Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni Award

The true measure of a university’s greatness can be found in the achievements of its alumni and alumnae. Southwestern Oklahoma State University is nationally known to develop leaders in many fields of endeavor. A vast number of the University’s alumni have gained unique distinction through success in their professions, service to the University, and contribution to their communities. The University along with the Alumni Association established the Distinguished Alumni Award program to honor outstanding former students and to celebrate their achievements.

Purpose and Philosophy

The purpose of the Distinguished Alumni program is to recognize the University’s alumni who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and careers have honored the legacy of excellence at the University.

The Distinguished Alumni Award does more than honor its recipients. It also further illustrates the great value of the academic programs and student involvement at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and increases the pride all former students, students, staff and faculty have for the University. The award program recognizes those men and women who demonstrate the power of the SWOSU experience to the people of Oklahoma, the nation, and the world.

Criteria for Selection

Former students are nominated to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. Recipients may be accomplished in the following three distinct areas:

  • Career Distinction: The recipient is recognized as outstanding or exceptional within his or her career, field or industry, with endeavors that form a record of accomplishment impressive to the citizens of Oklahoma and the nation. This distinction is reflective of Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s core values – Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect and Selfless Service.
  • Service to Society: The recipient exhibits integrity and a demonstrated commitment to service through an interest in bettering the lives of others through volunteer efforts.
  • Service and Support to Southwestern Oklahoma State University: The recipient’s deeds and actions reflect the importance of his or her educational training, pride in alma mater and loyalty to Southwestern Oklahoma State University, as demonstrated through their interest in and support of the University and its programs.

Eligible Nominees

Eligible nominees must be a graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Former students employed by the University, Alumni Association, or the Southwestern Oklahoma State Foundation are not eligible during their term of employment. Former students may be nominated posthumously.
These awards are given for outstanding achievement and no compromises diminishing the significance of the awards will be made.

Method of Nomination

Nominations may be made for a Distinguished Alumni Award by any of the following individuals or groups:

  • Any member of The Alumni Association or its affiliate organizations, i.e. the Athletic Booster Club or Class
  • Any member of the University administration, faculty or staff
  • Any member of an affiliate or support organization of the University,
  • Any Southwestern Oklahoma State University former student
  • Any friend of Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Nominations will be accepted using the following guidelines:

1. The Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee will provide an Award Nomination Form upon request as well as make it available at www.swosu.edu.

2. In addition to the Award Nomination Form, nominators are encouraged to provide supporting items that further distinguish the nominee. Such items include, but are not limited to:

  • Current biography or curriculum vitae for the individual
  • Up to three letters of support from non-family members that specifically address the criteria
  • Newspaper and magazine articles
  • Personal stories
  • Award or certificates of achievement
  • Other items of interest

3. One nomination per individual will be considered.

4. Nomination forms will be held for each individual for a period of three years. If an individual is not selected for the award, his or her Award Nomination Form may be updated and renewed by the original or other appropriate nominator for consideration in any subsequent years of the three year period.

5. No limitation will be placed on the total number of nominations accepted for consideration.

6. The name of the nominator will not be disclosed.


Method of Award Recipient Selection

The Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee will use the following guidelines for the Award Recipient Selection:

  • The Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee will consist of the University President and his appointees.
  • The Alumni Office will collect submitted nominations which will be reviewed and validated.
  • The Alumni Office will submit the nominations to the committee in advance of the Selection Committee meeting. Committee members will volunteer to represent each nominee at the Selection Committee meeting and present an argument for their selection at the meeting.
  • Up to three recipients may be selected annually by secret ballot; they may be a combination of living or deceased. A Selection Committee member must recuse themselves if an individual they have nominated is presented to the Committee for approval.

Announcement and Recognition

The Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee will announce annual recipients through various methods and honor each recipient with the appropriate recognition. The SWOSU website will list all past winners and a short biography of each.

General Timeline:

Second week of September – Press release announcing call for nominations
First week of November – Deadline for nominations to be received
First week of December – Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee meets to vote