by Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
STILLWATER, OK – Last month, Women for Oklahoma State University hosted its 9th annual Symposium featuring keynote speaker American journalist, author, and television personality, Joan Lunden. The event was held at Gallagher-Iba Arena, in Stillwater.
During the event, the organization awarded 10 scholarships totaling $43,020, surpassing records in both categories from past years.
Lunden’s discussed her journey from being a “weather girl” in Sacramento to anchoring the evening news, and later serving for 19 years as co-host of Good Morning America. She also talked about her battle with triple negative breast cancer, which was diagnosed in June 2014 and required chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
“When the going gets tough, you can’t quit,” Lunden said. “You have to hang in there and believe you’re going to make it. … Sometimes the most important things we say all day are the things we tell ourselves. ‘Yes, I can do this.’”
A mother of seven, she discussed balancing her successful career and private life.
“We are all writing our life’s story and the pen is in our hands,” Lunden said. “You have to be willing to risk not being great for the chance to learn how to do something great.”
During the symposium, Linda Cline was recognized as the Philanthropist of the Year by over 500 attendees.
Cline, who owns Char-Lin Ranch in Cushing was honored for her support of OSU and her community. She memorialized her late husband through a major gift to name OSU’s state-of-the-art Charles and Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center. It includes a teaching barn with stalls for foaling mares, a small indoor arena, classroom, conference room, feed and tack room, wash rack, treatment area and offices. OSU Extension Services can utilize it to host workshops and student learning opportunities, 4-H clubs and FFA chapters, as well as the general public.
“I think you just get led to do things,” Cline said. “I just do what I think might be helpful and what I want to do. It’s just seeing the need and saying, ‘Is that a place I want to help? Do they need help?’”
In 1985, the Clines bought their retirement property outside Cushing and later purchased 17 horses establishing the ranch. That acquisition peaked at more than 2,500 cattle and 300 horses, earning more than 200 world and reserve world championships before downsizing in recent years.
Although not attendees of OSU, the Clines credited much of Char-Lin Ranch’s success to the university’s faculty visiting the ranch, working with and teaching them, as well as the treatment their animals received at the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. A long-running relationship was developed with the university’s equine program, supported through their generous donations. The operation, which employed many OSU students, was also opened to student tours.
The Clines allowed the Department of Animal Science to use their animals for teaching opportunities, judging team practice, clinics and contests. In addition, they donated several world-class horses to improve the genetics of OSU’s teaching herd and endowed a professorship.
Ms. Cline supports the Right Path Riding Academy; the Special Olympics; Love, I.N.C.; Shiloh Camp; and the American Quarter Horse Association.
Amy Mitchell, an alumna and chair of Women for OSU, provided an organization update, telling the audience that the group has awarded $187,370 in scholarships to 49 students during in tota8. Hosting more than 3,000 women at various events, the 45 current members of the organization’s Council have given more than $120 million to support various needs at OSU. The combined giving of everyone who attended the Symposium exceeded $147 million.
Eight recipients were named Women for OSU scholars: Christina Anaya, an integrative biology doctoral student from Fallbrook, California; Megan DeVuyst, an agribusiness junior from Morrison, Oklahoma; Abbey Grimes, a microbiology sophomore from Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Darci Klein, a counseling psychology doctoral student from St. Louis, Missouri; Wendy Lau Wong, an industrial engineering and management junior from Panama City, Panama, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Courtney Mapes, an animal science junior from Alva, Oklahoma; Ayrianna Swanson, a French, microbiology and biochemistry sophomore from Oklahoma City; and Karlie Wade, an agricultural communications and pre-law sophomore from Perry, Oklahoma.
The Wirt June Newman Memorial Scholarship, which supports students planning a career in public or government service, was presented to Krista Boston-Fullerton, an educational leadership and policy studies doctoral student from Stigler. The Sheryl Benbrook Women for OSU Scholarship, designated for graduate students, went to Sulochana Paudyal, an entomology doctoral student from Bharatpur, Chitwan, Nepal.
The master of ceremonies was alumna and reporter Jocelyn Lockwood.
The 10th annual Symposium, scheduled for April 5, 2018 will feature Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer as keynote speaker.
For more information, visit OSUgiving.com/women.