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SWOSU Names 2020 Emeriti Honorees

Five former Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) employees were honored recently by the SWOSU Alumni Association.

The SWOSU Alumni Association Board of Directors voted in 2015 to begin recognizing former SWOSU employees annually and celebrating their contributions to the university.

The 2020 honorees will be recognized in person later in 2021. The 2020 SWOSU Alumni Association Emeritus Award honorees include Melody Ashenfelter, Charles Chapman, Kelli Litsch, Les Levy and the late Ken Rose.

*** Broken component *** Melody Ashenfelter – Ashenfelter completed a double major and double minor at SWOSU in 1976 and a M.S. from OSU in 1978 and Ed.D. from OSU in 1986. Before joining the faculty at SWOSU, she taught at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton. Ashenfelter joined the faculty at SWOSU in 1987 and obtained CPA status in 1988. Melody taught with the Becker CPA Review Course from 1991 – 2003, and while the CPA Exam was a paper and pencil exam, she volunteered twice a year to help administer the CPA exam in Oklahoma City. She has been active in the Oklahoma Society of CPAs by serving as a local officer and as a state-wide liaison with the Education Institutions Committee (including several years as committee chair). Ashenfelter retired from SWOSU as a tenured professor as the Everett Dobson Endowed Chair of Accounting. She was a member of the Faculty Senate and was treasurer for a term, as well as working on the faculty handbook revision.  She was a member of the HLC Steering Committee for the 1990 accreditation visit and the subsequent focus visit and revision of the mission statement. She attended the Educator’s Leadership Academy in 2001-2002. Ashenfelter also chaired the departmental continuance committee, served on numerous tenure/promotion committees (including chair), served on the University Tenure/Promotion Review Committee and the numerous hiring committees for the Everett Dobson School of Business & Technology.

*** Broken component *** Charles Chapman – Chapman taught for 46 years. His first degrees are from the University of Oklahoma, and in 1972 he completed the PhD in music from the University of Texas. Besides teaching voice and a variety of subjects in vocal music, he directed and accompanied over 25 music productions and operas. During his SWOSU tenure (1962-2004), he was chair of the Department of Music for 11 years. After their retirement, he and wife, Sara, a SWOSU history professor, moved to Lake Fort Gibson. Chapman held leadership positions and extended editorships in several of the state, region and national music organizations. His offices in the 130,000-member National Association for Music Education included: president of the seven-state SW Division, 1987-1989; Oklahoma state pesident, 1981-83; state editor and web manager, 1992 – 2017; and president of the National Council of NAfME State Editors, 2004-2006. In the 22,000-member American Choral Directors Association, he was state president, 1980-82; SW Division editor of Common Times, 2008-10; and web manager/editor of OkCDA’s Tutti magazine, 2012-18. He served the 7,000-member National Association of Teachers of Singing as Oklahoma District governor, 1991-94; and as governor of the three-state Texoma Region until 1999. From 1982-85 he led the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education as chair. Among professional honors are: 1980 Distinguished Professor, SWOSU; 1981 Director of Distinction, OkCDA; 1992 Outstanding Oklahoma Music Educator. Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association; 1995 Hall of Fame, OkMEA; 2001 Governor's Award for Arts in Education, Oklahoma Arts Council; and a Lifetime Achievement Award, OkCDA, in 2005. OkCDA’s 2019 convention banquet was entirely devoted to tributes from his colleagues and former students. Chapman is the author of 21 published articles. He conducted 15 honor choruses and presented 15 international, national, region and state juried papers, including The International Congress of Voice Teachers in London, 1997. As editor/publisher of four state and region music magazines and eight years of monthly publications for the 90 docents of Philbrook Museum of Art, Chapman wrote over 100 editorials and short articles.  With the collaboration of a gifted vocal music faculty, the 65-voice Southwestern Singers became one of the region’s principal choral ensembles and was frequently selected to perform at conventions. The 2001 Singers were invited as the chorus for the International Symposium for Piano Pedagogy’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in Orlando (FL). Chapman composed more than 60 works for chorus, organ, solo voice and instrumental ensembles; an opera, 1979; and a musical, produced at SWOSU and Oklahoma Theatre Center, in partnership with Claude Kezer, in 1983. Singers premiered a work of his at their 1993 concert in The National Cathedral, Washington, DC. He was volunteer organist/choirmaster at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church from its establishment in 1979 until the couple’s move to eastern Oklahoma in 2004. He was chair of the Commission on Music for the Diocese of Oklahoma, 1980–1985.

*** Broken component *** Kelli Litsch – Litsch graduated from Thomas Public Schools where she set the record for most points scored by any player—male or female—in Oklahoma high school basketball history. Litsch followed in the footsteps of her father, Jim, and mother, Peggy, and attended SWOSU where she studied education. In her freshman year at SWOSU, Litsch led the Lady Bulldogs to an undefeated 34-0 season and national championship. She then led the Lady Bulldogs to national championships in 1983 and 1985. Litsch was the first NAIA student-athlete to be named to the All-American First Team four times. Litsch ended her time as a SWOSU student-athlete with an historic 129-5 record as the NAIA all-time record holder in points scored at 2,700. Following completion of her undergraduate and graduate work at SWOSU, Litsch served as assistant women’s basketball coach and helped lead the team to national championships in 1987 and 1990. In 1995, Litsch was named SWOSU assistant athletic director, a post from which she directed the institution’s compliance with NCAA and other applicable regulatory regimes. Litsch retired in 2014. She is an inductee of the SWOSU Athletic Hall of Fame (1990), NAIA Hall of Fame (1991), Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (2004), Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2005) and the Dewey County Hall of Fame (2013). Litsch serves on the Board of Directors of the SWOSU Athletic Association. In 2019, Litsch was inducted into the SWOSU Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

*** Broken component *** Les Levy – Levy completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Houston in 1967 and earned his M.S. and PhD from the University of Oklahoma. Levy served in the SWOSU Department of Psychology from 1971-2001 (as chair beginning 1980) and currently serves as CEO of ILFMP, LLC Corporation. He has been a member of the Southwest Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, Southwest Gerontological Association, and Oklahoma State Membership Board of the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association (OREA). Levy has served as president of the Weatherford Pioneer Center and president of the Corn Heritage Village Resident Advocacy Board. He is past president of the local OREA chapter and was a founder of the SWOSU Emeriti group. He has served on the SWOSU Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee for over a decade.



*** Broken component *** Ken Rose (posthumous) – The late Ken Rose completed his B.S. in natural science and health and physical education and recreation and in 1967 earned his M.Ed. in health and physical education and recreation, adventure recreation, and administration in 1970 from SWOSU. He went on to earn his Ed.D. in education administration, adult education, and health and physical education and recreation and adventure recreation in 1980 from the University of Oklahoma. Rose began his tenure at SWOSU in 1974 as an instructor in the Department of Health and Physical Education and Recreation, and over the course of 42 years served the roles of professor, Crowder Lake University park supervisor, Health and Physical Education and Recreation Department chair, SWOSU reserve ranger, Adventure Programs project director, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of the College of Professional Studies. Accepting the award on his behalf is his wife Susan, of 33 years, and his children, David, D’Ann, Wesly, and Tiler, who are all proud SWOSU Bulldogs.


Previous SWOSU Alumni Association Emeritus Award honorees include:

*2019: Radwan Al-Jarrah, Vicki Gilliland, Charles “Skip” Klingman, and Terry Segress

*2018: Stuart Burchett, Les Crall, John Hays and Blake Sonobe

*2017: Jill Jones, Henry Kirkland, Jr. (posthumous), John Loftin and Randall Russell.

*2016: Dan Dill, Joe Anna Hibler, Mark Mouse (posthumous) and Bill Seibert.

*2015: Lamar Crall, Roger Egerton and Mona Jean Suter.

The SWOSU Alumni Association, a subsidiary of the SWOSU Foundation, Inc., is a dynamic group of volunteers from all walks of life who are passionate about giving back to SWOSU. The association offers members a variety of benefits and event opportunities. For more information, contact SWOSU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at 580-774-3289 or visit