Economic Summit includes good news for state of Oklahoma

Dave Lopez, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, offers remarks Thursday at the E3 Summit.

DURANT, Okla. – Good news was the order of the day Thursday as state and regional officials joined area education, business, and industry leaders at the E3 Summit,.

The economic summit, part of the Making Place Matter initiative from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, was sponsored by Southeastern Oklahoma State University and held on campus in the General Classroom Building. The theme of the day was E3 – Engage Our Publics. Envision the Future. Empower the Region

“This is a time that we can celebrate in Oklahoma,” said Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Dave Lopez. “This (event) helps create an environment for growth in the economy. Where we’re at right now, Oklahoma is shining (as far as business and the unemployment rate). Last year, Oklahoma added 42,000 jobs – the pipeline is positive for Oklahoma.”

Lopez cited the state’s vibrant oil and gas industry, as well as the growing aerospace industry, as keys to the healthy economic condition.

The Secretary praised this region of the state for being “ahead of the game” in such categories as regionalism, a growing diversity of the workforce, understanding the role of infrastructure, and volunteerism and community engagement through such programs as Main Street.

Lopez also challenged the region to improve in the areas of the workforce, educational attainment (both 2-and-4-year degrees), and branding.

Governor Mary Fallin appointed Lopez in February of last year to help lead the state’s economic development efforts and to serve on the governor’s cabinet. Lopez is a retired officer of SBC Communications (now AT&T) and he was most recently president of the American Fidelity Foundation, based in Oklahoma City.

Other speakers included Chad R. Wilkerson, vice president, economist, and Oklahoma City Branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and Deidre Myers, director of policy, research and economic analysis for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Wilkerson provided an overview of the Federal Reserve, and then utilizing numerous charts and graphs, presented the Oklahoma Regional Economic Outlook.

Echoing Lopez’s remarks, Wilkerson noted that although there is a huge variation in economic growth across the country, Oklahoma is in better shape than the majority of states. He also observed that like many other states, Oklahoma continues to prosper due, in large part, to its healthy energy business.

Wilkerson was appointed Branch executive of the Oklahoma City Branch in 2006, and was promoted to vice president in 2008. In this role, he serves as the Bank’s lead officer and regional economist in Oklahoma, and is responsible for recruiting the Oklahoma City Branch’s board of directors and for briefing the Kansas City Fed’s president on economic and business conditions in the state.

Myers said the three greatest challenges facing Higher Education in Oklahoma are skills, ability, and knowledge of our workforce. Meeting these challenges, she noted, would increase the number of Oklahomans earning college degrees. Currently, 23 percent of the Oklahoma population 25 years of age and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Nationwide, the average is 28 percent.

Myers and her staff provide economic, demographic and labor data and analysis to state leadership, develops and advises on economic policy formulation, performs business intelligence, and conducts research for the Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development. In addition, the division houses the Oklahoma State Data Center, which is the state’s lead agency to the US Census Bureau.

The day-long summit attracted professionals from throughout the Texoma region. Panel discussions were held on a number of relevant topics.

Southeastern president Larry Minks welcomed the participants and introduced the keynote speakers. He also recognized Kathy Hendrick, director of the Southeastern Center for Regional Economic Development, for her efforts in organizing the event.

“It was a most informative day,” Minks said. “We had a broad-based group of participants who contributed a great deal to the issues discussed and economic development in general. We look forward to future discussions as we all work together to grow Oklahoma.”

Secretary of Commerce & Tourism addresses Economic Summit

DURANT, Okla. – Dave Lopez, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, offers remarks Thursday at the E3 Summit, which is part of the Making Place Matter initiative of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The theme of the day was E3 – Engage Our Publics. Envision the Future. Empower the Region. The economic development summit was sponsored by Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Among the other distinguished speakers-panelists were Chad R. Wilkerson, vice president, economist, and Oklahoma City Branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and Deidre Myers, director of policy, research and economic analysis for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Starting time changed for Friday’s Symphonic Winds concert

DURANT, Okla. – A change in the starting time for the Southeastern Symphonic Winds performance in Montgomery Auditorium scheduled for Friday, January 27, has been announced. The concert will now begin at 5:30 p.m.

Gold & Blue Scholarship Gala/Auction set for February 11

The Southeastern Alumni Association invites you to “Get your Bling on” and attend the Gold and Blue Scholarship Gala and Auction. This annual event raises funds for scholarships through ticket sales and auctions. Gold and Blue Gala committee members are, front from left: Heather Burrage and Rob Piearcy. Back from left: Kyle Stafford, Mary Frank, Janie Umsted, Stephanie Davison and Courtney McGill.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s annual Gold and Blue Scholarship Gala and Auction will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, February 11, in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.

The first gala was held in 1998 at the Massey Building in downtown Durant. Since 2000, the event has contributed $143,066 to the Southeastern Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund.

“Everyone is invited to have a wonderful evening as we raise money for scholarships to Southeastern,” said Mark Webb, president of the Southeastern Alumni Association.

Last year’s gala drew a crowd of 145 and provided a bit more than $13,000 to the scholarship fund. This year’s goal is to raise at least $20,000.

It’s a night of food, fun, casino games, dancing to the music of the Bob Baldwin Band, plus live and silent auctions of donated goods and services, all to raise funds to help students realize their dreams of a college education.

“The donated auction items for 2012 are exceptional,” said Mary Frank, chairman of the Gala Committee. “And if you enjoy dancing, food, fun and friends, then this is your evening. The Gala is a party with a purpose.”

This year’s theme is Denim and Diamonds and dress is denim casual. For the third year in a row, the premier sponsor of the gala will be the Choctaw Casino/Resort.

Tickets are $50 each and may be purchased at http://alumni.SE.edu, by calling 580-745-2288, sdavison@SE.edu, or by visiting the Welcome Center on the southeast corner of N. 5th Avenue and University Boulevard in Durant.

Economic Summit scheduled for Jan. 26 at Southeastern

Dave Lopez

DURANT, Okla. – A number of distinguished state and regional leaders will be among the speakers/panelists at the E3 Summit, which is part of the Making Place Matter initiative from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The event, scheduled for Jan. 26, will begin at 8 a.m. with registration in room 103 of the General Classroom Building (1429 N. 7th) at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The theme of the day is E3 – Engage Our Publics. Envision the Future. Empower the Region. The economic development summit is sponsored by Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Among the distinguished speakers are Dave Lopez, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, and Chad R. Wilkerson, vice president, economist, and Oklahoma City Branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. They will offer remarks on the State of the Region.

Long active in corporate and community leadership positions, Lopez continues to direct his energies to civic and business endeavors as the Secretary of Commerce for the State of Oklahoma.

Governor Mary Fallin appointed Lopez in February of last year to help lead the state’s economic development efforts and to serve on the governor’s cabinet. Lopez is a retired officer of SBC Communications (now AT&T) and he was most recently president of the American Fidelity Foundation, based in Oklahoma City.

Chad Wilkerson

Before concluding a 22-year career with AT&T, Lopez held a variety of executive positions with its predecessor company in Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Austin. Lopez served his last six years as an officer of the corporation, including a four-year assignment as its president of Oklahoma and later as president of Texas.

Lopez returned to Oklahoma in 2003 and he has served on the boards of directors for numerous non-profit organizations and corporate boards in the state.

Wilkerson was appointed Branch executive of the Oklahoma City Branch in 2006, and was promoted to vice president in 2008. In this role, he serves as the Bank’s lead officer and regional economist in Oklahoma, and is responsible for recruiting the Oklahoma City Branch’s board of directors and for briefing the Kansas City Fed’s president on economic and business conditions in the state.

In addition to conducting regional economic research and supervising the Bank’s beige book and manufacturing surveys, Wilkerson speaks regularly to business, banking, and civic groups throughout Oklahoma and beyond, and serves in board leadership roles for several Oklahoma nonprofit organizations.

Prior to his appointment as assistant vice president, economist, and Oklahoma City Branch executive in 2006, Wilkerson spent seven and a half years as a policy economist and research associate in the Bank’s economic research department in Kansas City.

For more information about the summit, contact Kathy Hendrick, director of the Southeastern Center for Regional Economic Development, at 580-745-2046.

Below is the agenda for the summit:

8:00 am – 8:30 am Registration 8:30 am – 9:00 am Opening Remarks and Overview of Making Place Matter Process Dr. Larry Minks, President, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

9:00 am – 9:50 am Innovative Economy Community and Economic Development, Workforce Enhancement, Business Retention and Expansion. Texoma Regional Consortium-Leveraging the Power of Partnerships Tony Kaai, President, Denison Development Kerry Manning, Director, Southern Workforce Board Bob Rhoden, Director of External Relations, Workforce Solutions Texoma Kathy Hendrick, Director, Southeastern Center for Regional Economic Development

10:00 am – 11:00 am Social Inclusion Education, Civic Involvement, Career Technology, Rural Environments, Demographic Issues Dr. Larry Minks, President, Southeastern Oklahoma State University Dr. Jeanne Hardin, Vice- President, Grayson County College Dr. Jason Simeroth, Superintendent Durant ISD Dr. Henry Scott, Superintendent Denison ISD

State of the Region Dave Lopez , Secretary of Commerce and Tourism

Chad Wilkerson, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Vice-President and Oklahoma Branch Executive

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm Collaborative Governance Public/Private Partnerships, Regional Collaborations, Refine Boundaries and Regional Alliances, Strengthen Native American Tribal Relationships, Tapping Governmental (local, state, national) Resources Matt Gregory, Director of Economic Development, Choctaw Nation Representative from the Chickasaw Nation Dr. Susan Thomas, Executive Director Texoma Council of Governments Wes Bowman, Executive Director, Southern Oklahoma Development Agency

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Just the Facts! Deidre Myers, Oklahoma Department of Commerce

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Livable Community Quality of Life Matters, Community Revitalization, Accessible Transportation, Business Friendly Environment for Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs & Industry, Cultural and Tourism Opportunities, Planning and Zoning Katy Cummins, Project Manager-Tourism Branding Initiative and Manager of Community and Economic Development, Texoma Council of Governments Jerry Tomlinson, Mayor of Durant, Regional Economic and Tourism Development Dr. Bill Carter, Director, Oklahoma Small Business Development Center Dr. Aaron Adair, Asst. Dean, Reach Higher, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

4:00 pm Closing remarks and Next Steps Dr. Larry Minks and Kathy Hendrick

Higher Education Chancellor presents Legislative Agenda

Chancellor Glen D. Johnson addresses the crowd during Tuesday’s meeting in Krebs.

DURANT — With fall enrollment at Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities remaining at record levels for the fifth consecutive semester, Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson presented the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s FY 2013 legislative agenda to an audience of lawmakers, community leaders, and educators Tuesday at Pete’s Place Restaurant in Krebs.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Larry Minks served as host for the Southeastern Regional Higher Education Legislative Briefing and Luncheon. Other schools participating were Carl Albert State College, Connors State College, East Central University, Eastern Oklahoma State College, Murray State College, and Seminole State College.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted recently to request a 3.7 percent appropriation increase for FY13.

“Oklahoma’s system of higher education continues to cut costs and tighten its belt while enrollment is at record levels and the number of college degrees earned increases each year,” said Chancellor Johnson. “There is no better investment for our state than higher education. After three years of budget cuts, we continue to provide a top-quality educational product to our students at a very affordable cost as we produce an educated workforce to meet the demands of our global marketplace.”

A total $347.3 million of actual and projected cost savings has been identified from 2009-13. These savings come from several areas, including energy conservation and conversion, changes and elimination of positions, and reductions in supplies. Savings in technology costs amount to $40 million annually.

To continue providing an affordable, high-quality education for Oklahomans, the state’s public higher education institutions are requesting $27.8 million in operating funds to address ongoing obligations, such as increases in health insurance premiums and retirement costs. Library expenses, instructional materials, information technology replacements and scholarships are also expected to increase.

Increased financial aid funding will also be a priority for the State Regents in the upcoming legislative session in order to reduce the financial barriers that prevent students from attending college. The State Regents seek to increase funding by $1.6 million for the concurrent enrollment program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take credit-earning college courses.

The State Regents will seek $98,729 for the Office of Accountability. The office administers two state programs: the Oklahoma Educational Indicators Program and the Oklahoma School Performance Review Program.

The State Regents will also propose a series of bond issues over the next five years to eliminate the $271 million backlog in the Endowed Chairs Program. Since inception of the program in 1988, the state has matched 772 total accounts at 21 institutions.

The total appropriation request for FY13 is $980 million, a $34.7 million increase.

Auditions set for Children’s Chorus

DURANT, Okla. – The SHARE Children’s Chorus has scheduled auditions for the choirs on Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Auditions will be held in the Fine Arts Building at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Auditions are set for 6-7:30 p.m. each day and are open to all interested singers in grades 3-8.

The choirs are sponsored by the Southeastern Hub for Arts Resources in Education (SHARE).

For more information on the auditions, contact Artistic Director Dr. Jeri Walker at jwalker@se.edu or phone 580-745-2385.

SHARE is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing all children in the Texoma region with excellent arts experiences to enrich their lives and the life of the community. The choir is not limited to those who have musical experience or are deemed ‘talented.’

This is a place for all students interested in participating and all students are encouraged to sing and learn in the SHARE Children’s Chorus.

The Chorus, formed last fall, has enjoyed a semester of singing and learning about music. Director Nancy Breon is an experienced musical educator and creates interesting, educational and fun rehearsal sessions.

The Chorus meets from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays during the school year and performs at least once a semester.

Walker said, “The intent is to develop a top-quality choir that will represent the Texoma region around the states of Oklahoma and Texas and beyond. In addition to this, the singers will be developing personal attributes such as concentration, responsibility, attention to detail, desire for excellence and social skills.”

University serves others on MLK Day

Southeastern students Stefan Kells, Kacy Eppler, and Aleah Robinson read to students at Washington Irving Elementary School in Durant

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Monday with students, faculty and staff joining members of the community in activities.

It was Southeastern’s 14th year of participation in the event. In the spirit of King’s vision, the Corporation for National and Community Service has sponsored the Day of Service since 1994.

The local Day of Service program was organized by Southeastern’s Office of Student Life and Multicultural Office. Some 80 students from Southeastern participated.

Volunteers registered at 9 a.m. and moved out to service areas throughout the Durant Independent School District and at local food banks. Southeastern participants, in small groups, visited the schools to read to elementary students.

SE Live set for February 8

DURANT, Okla. – High school seniors and juniors, plus their parents and families, are invited to attend SE Live Open House hosted by Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

SE Live is scheduled for Wednesday, February 8, on the Southeastern campus in Durant, Oklahoma.

“SE Live is a great day for high school seniors and juniors to visit Southeastern’s campus and envision themselves as college students for a day. It’s a chance for students to see our campus and the great opportunities Southeastern provides as a University,” said Marcus High, University Recruiter.

SE Live Open House is an excellent opportunity for high school students to experience what life is like as a Southeastern student. Students will attend workshops on Scholarships and Financial Aid, Southeastern Traditions and a College Success class. Campus tours will also be available in the afternoon.

Other highlights of the day will include entertainment by several of Southeastern’s performing groups, including the Sparks Dance Team. The choir and band will also hold early auditions for scholarships. In the afternoon, students will have an opportunity to visit Eaker Field, home of the Southeastern Aviation Program.

All students attending will receive an SE Sackpack and one free lunch ticket. Lunch is sponsored by First United Bank.

SE Live is an annual event on campus. Last year more than 500 students attended.

To view an event schedule, get directions and register, go online to www.SE.edu/SELive or contact the Office of University Recruitment at 580-745-2060

Southeastern to celebrate MLK Day of Service

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 16.

Although classes will not be held, Southeastern invites everyone to make it a Day On, honoring King’s memory by joining the Day of Service.

Southeastern will join the nation in pausing for the 25th celebration of his legacy. In the spirit of King’s vision, the Corporation for National and Community Service has sponsored the Day of Service since 1994.

For the past 13 years, Southeastern has been a part of the MLK Jr. Day of Service.

As King once said, “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

The concept of service was at the heart of his philosophy. He believed that a person’s worth should not be measured by his or her color, culture or class, but rather by his or her commitment to making a better life for all.

He said that a definition of a successful life must include service to others. He sought to forge the common focus of service to others by breaking down the social and economic barriers that divide our nation.

The Day of Service is organized by Southeastern’s Office of Student Life and the Multicultural Office.

More than 1,000 Southeastern students, faculty, staff and community members have participated in this event in the past.

Registration is scheduled for 9-9:30 a.m. Monday in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union auditorium. Breakfast will be from 9:30-10 a.m. and the service aspect of the program is set for 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Service areas will be the Durant Independent School District and local food banks.

Groups and individual volunteers are welcome.