicago and graduated from the world-famous Second City Conservatory. As a professional comedian, Green has appeared on the A&E Television Network’s “The Laugh Track” documentary and Nick at Nite’s “The Funniest Mom in America 3.” She has been a guest artist with the Education Theatre Association in Texas and Missouri, the North Carolina Thespian Festival and the International Thespian Festival for the past seven years. In addition to her comedy career, Green also writes radio and television advertising spots for Sunrise Broadcast, serves as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter across the U.S., and teaches at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the University of Mount Olive. She regularly performs as a stand-up comedian and improviser around the United States, participating in festivals and events such as the Improv Olympics, Chicago’s Improv Festival and the Funny Women Festival. She also produces an all-female, stand-up comedy show called “Ovary Action.”
The President’s Community Spirit Award was presented to The Community State Bank. Originally chartered as Poteau State Bank, The Community State Bank was organized in 1970. Locally owned and operated, the main office is in Poteau, with branch locations in Spiro, Wister, Talihina and Wilburton. In the fall of 2017, The Community State Bank opened a branch location in Wilburton and has been an active community partner with Eastern and other organizations during the past two years. The Community State Bank and the Bob Reed Family Trust of Poteau have partnered with Eastern’s Agriculture Division to purchase three sets of stocker cattle for use in the college’s ranch management degree program. Students take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the stocker herd, including feeding and maintaining the health of the cattle, before selling them to a commercial feedlot. After the initial investments were recovered, the nearly $70,000 in proceeds were donated to the EOSC Foundation to support the Agriculture Division. In addition, The Community State Bank became the lead sponsor in the 2019 Eastern Oklahoma Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The annual event is for math and sciences students in grades six through 12 and encourages students to learn the scientific method, conduct original scientific research and report their experimental results. The Community State Bank has also supported Eastern’s scholarship initiatives and student activities.
Dr. Patrcia Bolin Ratliff of Poteau received the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Like her mother before her, Ratliff began her career as a nurse. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Oklahoma Baptist University and worked as a registered nurse in critical care and triage in hospitals in Oklahoma City and Minneapolis for 17 years. Then she made the decision to return to her passion and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Central Oklahoma. She continued her education and earned a master’s and doctoral degree in entomology from the University of Minnesota. Ratliff served as a pest management coordinator and specialist for Michigan State University and Oklahoma State University before beginning her teaching career. She joined Eastern in 2008, teaching biology, physiology and zoology. In January, Ratliff was named the dean of the Science and Mathematics Division. During her time at Eastern, Ratliff has served on numerous steering and planning committees for accreditation, financial aid, curriculum and academic policy. She was named Outstanding Honors Faculty in 2013 and regularly serves as a judge for science and mathematics competitions. She has been active in several community organizations, including the Western Arkansas Eastern Oklahoma Beekeepers Association, the Cavanal Chorale and Latimer County Arts Council.
The J.C. Hunt Award for staff excellence was presented to George Larson of McAlester. An Eastern alumnus, Larson earned an associate degree in computer information systems and then served as a software engineer and programmer for Advantage Route Systems in Turlock, California for seven years. Upon returning to Oklahoma, he earned a second associate degree in math at Eastern and a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in management information systems from East Central University. Larson began his career at Eastern in 2006, initially serving as a website designer and computer technician for Eastern’s GEAR UP grant program. In 2015, Larson transitioned to a programmer and analyst position with Eastern’s Computer Services department, designing and developing custom websites and software applications for the institution. During his time at Eastern, Larson also taught HTML to high school students participating in the Choctaw Nation’s Upward Bound math and science summer program, as well as computer programming courses as adjunct instructor.
A total of 35 corporate, organization and individual donors contributed to the success of the event as event sponsors and fund donors, while another 68 businesses and individuals donated items for the silent and live auctions.