Tag: 2023

Aerial shot of the Langston University Langston Campus


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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.

Photo of Choir Director Ashton Jones
Ashton D. Jones

Ashton D. Jones, M.M..

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.

Langston University White House HBCU Scholars Lovette Mba and Charina Lancaster pose in front of a banner at the national HBCU conference


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Lovette Mba has always been passionate about her community.

The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Mba was raised in a tight-knit Nigerian community in Wichita, Kansas. Her community was a second family, and her communal Aunts and Uncles embraced her, providing opportunities to learn about and participate in Nigerian culture she otherwise may not have had growing up outside Nigeria. These community relationships and experiences were an integral part of Mba’s childhood, and she knows she wouldn’t be the same without them.

“I’m Nigerian American and I grew up in the Nigerian community back in Wichita,” Mba said. “And honestly, I attribute who I am, my qualities, to growing up in that community.”

Mba’s heavy involvement with the community was thanks to her parents. Her parents were entrepreneurs, and they instilled Christian values and disciplined work ethics in their children. They encouraged their kids to find ways to give back, a lesson Mba took to heart.

“Our parents have always instilled in us that it’s about giving back to the community, giving back to others and just basically having a higher sense of service over ourselves,” said Marygrace Mba, Lovette’s older sister. “So growing up, we were always involved in something, whether it was our church, whether it was our community, whether it was just a one-day volunteer thing. Whatever it was, we were always willing to do it because that’s just what we learned.” 

In high school, Mba joined Destination Innovation Inc., an organization that gives young people the tools and knowledge needed to become leaders in their communities through civic engagement, entrepreneurship and juvenile justice reform. This energized Mba, and she realized that’s what she wanted to do with her life: find ways to promote economic development in communities of color. 

This is a task easier said than done, and Mba knew her first step would be to further her education. She knew she wanted to attend a Historically Black College or University, but her parents wanted her to stay close to home. This posed a problem because Kansas has no HBCUs.

“I dreamed of going to an HBCU,” Mba said. “But they’re all so far away. My parents didn’t want me to go out of state, so I made a deal with them: if I could get a full ride somewhere, then they’ve got to let me go.” 

So she did. Mba came to Langston University in 2020 as a business management major with an Edwin P. McCabe Scholarship, which paid for her tuition, room and board, and a textbook stipend.  

And then Dear Langston became her new community. 

Despite starting college at the beginning of the pandemic, Mba was determined to make the most out of her time in school. She created her own fun and made friends through social distancing, and she took advantage of every opportunity to get involved once the covid restrictions lessened. She joined multiple organizations, participated in the Student Government Association and started the African Student Association.

“My main goal coming to Langston was to build community with like-minded people,” Mba said. “And I feel like I’ve been able to do that these past three years.” 

Mba loves to look for opportunities and take advantage when they appear. That’s what she was doing while scrolling through LinkedIn one night when she stumbled across the application for the White House HBCU Scholar program. 

Since 2014, the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities has recognized exceptional HBCU students who have excelled in the areas of academic achievement, civic and campus engagement, and entrepreneurial ethos. While reading about the program, Mba realized it aligned with her goals and could help her pursue her passion for economic development. 

“That’s really what I’m passionate about: economic development, community revitalization,” Mba said. “I really felt like it was God leading me to this opportunity, so I applied.” 

Mba waited months after submitting her application with no word on whether she was accepted. Then, the White House published a press release naming the 2023-24 White House HBCU Scholars, and her name was on the list. 

She was ecstatic.  

She had not only been recognized on a national level for her hard work, but she would be given tools and opportunities to learn more about economic development and how utilize it to help people. Since July, the program has given her mentorship opportunities and the chance to attend the National HBCU Week Conference in Virginia, and she will also participate in a hackathon sponsored by NASA.

As a White House HBCU Scholar, Mba’s goal has been to learn as much as she can and try to apply that knowledge to Langston University and the City of Langston. She wants to create an incubation program for student entrepreneurs to invest in their businesses and allow them to reinvest in the City of Langston. 

“There are so many student entrepreneurs on our campus,” Mba said. “I truly feel that Langston, the City of Langston, needs transformation, and that can only happen from our student body on a more economic level, like promoting the entrepreneurs on campus.”

As she works to try to establish this program, she is also making plans for her own future. She is considering earning a graduate degree in either urban planning or business administration, but she also hopes to work with a program in Wichita that promotes community revitalization through economic development. 

Whatever she chooses, it will put her one step closer to achieving her goals. 

“I picture myself going into communities of color and transforming them culturally, economically and creatively,” Mba said. “That’s just always been my dream, to go into communities of color and just transform them for the better, to be able to bring more business opportunities there and allow the community to really circulate their dollars and be able to invest in businesses that are also investing in them.”

Aerial shot of the Langston University Langston Campus


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From The Office of the President

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:

On behalf of the entire Langston University community, we are saddened and disturbed by the recent violence enacted on the campuses of Morgan State University and Bowie State University in Maryland as both institutions celebrated their homecomings. These senseless incidents take a toll on our collective communities and shared experience as Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

As we prepare for our own Homecoming celebration at Langston University, we want to take the time to remind and reassure our community of the resources and protocols in place. The University has security cameras throughout the grounds and in campus buildings which are routinely monitored and reviewed. There will be an increased presence of law enforcement and security for all Homecoming activities.

In an effort to ensure the well-being of the campus, we ask that everyone please practice these steps to sustain safety on campus:

— If you see something, say something. Our University community should feel empowered to report any suspicious or threatening behavior immediately so that the appropriate officials may respond.

— Download the free Campus Shield app to use in case of emergency or to make an anonymous report through photo or video directly to LUPD. You can find the app in the App Store or on Google Play for Android. Download the app directly onto your mobile device and select “Langston University” from the installation menu. The app allows for immediate emergency calling and provides an easy means of reporting suspicious behavior or activity directly to LUPD.

— Take note of the Blue Light call boxes located around campus. The call boxes can be used to place an emergency call to LUPD for immediate assistance at any time.

— Be mindful of who we allow or bring onto our campus locations. Too often, acts of violence are perpetrated by visitors who have no sense of responsibility to an institution or its members’ shared values.

— Do not engage with individuals who seek to threaten the safety of our campus community. No good will come from attempting to engage with individuals who intend to do harm. Please report any incidents immediately to LUPD.

— Model the behavior we wish to see as we celebrate our Homecoming. Homecoming at Langston University is a cherished celebration for so many and this year, we want you to be “ALL IN”. We ask that all members of our community conduct themselves with pride and respect for others.

To be clear, violence will not be condoned or tolerated. Please report any suspicious activity, no matter how minor, to LUPD immediately. Our sworn and certified police force is here to protect and serve. Together, we can continue to ensure that Langston University is a safe place for our community to live, learn, and thrive.

Thank you for your continued support and love of Langston University. Together, we look forward to a safe and successful Homecoming celebration!


Ruth Ray Jackson, Ph.D.
Interim President

Nathanael Rakestraw Edwards
Student Government Association President

NBCU Academy Next Level Summit graphic


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University encourages any high school or college students interested in journalism or media to attend the NBCU Academy Next Level Summit for free on Oct. 19.

“Next Level Summit: Know Your Audience” is a free virtual learning opportunity which is open to the public, and Langston would like to encourage anyone with an interest in a career in media to attend. The summit will discuss ways for journalists, marketing professionals, public relations specialists and other media industry members to identify and connect with an audience while providing attendees with an opportunity to connect with top industry professionals.

The summit will be hosted by the NBCU Academy, a free online education program for developing skills and advancing careers in journalism, media and technology from Comcast NBCUniversal and NBCU News Group. Langston University is an academic partner of the NBCU Academy.

Langston’s academic partnership with the NBCU Academy is part of its broader efforts to improve and enrich its broadcast journalism program. These efforts began in earnest with the donation of the new Langston OKC campus from Griffin Media.
The new campus, once the KWTV News 9 building, will soon be the new home of the broadcast journalism program. The donation included a full-service news station which will give Langston students a better understanding of what it’s like to work in a professional broadcast newsroom.

Not long after announcing the donation from Griffin Media, Langston announced its new partnership with NBCU Academy. Langston is one of 45 schools who are academic partners with NBCU Academy, and it’s the only university in Oklahoma with this partnership. In addition to the academic partnership, Langston received a $250,000 grant from NBCU Academy.

The NBCU Academy academic partnership offers several virtual and in-person educational and mentoring opportunities to Langston journalism students, including events like the Next Level Summit.

You can register for the Next Level Summit: Know Your Audience at nbcuacademy.com/events/.


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University’s School of Nursing and Health Professions is pleased to announce one of its hallmark programs will be available online starting this spring.

The new online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is available to registered nurses (RN’s) looking to further their careers in nursing. The program can be completed in 9 or 12 months, depending on the student’s preferred class schedule.
For more than 40 years, Langston University has been home to one of the best accredited nursing programs in Oklahoma. Under the direction of Dr. Teressa Hunter, the dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, the program has continued to grow.

The online BSN degree is available to students admitted to the Langston University main campus, the Langston University Tulsa campus or the Langston University Ardmore site.

The Langston University Tulsa campus is now accepting applications for the Spring 2024 semester. The early admission deadline is Oct. 16.

For more information about the online RN to BSN program, please contact a Langston University Nursing advisor at one of the three sites:

Langston/ Main Campus: 405-466-3415
Tulsa Campus: 918-877-8123
Ardmore Site: 580-319-0317

SGA Student President Nathaniel Rakestraw Edwards and SGA Vice President Hannah Wall talk with an Air Force officer


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by Jet Turner, Assistant Director of Communications

Langston, Okla. – Langston University signed an agreement with the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base on Monday, giving students the opportunity to gain real-world experience through internship and learning opportunities, leading to a potential path to employment upon graduation.

When Langston University Student Government Association President Nathaneal Rakestraw-Edwards heard news about the signing, he was excited about the opportunities this will give current and future students.

“There are many students with so much potential at Langston University,” Rakestraw-Edwards said. “As a student, this deal is very important in ensuring that we are getting the connections necessary to set us up for our future. I am excited to share with the student body whatever internship or employment opportunities are available through Tinker Air Force Base.”

The Air Force Sustainment Center has partnerships with universities throughout the nation, which typically focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

However, this partnership with Langston University is the first “hybrid” partnership of its kind, expanding upon the STEM relations Tinker Air Force Base has with other institutions to include business majors, environmental scientists, project managers and more.

“This allows us to cast a net to attract prospective employees, particularly students and, in this case, Langston University students, for them to consider Tinker Air Force Base as an option to start their careers,” General Stacy Hawkins said. “As a nation, we cannot afford to leave anybody off the table when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.”

This relationship between Langston University and Tinker Air Force Base is not new, as numerous alumni participated in internships and cooperative education programs that led to fulfilling and gainful careers at the Air Force base and beyond.

The signing re-engages and formalizes Langston University’s partnership with Tinker Air Force Base and strengthens the bond between the two organizations.

“Everybody wins,” said Langston University President Ruth Ray Jackson. “Langston University students have the opportunity to supplement their academic studies with real experiences that allow them to see the theory and innovation in action. The Sustainment Center has access to a diverse pool of talent that is familiar with the role, scope and mission of the organization. Oklahoma wins as more Langston University graduates will see remaining in the area as a viable alternative to leaving the state to begin their careers.”

The signing of this partnership agreement signifies the power of collaboration, and the opportunities it will unlock in the realms of research, education, service, and workforce development are endless.

Langston University SGA Vice President Hannah Wall said Langston University’s growing partnerships proves the institution’s commitment to ensuring students are properly prepared and equipped for the work force.

“Creating opportunities such as this shows how much Langston is willing to put into their students to not only give us quality education, but also versatility to stand out amongst the sea of people we will compete with later in life,” Wall said. “Langston University is not like other Universities and Colleges; it is an institution that prides itself on creating long lasting success within each of its students no matter the challenges they face.”

Langston University 2023 White House HBCU Scholars graphic


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Langston, Okla. – Two Langston University students have been named 2023 White House HBCU Scholars, marking the first time two Langston students have received the honor in one academic year.

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities announced its 2023 HBCU Scholars on July 20, and Langston’s Lovette Mba and Charina Lancaster were among the 102 undergraduate, graduate and professional students to receive the honor.

“We are very excited that Lovette and Charina have been selected to represent Langston University as 2023 White House Initiatives on HBCU Scholars,” said Dr. Alonzo Peterson, the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. “These two students represent some of the best and brightest students here at the university. They are not only great students but render great service to the Langston University community.”

Since 2014, the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities has recognized exceptional HBCU students who have excelled in the areas of academic achievement, civic and campus engagement and entrepreneurial ethos.

Mba and Lancaster are the seventh and eighth Langston students to be recognized as White House HBCU Scholars since the program’s inception.

“I am honored to be chosen as a 2023 White House Initiative on HBCUs Scholar,” said Lancaster, a 2023 nursing graduate. “Being chosen is an exciting opportunity and I am proud to be a scholar representing Langston University, the only HBCU in the state of Oklahoma. Langston University has provided me with a great education, a wide range of opportunities, a powerful network providing many connections on campus within and outside of my major of nursing.”

This year’s cohort is the largest ever and includes students from 70 HBCU’s throughout the country.

White House HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors for the White House Initiative on HBCUs, the U.S. Department of Education and their respective academic institutions for the academic year. They will receive several networking and professional development opportunities throughout the year, including at the 2023 HBCU Week National Conference from Sept. 24-28.

“We know that they will take full advantage of opportunities to engage the other scholars, initiative staff, and industry partners on questions of innovation, leadership, and personal and professional development,” Dr. Peterson said. “Most importantly, we want Lovette and Charina to bring those experiences back to Langston University and share them with other students. This is a great opportunity for Lovette and Charina to help other Langston Lions with the knowledge they gain from the conference and the monthly master classes they will attend.”

Mba, a senior business management major, said she applied to the program because it aligns with her goals of community revitalization and economic development, and she’s excited to see what she will learn and what she can bring back to the Langston community.

“It is a great way to network with professionals in the industry I desire to work in and learn more about my passion for economic development on the national level,” Mba said. “I’m ecstatic to represent Langston University as a White House HBCU Scholar, and I cannot wait to experience all the new opportunities that come with the honor.”

Likewise, Lancaster said she’s excited to share her experiences and help the Langston community grow.

“I hope that by being chosen as a 2023 HBCU Scholar that I can help provide future high school graduates from New Mexico with information about Langston University and share my experience with them,” Lancaster said.

Aerial shot of the Langston University Langston Campus


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From The Office of the President

Dear Langston University Community:

On Monday, September 18, 2023, the United States Secretaries of Education and Agriculture sent letters to governors of 16 states outlining what the Biden Administration describes as a pattern of inequitable funding by those states to their respective 1890 Land-Grant Institutions. The gaps in funding directly relate to each state’s responsibility to match federal funding, dollar-for-dollar, to support agricultural extension and research.

Langston University, the 1890 Land-Grant of Oklahoma and our state’s only Historically Black College or University, was identified in the letter to Governor Stitt as being under-funded by nearly $419 million since 1987. The Departments of Education and Agriculture reached this figure through a calculation and comparison with the 1862 Land-Grant Institutions in each state. The funding supports the land-grant mission of Langston University, including our agricultural cooperative extension and research initiatives. As many of you know, the work of our cooperative extension program enhances the lives of Oklahomans across the state, with the potential to influence additional communities with more funding. Research within the Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences has a local, state, national, and global impact.

It is important to understand that the State of Oklahoma has taken strides since FY23 to address the disparity in matching funds. Langston University received an additional $1.8 million from the State of Oklahoma toward the federally mandated match in FY23, representing an increase of approximately 20% over appropriations in the prior fiscal year. The increase in FY23 brought the state matching levels to an average of 68% matched for Cooperative Extension and 72% matched for Evans-Allen Research. Recently, the State of Oklahoma invested an additional $1.3 million toward the mandated match in FY24. At Langston University, additional funds from the state directed toward meeting the one-to-one match will support critical work within our Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, as reflected below.

Cooperative Extension Award Funded Activities

The Cooperative Extension Award will continue to fund a number of outreach activities for our Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. These activities include but are not limited to:

  • Expansion of Cooperative Extension programs in nutrition support, food safety training, food processing, and related programs for communities with limited resources.
  • Expansion of research into new service areas throughout the state of Oklahoma to support Cooperative Extension education programs.
  • Introduction of Cooperative Extension demonstration centers in various areas of the state.
  • Enhanced partnerships with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) around the state.
  • Expansion of the Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth and Urban engagement programs to support youth development activities in more communities across the state.
  • Additional partnerships with K-12 schools throughout the state to support youth development, nutritional and workforce development programs and activities.

Evans-Allen Award Funded Activities

The Evans-Allen Award will continue to fund a number of research activities for our Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. These activities include but are not limited to:

  • Introduction of new research and extension programs in horticulture, agronomy, climate-smart agriculture, precision agriculture and agribusiness.
  • Installation of two additional climate-controlled hoop houses, with rainwater harvesting technology to complement the new Horticulture Education and Research Center (HERC) on the Langston Campus.
  • Installation of weather stations at HERC and Aquaculture research sites.
  • Development of research fruit orchard at HERC.
  • Development of facilities for the introduction of Large Animal (Cattle) operation.
  • Installation and repair of fencing around pastures supporting animal research and extension.
  • Expansion and enhancement of product development programs including upgrades to milk production and processing facilities.
  • Introduction of Nubian goats to pair with existing Alpine goats for producing high-quality dairy food products.
  • Recruitment of additional staff members to support Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences Land-Grant initiatives.

While academic programs are not directly supported from research and extension funding, the overall effects of this funding serve to amplify Langston University and its academic mission, as well as local communities and the state of Oklahoma as a whole.

The letter from the Departments of Education and Agriculture urged each governor to consider making investments, either in the short-term or through a long-term budget strategy, to address the gap in funding and meet and potentially to exceed the mandated state match.

Langston University will continue to engage in discussions with state and federal leadership concerning this important funding. We remain encouraged that these discussions are progressing in a positive manner and appreciate the support shown by our community.


Ruth Ray Jackson, Ph.D.
Interim President
(405) 466-3201

Dr Corey Moore headshot


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by Dr. Corey Moore, Founding Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University has been awarded a $4.375 million grant for its Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NDILRR).

The grant, which will total $4.375 million over 5 years, extends a third cycle of funding from the NDILRR Administration for Community Living which is intended to help minority-serving institutions build research capacity and study rehabilitation disparities. Dr. Corey Moore, the founding chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at Langston, will serve as principal investigator and director for the grant.

“This national RRTC positions LU as the foremost national leader on the frontier of cutting-edge disability and rehabilitation research capacity building at minority-serving institutions and minority disability and rehabilitation research,” Dr. Moore said. “This center will provide Langston University a national avenue to mentor faculty members and students and provide technical assistance to research support systems to enhance scientific abilities and opportunities and access to federal research dollars at historically Black colleges and universities, Tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions.”

The award involves a consortium of researchers and mentors at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the Kessler Foundation, and South Carolina State University. Other collaborators who will work with the LU-RRTC in carrying out activities include the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Delaware Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the Association of University Centers of Disabilities. The goal is to build minority-serving institutions’ disability and rehabilitation research capacity through research participation that examines the experiences and outcomes of people with disabilities from traditionally underserved populations, such as African Americans/Blacks, Native Americans or Alaska Natives, Latinx, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

One of the key studies will be carried out in partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston and will involve a mentorship component with a new institutional Research Capacity Building and Infrastructure Model. This model aims to build the disability and rehabilitation research skills of both faculty members and students as well as the institution’s overall capacity for research. The RRTC will match select minority-serving institutional faculty and students with peer mentors and will link institutional research support systems with key consultants to build the center’s capacity.

The RRTC will also work with providers such as the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Delaware Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program to assess the feasibility of a cultural competence in Employment Support Training Model for providers serving people with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations with co-occurring opioid and/or substance use disorder.

“Langston University is proud to advance the NIDILRR’s mission of generating knowledge used to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities,” said Langston University Interim President Ruth Ray Jackson. “The RRTC advances our institutional focus on access and opportunity for all people.”

The RRTC’s grant fund coordinated, integrated and advanced programs of research, training, and information dissemination in topical areas specified by the NIDILRR. These centers conduct research to improve rehabilitation methodology and service delivery systems as well as improve health and functioning while also promoting employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

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


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Students running around, laughing and having fun while their university’s 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.”

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