Office of Communications & Marketing | Northeastern State University
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Each year, the Alumni Association Board of Directors selects the honorees for Distinguished Alumnus and Outstanding Young Alumnus who will be honored at both Homecoming and the Emerald Ball. These awards are presented annually to NSU alumni who, through personal achievement and service, have brought honor and distinction to themselves and the University. NSU also honors recipients of the Presidents’ Award for Community Service, recognizing an alumnus or friend of the University who has rendered outstanding service, support, or courtesy to the community. The NSU Alumni Association is proud to announce the following 2013 honorees:
Jimmy Houston, Distinguished Alumnus
Jimmy Houston, “America’s Favorite Fisherman,” is a 1966 graduate of Northeastern. Houston was a double major in Political Science and Economics and his senior year he won the Oklahoma State Bass Fishing Championship.
“I think Northeastern is a great school. We [he and wife Chris] had a wonderful time during our four years there. Chris and I were actively involved in all the sports programs and we had great teachers,” said Houston. “I think there's absolutely no way that we could have accomplished what we've accomplished in the business world without that education.”
Today, he is the host of the national show Jimmy Houston Outdoors on NBC Sports Outdoors, and author of five books, including a 365-day devotional built around fishing tips, tales and events.
“College is a special four years. It turns a person into a different one than if you just simply lived those four years of your life,” said Houston. “That's one of the critical things that it does—it gets you from 18 to 22. At 18 you think you're the smartest person in the world. Those four years get you to the point where at 22 you realize you're not.”
Dianne Barker-Harrold, Distinguished Alumna
An advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Indian Country, Dianne Barker-Harrold is a 2013 National Crime Victim Service Award honoree and a 1984 NSU alumna with a degree in social work.
“I’ve always been goal oriented,” said Barker-Harrold. “By the time I got to college, I was determined to get through it. When I set a goal, I’ve always managed to get there.”
She currently serves as the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council attorney, special advisor to the Chief for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and is the associate tribal judge for the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. Barker-Harrold helped found Help-in-Crisis in 1980, a shelter for abuse victims in Tahlequah.
“I don't see me retiring tomorrow. I'm just not that way. My mother is 84 and she still just goes and goes and goes and is very active,” said Harrold. “I want to build all the memories I can with my kids and grandkids. And I want to continue the work that I'm doing with victims of crime and contribute work to my tribe as well.”
Michael Bolding, Outstanding Young Alumnus
From Mr. NSU to Physician of the Year at Washington Regional Medical Center his first year of practice; Bolding has always been a standout. He is a 2001 NSU graduate, finished second in his class at medical school, and was named Clinician of the Year as a senior and Intern of the Year during his residency.
“I felt right on par with anybody who went to OU or OSU,” Bolding contended. “I had just as good of a science background. The classes at NSU were difficult, but they really prepared me for medical school.”
Bolding is the Co-Director of the Hospitalist Program at Washington Regional and serves on the faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and has his own rotation for seniors in Internal Medicine.
“You don't have to have a plan to start college. Just to get in and keep your grades up until you find something you like,” said Bolding. “When you do find something you think you like, get out there and get that hands-on experience, even if you have to volunteer.”
Glenn Coffee, President’s Award for Community Service
An NSU Outstanding Senior and 1989 graduate with a degree in political science, Glenn Coffee was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 1998. Coffee has served in a variety of leadership posts, including Minority Floor Leader (2004-2006) and Senate Co-President Pro Tempore (2007-08).
“I can think of a number of occasions where things didn't come easy or took a lot of work and I'd experience frustration,” said Coffee. “My dad would take me in the pantry and he'd point to a metal coffee can and say, ‘see, we only have coffee cans in this house, we don't have coffee can'ts, now get out there and go do it.’ “
This January, after 12 years as an Oklahoma State Senator and two years as Oklahoma Secretary of State, he founded Glenn Coffee and Associates, an Oklahoma City law firm focusing on government ethics, campaign finance and government boards and commission work.
“I think it's important for an individual to know who they are, what they believe and what lines they're not willing to cross,” said Coffee. “It's about convincing others who disagree with you to come to your point of view while you find common ground. I think leadership is also about letting people have the opportunity to succeed or fail on their own.
Published: 9/6/2013 12:00:57 PM