Category: Faculty & Staff

Dr Daryl Green

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY HIRES NEW DEAN FOR SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

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Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Langston University hired Dr. Daryl D. Green as the new dean for the School of Business. He began his new position on Jan. 2.

Prior to joining Dear Langston, Dr. Green worked at Oklahoma Baptist University for several years, holding the esteemed Dickinson Chair of Business professorship in the Paul Dickinson School of Business. Dr. Green’s primary research areas are leadership, management, culture and decision-making, and he has taught courses in topics such as system analysis, decision-making, leadership, marketing, project management, social media, strategy, and ballroom and social dancing. His ability to simplify complex concepts in the classroom helped him earn the ACBSP Teaching Excellence Award.

Notably, Dr. Green retired from the Department of Energy in 2016 after more than 27 years in the Environmental Management Program. He managed over 400 projects valued at approximately $100 million.

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Dr. Green holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern University in Louisiana, a master’s degree in organizational management from Tusculum College in Tennessee, and a Doctor of Strategic Leadership degree from Regent University in Virginia. He has also completed several advanced graduate studies and certificates from Southern New Hampshire University and the University of Vermont.

Dr. Green is an accomplished academic and an award-winning speaker and author. His works include the textbooks “Impending Danger,” “Small Business Marketing,” and “Life After Retirement” in addition to numerous articles, which have been cited more than 400 times in well-known academic journals. His insights have been recognized by USA Today, Ebony Magazine and the Associated Press.

“My primary objective is to drive significant growth in our Business School,” Dr. Green said. “Over the next decade, my vision is to welcome 1,000 new students into our program. Innovation, adaptation and strategic thinking are essential to propel us toward this milestone.

“Many of our faculty are already champions of student-centered teaching. We will foster this ethos across the board, tailoring educational experiences to meet the unique requirements of today’s Generation Z students. We aim to provide engaging and practical learning that equips them for success in an ever-changing world.”

Chris Kuwitzky Headshot

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY HIRES NEW VICE PRESIDENT FOR FISCAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE AFFAIRS

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Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Langston University has hired Mr. Chris Kuwitzky to serve as the Vice President for Fiscal and Administrative Affairs – the university’s chief financial officer. He began his new role on Sept. 11, 2023.

Mr. Kuwitzky possesses a wealth and breadth of financial administration experience in both the corporate and higher education sectors. He began his career with Coopers and Lybrand Public Accountants (now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers) in Oklahoma City where he served a wide array of clients in governmental, oil & gas, not-for-profit, and higher education sectors. He would later join the finance staff at the University of Oklahoma in Norman where he rose to the position of Associate Vice President of Administration & Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

After 31 years of service there, Mr. Kuwitzky transitioned to Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and served as the Vice President of Administration and Treasurer. In this role, his responsibilities included all financial and budgeting operations along with information technology services, the physical plant, human resources, auxiliary enterprises, and oversight of the university police force.

After three years in Topeka, Mr. Kuwitzky returned to Oklahoma to provide financial consulting and contract chief financial officer services to clients, doing business as Live Worthy Financial, LLC.

A native of Oklahoma, Mr. Kuwitzky earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1983 and earned the designation of certified public accountant two years later.

Marching Pride Band Director Mark Gordon

MARCHING PRIDE BAND DIRECTOR RECEIVES HONORARY DOCTORATE IN TEXAS

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Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Langston University Marching Pride Band Director Mark Gordon received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from Leaders Esteem Christian Bible University on Dec. 17.

Mr. Gordon has been the Director of Bands at Langston University since 2018 and he has grown the band to 275 students. Before that, he had more than 20 years of experience directing bands at the high school and collegiate levels.

His career began at M.B. Smiley High School in Houston, Texas, in 1996. There, Mr. Gordon built the band up to nearly 400 students. After 10 years with Smiley High School, Mr. Gordon returned to his alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, to serve as the assistant director of bands for another 10 years. He then served as the director of bands at Charles H. Milby High School in Houston, Texas, before moving to Oklahoma to take up his current post at Langston University.

Throughout his career, Mr. Gordon has remained involved with the surrounding communities at each of his respective schools through band and choir performances, youth outreach, and involvement at church. He believes his work helping students to graduate high school and find ways to pursue college to be among the top reasons he was selected to receive this honor.

“I am honored and I am blessed to be receiving this honorary doctorate of philosophy,” Mr. Gordon said. “I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with so many fine students and musicians over the years, and I am thankful that working with them has made a positive impact.”

Mr. Gordon was nominated by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation of Houston to receive this honor. He received his honorary doctorate at a ceremony in the Sans Souci Ballroom in Tomball, Texas, on Dec. 17.

Aerial shot of the Langston University Langston Campus

FALL 2023 PROMOTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS

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The Office of Public Relations

Langston University Interim President Ruth Ray Jackson, Ph.D., is pleased to announce the following faculty and staff announcements. This reflects promotions and new employees appointed at the director level and above.

Dean Busby
Dean Busby

Dean Busby

Interim Executive Director of the Langston University Foundation

In August 2023, Langston University alumnus and respected colleague Mr. Joshua Busby was named Interim Executive Director of the Langston University Foundation. An accomplished professional, Mr. Busby has made a lasting impact at Langston in several leadership roles. His career at LU began in 2008 as Coordinator of Counseling in the Office of Financial Aid. In 2011, he transitioned over to Institutional Advancement and External Affairs as the Annual Giving Officer. In 2016, he was called to the Division of Student Affairs where he served as the Director of Student Life, and then was appointed to the role of Dean of Students and Chief Student Affairs Officer.

As chief student affairs officer, Mr. Busby reports directly to the president. His management portfolio includes student life, residential life, student conduct, upward bound, counseling services, health services, retention, recreation/intramural sports, and public safety. He also plays an integral role in the planning and execution of Lion Camp, Homecoming, and the President’s Annual Scholarship Gala.

After achieving his LU undergraduate degree, the former Langston honors student, SGA President, and Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Scholar earned a master’s degree in public management and nonprofit management from the world-renowned School of Public and Environment Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University-Bloomington. A life member of the Langston University National Alumni Association, Mr. Busby enjoys serving his community via his fraternity Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., as a member of his church – the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, as well as being engaged in several other nonprofit and civic organizations.

John Coleman, Ph.D.
John Coleman, Ph.D.

John Coleman, Ph.D.

Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences

Dr. John Coleman has been named Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and will continue to serve as Department Chair for Langston University’s Department of Chemistry & Physical Sciences. Throughout his esteemed career, Dr. Coleman has showcased his expertise in departmental planning and coordination, curriculum development, student recruitment, retention, and classroom instruction. His commitment to excellence has been evident in grant procurement and operations, leading to the creation of highly successful programs.

Under Dr. Coleman’s guidance, LU’s Grant Management team has achieved exceptional outcomes with an impressive number of STEM graduates earning advanced degrees in professional and medical fields. Their work has also improved science education in the region with a number of graduates becoming science teachers in Oklahoma’s high-needs school districts.

Dr. Coleman’s accomplishments also extend to the realm of research and publication. He has authored numerous highly-regarded articles on Teaching and Learning strategies which have garnered widespread recognition and dissemination.

Dytisha Davis, Ph.D., CRC
Dytisha Davis, Ph.D., CRC

Dytisha Davis, Ph.D., CRC

Assistant Vice President for Student Success

Dr. Dytisha Davis has been employed at Langston University for 11 years. Her work in higher education and academia extends across the areas of teaching, research and service while serving in different capacities as an educator, researcher, administrator and advisor. Her most recent appointment was serving as Executive Director for the LU-Tulsa Campus, Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, and undergraduate advisor for the Rehabilitation Services program.

In addition to her latest appointment as Assistant Vice President, Student Success, Dr. Davis serves as a Research Associate Professor for the Langston University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities.

Her education includes a Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling from South Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counselor Education from the University of Iowa. A Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Dr. Davis serves as a board member for the Sickle Cell Advisory Committee for the Tulsa area chapter of Red Cross.

Jocha Gordon, M.A.Ed.
Jocha Gordon, M.A.Ed.

Jocha Gordon, M.A.Ed.

Director of Admissions, Recruitment and Outreach

Ms. Jocha Gordon joined the Langston University family in late August 2023. Possessing a decade of higher education experience in admissions and recruitment, she has already begun to make a significant impact as Director of Admissions, Recruitment and Outreach. She most recently served as Assistant Director of Admissions under the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Southern University and A & M College. She is excited to call Langston University her new home and ready to “drive admissions to new heights.”

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA, Ms. Gordon is a life member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., where she has held numerous elected offices on both the local and regional board of directors.

Ms. Gordon earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Southern University and A & M College, and a master’s degree in education with a concentration in adult education and training from the University of Phoenix. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate of education degree in higher education leadership at Northcentral University.

Daryl D. Green, D.S.L.
Daryl D. Green, D.S.L.

Daryl D. Green, D.S.L.

Dean of the School of Business

A seasoned professional known for managing complex projects and guiding others toward success, Dr. Daryl. D. Green is the dean of Langston University’s prestigious School of Business. He will officially start his appointment with Dear Langston in January 2024. Prior to joining the Langston community, Dr. Green worked at Oklahoma Baptist University for several years, holding the esteemed Dickinson Chair of Business professorship in the Paul Dickinson School of Business. He has had a distinguished career as an academic and scholar, receiving the ACBSP Teaching Excellence Award.

Having taught various courses covering decision-making, leadership, marketing, project management, social media, and strategy, he possesses a remarkable ability to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to individuals of all backgrounds. Notably, Dr. Green retired from the Department of Energy having dedicated more than 27 years to the Environmental Management Program. Even before his 30th birthday, he managed over 400 projects valued at approximately $100 million.

Dr. Green is an accomplished academic and an award-winning speaker and author. Having penned several books including textbooks like “Impending Danger,” “Small Business Marketing, and “Life After Retirement, his insights have been recognized by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and the Associated Press. His educational journey includes a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Southern University, a master’s degree in Organizational Management from Tusculum College, and a doctoral degree in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. Advanced graduate studies and certificates from Southern New Hampshire University and the University of Vermont further prove his lifelong learning commitment. Beyond his professional life, Dr. Green celebrates a more than 30-year lasting partnership with his wife, Estraletta Green. Together, they have raised three adult children and are proud grandparents. A man of faith who finds strength in his beliefs, Dr. Green is an active member at St. John Missionary.

Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. His extensive religious leadership experience includes having served as an ordained deacon, bible teacher, and youth advisor.

Alonzo Peterson, Ph.D.
Alonzo Peterson, Ph.D.

Alonzo Peterson, Ph.D.

Director of Choral Activities

Langston University is pleased to welcome Mr. Ashton D. Jones, Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music. A native of Tulsa, Mr. Jones is an American lyric baritone, choral conductor, organist, and pianist. He is currently an Artist at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. His accomplishments include serving as a public-school educator and professional chorister in groups such as the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers, where he is a current and inaugural member. Throughout his career, he has performed on stages throughout the US and in Bulgaria.

Mr. Jones began playing piano by ear at the age of seven, started accompanying church services at 13, and has served as a church pianist and organist in several states. His choral conducting skills were honed during his tenures as a Graduate Conductor with the University of Missouri (Kansas City) Canticum Novum Chorus, and as an undergraduate student conductor for the Texas Southern University Concert Choir.

His education includes a Bachelor of Arts from Texas Southern University, a Master of Music in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Missouri (Kansas City) Conservatory for Music and Dance. Highlights of his educational and performance career include operatic studies and performances in the Varna Opera Academy in Bulgaria, solo performances with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Signature Symphony, and upcoming performance with the Fox-Valley Symphony Orchestra. The multi-talented professional currently resides in Kansas City with his daughter Amyah. During breaks from school and performing, he enjoys traveling, visiting with family and friends, and makes a hobby out of trying new food.

Chris Kuwitzky, B.A., CPA
Chris Kuwitzky, B.A., CPA

Chris Kuwitzky, B.A., CPA

Vice President for Fiscal and Administrative Affairs

Mr. Chris Kuwitzky was recently selected to serve as Langston University’s Vice President for Fiscal and Administrative Affairs – the university’s chief financial officer. He possesses a wealth and breadth of financial administration experience in both the corporate and higher education sectors.

Mr. Kuwitzky began his career with Coopers and Lybrand Public Accountants (now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers) in Oklahoma City where he served a wide array of clients in governmental, oil & gas, not-for-profit, and higher education sectors. He would later join the finance staff at the University of Oklahoma in Norman where he rose to the position of associate vice president of administration & finance and chief financial officer. After 31 years of service there, he transitioned to Washburn University in Topeka, KS, serving as vice president of administration and treasurer. In this role, his responsibilities included all financial and budgeting operations along with information technology services, the physical plant, human resources, auxiliary enterprises, and oversight of the university police force. After three years, he returned to Oklahoma and, before joining Langston, Mr. Kuwitzky provided financial consulting and contract chief financial officer services to clients, doing business as Live Worthy Financial, LLC.

A native of Oklahoma, Mr. Kuwitzky earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1983, and earned the designation of certified public accountant two years later.

Kelly O’Bryan, M.A.
Kelly O’Bryan, M.A.

Kelly O’Bryan, M.A.
Director of University College

In the summer of 2023, Ms. Kelly O’Bryan was promoted to Director of University College. Ms. O’Bryan’s expertise has served Langston University and its students well. Hired as a Langston University instructor in fall 2014, she quickly earned a promotion to Assistant Professor, and in 2016 was appointed Chair of the Social Sciences and Humanities Department.

Outside of her University role, Ms. O’Bryan enjoys working with organizations such as the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice to advocate change in the criminal justice system.

Ms. O’Bryan earned master’s degrees in Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Criminology from the University of Arkansas. She is now attending Walden University pursuing a dual doctoral degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy.

Alonzo Peterson, Ph.D.
Alonzo Peterson, Ph.D.

Alonzo Peterson, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs

In July 2023, Dr. Alonzo Peterson was promoted to Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Peterson first came to Langston in 2005. He has served in increasing levels of leadership at the University including Director of the Intensive Summer Academy for Math, Science, and Technology; Faculty Athletics Representative; Chairman of the Department of Mathematics; Associate Dean for the School of Arts and Sciences; and his most recent role as Dean for the School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining Langston University, Dr. Peterson spent seven years at Southern University A&M University in Baton Rouge.

Possessing more than 25 years of higher education experience, Dr. Peterson has excelled in leadership roles as well as teaching undergraduate mathematics. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in computational and applied mathematics from Southern A & M University in Baton Rouge, and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Mathematics Education.

Dr. Peterson is a current board member for the Langston Economic Development Authority and the Wesley Foundation. He has the distinction of being a former mayor of the Town of Langston City, where he also served on the city council for approximately six years.

Heleen Sheets, M.O.L.
Heleen Sheets, M.O.L.

Heleen Sheets, M.O.L.
Director of Public Relations

In July 2023, Ms. Heleen Sheets was delighted to begin serving Dear Langston as Director of Public Relations. With two decades of higher education experience, she and her mom Carol made the move from northern Ohio and are thoroughly enjoying Oklahoma. Ms. Sheets previously served as Director of Marketing and Communications for Lourdes University in Sylvania, OH. In that role, she loved working with departments across campus, crafting communications and public relations plans that regularly exceeded goals.

Dedicated to higher education and fellow PR colleagues, Ms. Sheets regularly assisted in the annual planning of a Communicators Summit for Ohio’s independent colleges and universities. She has also presented at conferences, and served as a Circle of Excellence Awards judge for the national Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

A first-generation college graduate, Ms. Sheets earned an associate’s degree from Davis Business College, a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from The University of Toledo, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Lourdes University. She is enjoying the opportunity to proudly represent the Langston University community and experience all the rich traditions of Oklahoma’s only HBCU. Her most cherished memories to date have been Homecoming Week, the President’s Scholarship Gala, and the honor of being a judge for the 2023 Miss and Mister Orange and Blue Scholarship Pageant!

Sherri Smith-Keys, D.N.P.
Sherri Smith-Keys, D.N.P.

Sherri Smith-Keys, D.N.P.
Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs/Executive Director of LU-Tulsa

Having recently been named the Vice President for Clinical Affairs/Executive Director of LU-Tulsa, Dr. Sherri Smith-Keys is very excited to serve in these roles. She has been a RN for 39 years and her practice includes nursing administration in higher education and hospital, clinical practice, and nursing education. Dr. Smith-Keys’ work philosophy is to challenge herself all the time, in all aspects of work and play. She loves learning new things, taking new opportunities, and working with different people.

Having served on the Texas Nurse Association Nursing Professional Development Board and the North Texas Consortium for Hospitals and Colleges of Nursing, Dr. Smith-Keys looks forward to creating similar types of networks to enhance Langston University. In addition, one of her goals is to provide multilayer access to LU students through the intentional focus on growth and program expansion.

Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from the University of Texas at Arlington, a master’s in nursing (MSN) from Regis University, and a doctoral degree in nursing (DNP) from Walden University. She is married to her “best friend” and has four adult sons.

Shauntae' Sourie, B.S., B.B.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Shauntae’ Sourie, B.S., B.B.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Director of Human Resources

Alumna Shauntae’ Sourie is the new Director of Human Resources at Langston University. She rejoins the Langston family from Mid-America Christian University where she served as the Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator. In that role, Ms. Sourie oversaw all aspects of human resource management in functions that included, but not limited to, EEO compliance, recruiting, staffing, compensation and benefits administration, workers compensation, change management and training and development. As the Title IX Coordinator, she ensured no individual, on the basis of sex, was excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or was subjected to discrimination under any education program. She also identified and addressed any patterns or systemic problems that arose during the review of complaints.

A certified senior professional in human resources with more than 19 years of experience, she prides herself on being a trusted advisor who keeps the “human” in human resources. HR related professional certifications she has earned include Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SCP) and WorldatWork’s Certified Compensation Professional (CCP). Ms. Sourie helps prepare future HR professionals by serving as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Oklahoma in the Masters of Human Resources program. A proud HBCU graduate, Ms. Sourie earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Langston University.

In her free time, Ms. Sourie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, putting together jigsaw puzzles, providing service to her community through the works of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Sigma Sigma Omega chapter where she served as the past 1st vice president and program chair. She is married to “an amazingly loving human being,” Eric Sourie.

Ayana Spriggs Talley, M.B.A.
Ayana Spriggs Talley, M.B.A.

Ayana Spriggs Talley, M.B.A.
Executive Director of Information Technology Services

Mrs. Ayana Spriggs Talley serves as LU’s Executive Director for Information Technology Services and Computer Technology Integration. A technology leader with an extensive career spanning over 20 years in the technology industry, she has a diverse background of technical and leadership roles. In her most recent role, Mrs. Spriggs Talley held the position of Enterprise Solutions Technology Leader at Devon Energy for Oklahoma State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems. Later, she furthered her leadership skills by completing her Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in leadership at Oklahoma City University.

Mrs. Spriggs Talley serves as an Advisory Board member for Oklahoma Women in Technology (OKWIT), a prominent statewide organization dedicated to empowering and championing women in the tech sector. OKWIT actively promotes networking, professional advancement, and thought leadership within the Oklahoma technology community, while also inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Beyond her professional commitments, Ayana is married to Henry Talley and they are the proud parents of two daughters, Symone and Lauren. In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling with her family and volunteering in her community.

Andre Washington, Ph.D., CRC
Andre Washington, Ph.D., CRC

Andre Washington, Ph.D., CRC
Interim Site Administrator of the LU-OKC Campus

Dr. Andre L. Washington has been named Interim Site Administrator of the LU-OKC Campus. With more than 16 years of service to Langston University, Dr. Washington currently has the academic appointment of Associate Professor and Rehabilitation Counseling Program Coordinator with the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies.

He simultaneously serves as the co-principal investigator and Training Technical Assistance Director at the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities at Langston University (LU-RRTC).

A native of Oklahoma City, OK, the Langston alumnus is a graduate of John Marshall High School. He earned an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Central Oklahoma, a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Langston University, and a doctoral degree in Occupational Education from Oklahoma State University.

LU students, faculty pose with Dr Ruth Ray Jackson on the tennis courts

PRESIDENT JACKSON, LUAHPERD USE PICKLEBALL TO HELP STUDENTS DESTRESS BEFORE MIDTERMS

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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Students running around, laughing and having fun while their university president teaches them how to play pickleball is probably not what you’d expect to see on a college campus gearing up for midterms, but that’s what awaited any who made their way to the university tennis courts on Friday afternoon.

Langston University’s Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (LUAHPERD) and the ROARS Peer Educators held a “Cruising Into Midterms” event on Friday, which featured bike riding, pickup basketball and Pickleball with the President. The event was open to all students, and many took a break from studying to come hang out with their friends and decompress as they prepared for midterms.

“One of the priorities of the year is programming,” said Interim President Ruth Ray Jackson. “So, I’m very excited to see the HPER clubs adding programming to support good health and destressing for our students as they prepare for midterm exams.”

President Jackson encouraged everyone who came to pick up a paddle and hit the court, and many students were more than happy to learn a new sport from their president. Others preferred to ride bikes with their friends, and some just wanted to relax in the fresh air. Everyone who came was happy for a chance to get out of their rooms and stretch their legs before the grind of midterms fully began.

Kyara Swanson, a senior physical education major, said she thought the event was a fun way to relax, clear her mind and shake off some nerves as she prepared for her upcoming exams.

“Just simply riding the bikes or doing anything physical, it helps with your mental health,” Swanson said. “It helps you just clear your mind sometimes. You know, you’re in college and sometimes you just need a break.”

Giving students a break was the entire idea behind Cruising Into Midterms.

Dr. Desmond Delk, the chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and one of the faculty advisors for LUAHPERD, said the goal of the event was to remind people to take care of their mental and physical health because doing so will help them succeed in their classes.

“We’re prioritizing mental health, we’re prioritizing physical activity, and we’re encouraging collaboration between our faculty, staff and students,” Dr. Delk said. “I really commend the students on organizing everything, promoting the activity and really just coming out and enjoying themselves.”

The event lasted two hours, and President Jackson was there the whole time, playing pickleball and getting to know the students. Laughs could be heard on and off the court, and many students were happy for an opportunity to spend time with their president and their peers.

“I have had a blast sharing my love of pickleball with our Langston University students,” President Jackson said. “I’m excited that there’s great interest, and perhaps in the future we can add this as part of our recreational programming.”

Porsha Richardson headshot

A DREAM FULFILLED: A LANGSTON UNIVERSITY NURSING GRADUATE’S JOURNEY

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Jet Turner, Langston University Office of Public Relations

A DREAM IS FOUND

Porsha Richardson had to be strong for her granny.

At 6 years old, going to Granny’s house after school was the norm. But when Porsha eagerly opened the door, she did not see Granny on the couch or in the kitchen; instead, Porsha heard her call from the bedroom.

Even though she knew Granny was sick, Porsha could not help but feel thrilled to be back in the bedroom with her. Porsha learned how to play Solitaire and Go-Fish in the room-filling king-sized bed Granny would be resting in. Granny’s bright smile always shined in her memories.

But as she walked into the bedroom, Porsha did not see card games strewn across the bed. Granny was not smiling.

“Come here Porsha, I need your help,” Granny said.

Granny was laying toward the foot of the bed. One leg dangling off the footboard, the other wrapped in a bandage.

“I need you to be strong for me, Porsha,” Granny said. “I need you to put medication on my new scar.”

Granny’s battle with diabetes lead to her having half her leg amputated.

Porsha grabbed the ointment and began to remove Granny’s bandage as instructed. As the cloth fell the fresh stitching revealed itself, traversing Granny’s new leg like train tracks. Porcha looked into the eyes of her Granny, and they pleaded for reassurance. Any apprehension Porsha felt at the time melted away. She knew she could not show Granny the fear that almost overcame her.

Porsha swallowed her final traces of dread and began applying the ointment to her Granny’s new wound.

After the ointment was applied and a bandage was wrapped neatly around the wound, Granny smiled at Porsha.

“You did a great job,” Granny said. “You should consider being a nurse one day.”

Porsha agreed.

A DREAM IS EARNED

When it came time for Porsha Richardson to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse, Langston University was the only choice that made sense. Not only is Richardson the daughter and younger sister of Langston University alumni, but the highly touted School of Nursing and Health Professions drew Richardson to Dear Langston.

As she first walked into her Fundamentals of Nursing class, Richardson knew she was home.

“I was super excited to finally get a chance to be a part of the program, and to go to a school that my father and older sister had also attended,” Richardson said. “My dad was super proud.”

But Richardson quickly found achieving her dream of becoming a nurse was not going to be easy.

Dr. Lynnie Skeen greeted Richardson at the door as she found her seat in the plain classroom. Later, she would begin taking classes with Dr. Teressa Hunter. These professors quickly became mentors to the young nursing major who, initially, only wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse.

“Soon I found out that this is work,” Richardson said. “This is real work. I was not expecting nursing to be hard for me. I was thinking it would be the easiest thing because I always loved it.

“So Dr. Hunter pushed me. She pushed me to be better. She pushed me to be great. She did not settle for just anything. You had to earn every point, and so I earned every point. To this day it means a lot to me that I earned that degree.”

Richardson earned her nursing degree from Langston University in 2005 and was ready for anything the profession could throw at her.

But it was Dr. Skeen who told Richardson to not only consider graduate school but convinced her to be hands-on in her studies and move to Georgia so Richardson could attend her graduate studies in-person.

“I just took Dr. Skeen’s advice,” Richardson said. “If it were not for her, I would not have applied to graduate school. She knew my strengths and continued to invest in me as a student. These are things that I have always admired about the nursing professors at Langston University. The ability to see each individual student as unique individuals who have strengths and abilities that even they themselves may not know of.”

Richardson earned her master’s degree in 2009, from Emory University, in Atlanta, GA.

A DREAM IS HANDED-DOWN

Richardson has owned her own medical practice since 2018. Located in Midwest City, Uptown Medical Center allows her to continue her dream of helping and nurturing patients. During the Fall 2022 semester, Richardson received a phone call from Dr. Hunter.

“Dr. Hunter said she needed a Women’s Health Instructor,” Richardson said. “I ask ‘when do I start?’”

Richardson has always had a heart for service. From nursing her Granny at 6 years old to her medical practice today, she knew it was time to give to the next generation of Langston University nurses.

When it was time to be an adjunct professor at Langston University, Richardson answered the call to teach Childbearing (Women’s Health) and Psychosocial Nursing.

And she never forgot the treatment she received at Langston University. Dear Langston instilled in Richardson and all its nursing majors an unmatched worth ethic that persists throughout their careers. Richardson knows any of her patients can be trusted in the hands of Langston University School of Nursing and Health Sciences graduates. Nursing at Langston is not an easy major, but it will prepare you for the real world.

“I heavily believe in the nursing program at Langston University, and the foundation on which it stands,” Richardson said. “It has changed the trajectory of my life, and so I owe this program a lot. My school needed me, so it was the least I could do to answer the call. My professors and school helped me so much, and I wanted to give that same help back.

“I am still that same nurse that helped my Granny at 6 years old. Taking care of people is what I do, and I love what I do. I am contributing to my community, and I am helping it not only with my medical practice, but by teaching our future nursing students too. I am proud to be a Langston graduate.”

Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson headshot

OKLAHOMA A & M BOARD OF REGENTS APPOINTS DR. RUTH RAY JACKSON INTERIM PRESIDENT OF LANGSTON UNIVERSITY

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LANGSTON, Okla. – The Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical Colleges has appointed Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson as interim president of Langston University, beginning July 6, 2023. Dr. Jackson will serve until a nationwide search for President Smith’s successor is completed and the University’s seventeenth president assumes office.

“We appreciate Dr. Jackson’s willingness to step forward to lead Langston University through this upcoming transition,” said Jarold Callahan, Chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. “Her knowledge and dedication to Langston ensure we will maintain operational and program continuity. With capable interim leadership in place, we can devote our time and energies to conducting a comprehensive search to find the right person to lead this critical University moving forward.”

Dr. Jackson has been with the Langston University since 2014 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. She has held other leadership positions at the University including Associate Vice President for Student Success and Dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

“Dr. Jackson has more than 20 years of progressive leadership experience in higher education and an appreciation of Langston University’s role in the state, region, and nation,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., who announced plans to retire after 11 years as Langston University’s president. “I appreciate her willingness to serve and have full confidence in her ability to lead the University through this transition.”

Before joining Langston University, Dr. Jackson spent 11 years at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, where she served as tenured faculty, graduate program director, and department chair. Before transitioning to higher education, she spent over a decade in public education as a high school English teacher, assistant principal, and principal.

Dr. Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Southern University and A&M College. She earned a Ph.D. in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University.

“I appreciate the confidence of the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents in asking me to serve Langston University during this transitional period,” said Jackson. “I look forward to collaborating with the campus community to ensure continuity and remain focused on our mission.”

PHILIP STITT NAMED HEAD MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

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LANGSTON, Okla. – Director of Athletics Donnita Drain has announced the appointment of Philip Stitt as the head men’s basketball coach at Langston University. Stitt has more than 25 years of coaching experience, including seven years at the NCAA DI level, ten years at the NCAA DII level and 11 years at the junior college level.

“I am more than thrilled and excited to see the direction of Langston University men’s basketball under Coach Stitt,” Director of Athletics Donnita Drain said. “We had a tremendous pool of candidates which included over 60 applicants with various coaching backgrounds from successful high school coaches all the way up to the NCAA DI level. Through it all we had a great screening committee comprised of several alumni, including former lettermen athletes, and current administrators at Langston University. Coach (Philip) Stitt came through with shining colors. He has a rich experience of coaching at other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), tremendous championship experience, and he’s a proven winner and recruiter.”

Stitt most recently coached at Marion Military Institute (MMI) in Marian, Ala. where he led MMI to a 77-33 record over the past four seasons. During that time span, Stitt has coached two NJCAA All-Americans, two ACCC All-Region 22 performers and three NJCAA Academic All-Americans while consistently being ranked in the top 25 and clinching the ACCC/NJCAA Region 22 Championship in 2015-16. Stitt has also received coaching accolades during his time at MMI where he was named the NJCAA Region II Coach of the Year, the NJCAA District 12 Coach of the Year and Birmingham’s Tip-off Club’s Alabama Junior College Coach of the Year in 2015-16. Over the span of 28 seasons, Stitt holds a record of 100-68 at MMI and a career coaching record of 215-156.

“I’m very excited, particularly after meeting with President (Dr. Kent J.) Smith, Jr., Director of Athletics Donnita (Drain) Rogers and the search committee,” the first-year head coach said. “Everybody has a passion for Langston University and I’m looking forward to working in that type of environment. One of the factors that stood out to me about Langston University is the people. In this business, the people are important. I’m excited to get started.’ Of Stitt, President Kent J. Smith, Jr., said “During the screening process, Coach Stitt showed tremendous attention to detail and his ability to recruit stood out. He also brings impressive HBCU experience which will serve him well at Langston University. I am confident that Coach Stitt will lead our Lions to continued success on and off the court.”

Stitt’s coaching career began in 1991 as an assistant at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Fla. After spending three seasons with the Stars, he moved on as the assistant coach at NCAA DI Jacksonville University. In 1997 Stitt joined the coaching staff at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C. In his only season at Fayetteville State University, the Broncos finished with a 17-10 record, tied for second place in the CIAA Western Division. The next season, Stitt became an assistant at Winston Salem State University (WSSU). At WSSU, he was part of five 20-win seasons, two CIAA conference championships, five NCAA Division II tournament berths and two NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearances. He was also named the 2004-2005 CIAA Coach of the year.

Stitt returned to Florida Community College in 2006 to take over the program as head coach for two seasons before moving on to Grambling State University (NCAA DI) as the Associate Head Coach (2008-2009). Stitt has also served as assistant men’s basketball coach at Fayetteville State University (NCAA DII), North Carolina A&T State University (NCAA DI) and Florida State College at Jacksonville before arriving in Marion, Ala.

Director of Athletics Donnita Drain would like to thank the alumni, lettermen, and University supporters who assisted in the screening and interview process for this important search including Dr. James Mosely, Judge Kenneth Watson, Dr. Kevin Cox, Ms. Lateka Alexander, and Ms. Mariea’ Drain. The contributions of our alumni to the interview and screening process were invaluable, and their input further solidified the selection of Mr. Stitt as the next head coach of Langston University Men’s Basketball.

The Langston University Department of Athletics will hold a press conference to welcome Coach Stitt on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Langston University – Oklahoma City Campus located at 6700 N Martin Luther King Avenue in Oklahoma City.

Dr. Edward O. Manyibe, Research Associate Professor and Capacity Building Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) received the 2018 Bobbie Atkins Research Award from the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns (NAMRC) on July 13, 2018.

DR. EDWARD O. MANYIBE WINS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD AT ANNUAL REHABILITATION CONFERENCE

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LANGSTON, Okla. – Dr. Edward O. Manyibe, Research Associate Professor and Capacity Building Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) received the 2018 Bobbie Atkins Research Award from the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns (NAMRC) on July 13, 2018.

Dr. Manyibe was honored for his production of a significant volume of exemplary research and associated publications, research related to multiculturalism and disability, and development of research which has or will make a difference in thinking and/or practice in the multicultural arena.

It was the research and publication of Bobbie Atkins, the person after which the award was named, that provided the impetus for increased awareness surrounding the special issues impacting persons of color with disabilities. Her landmark research, “Vocational Rehabilitation of Blacks: The Statement,” published in the Journal of Rehabilitation in 1980, disclosed the inherent inequities for blacks served by the public vocational rehabilitation system.

Since her publication, Dr. Atkins has been a leading educator, publisher, researcher and trainer, grant developer, and spokesperson on multicultural, gender and other issues in rehabilitation.

The NAMRC is a diverse group whose purpose is to advocate for the rehabilitation needs of multicultural persons with disabilities. The NAMRC promotes and advocates a greater understanding of the needs of multicultural populations with disabilities, and assists multicultural populations to become self-sufficient and reach their highest level of attainment in society.

Langston University (LU) is a public Historically Black University enrolling a close-knit community of under 3,000 students. Langston University is recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability by afforableschools.net and bestvalueschools.com. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County and has urban campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Langston offers more than 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Visit us online at http://www.langston.edu.

Mark Gordon

MARK G. GORDON NAMED DIRECTOR OF BANDS FOR LANGSTON UNIVERSITY

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LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University is proud to announce that Mr. Mark G. Gordon has been appointed as the Director of Bands, effective June 25, 2018. He comes to Langston University with more than 20 years of experience directing bands on the high school and collegiate levels. His bands have won more than 30 first-place trophies from various battles of the band and competitions in Texas and Louisiana. He also hosted the largest high school battle of the bands in Texas for more than eight years with a capacity of more than 20,000 attendees.

Mr. Gordon earned a bachelor’s degree in applied music in 1996 from Prairie View A&M University. He went on to earn a master’s degree in divinity theological studies in 2007 from St. Agnus Georgian School and a master’s degree in music composition from Texas Southern University in 2014. Mr. Gordon is currently working on his dissertation in education and leadership instruction at North Central University. In 1996, he began his teaching career at M.B. Smiley High School in Houston, Texas. He later matriculated back to his Alma Mata; Prairie View A&M University where he was the assistant director of bands for 10 years.

Currently serving as Director of Bands for Charles H. Milby High School in Houston, Texas. Mr. Gordon is also a vocalist and national gospel recording artist. He has recorded with Universal Records and has performed with such artists as Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Stephanie Mills and John P. Kee. He is also a member of the following organizations: JAW Entertainment Group, Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Mu Alpha Sigma National Honor Society, and the National Association for the Study and Preservation of African American Music (NASPAAM).

If you would like to contact Mr. Gordon or the Langston University Band Department, you can email mark.gordon@langston.edu or call (405) 466-3418.

Langston University (LU) is a public Historically Black University enrolling a close-knit community of under 3,000 students. Langston University is recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability by afforableschools.net and bestvalueschools.com. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County and has urban campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Langston offers more than 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Visit us online at http://www.langston.edu.