SWOSU Announces Establishment of North Family Endowment
Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) has announced a major gift from longtime SWOSU benefactor and 1980 alumnus Mike North of Oklahoma City.
The North Family Endowment has been established to provide ongoing support to the SWOSU Department of Parks & Recreation Management (PRM).
North and his wife, Marilyn Flinchum, are enthusiastic and generous donors to many SWOSU causes including the SWOSU President’s Leadership Class and the SWOSU Charitable Hunt. They are also Founder-level investors in the SWOSU Bulldog Angels Fund, which provides assistance to SWOSU students facing crisis.
“The North Family Endowment is a transformative gift for the students, faculty and programs of the SWOSU Parks & Recreation Management Department,” said SWOSU President Dr. Randy L. Beutler. “We are delighted to partner once more with longtime benefactors and friends Mike North and Marilyn Flinchum to help enhance learning, develop skills and strengthen our university. The entire SWOSU community is deeply grateful for this generous philanthropic investment.”
In addition to providing substantial, much-needed scholarship support to PRM students on an annual basis, the North Family Endowment will celebrate and award the outstanding PRM graduate each year via the North Family Medal recognition. The North Family Endowment will also offer the local community annual public information on PRM issues and developments through the North Family Endowed Lectureship in Parks & Recreation Management.
Additionally, the Parks & Recreation Management faculty will have the opportunity to style one of their number as the “North Family Endowed Chair in Parks & Recreation Management.”
In recognition of the magnitude of this generous gift to SWOSU, Beutler has asked the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) Board of Regents to formally designate the primary instructional facility at Crowder Lake University Park as “The North Family Building.”
“I am very thankful for the education my family members and I received at SWOSU,” North said. “I hope that this donation will make a positive difference for students and faculty.”
The North Family Endowment is so named to honor the rich heritage of the North Family at SWOSU—in addition to North and his grandmother, the late Lucille North, his brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Julie (Classes of 1979 and 1980 & 1994, respectively) and their daughters, Kayci (Classes of 2007 & 2008) and Ali (Class of 2008) are all proud SWOSU alumni. Additionally, North’s aunt, Margaret A. (North) Wrucha, is a 1965 & 1968 alumnae of SWOSU.
North was born in Tacoma (WA) and raised in Weatherford. Following graduation from Weatherford High School in 1973, he served his country in the United States Navy, being honorably discharged in July of 1977. He began his undergraduate work at SWOSU in 1977 where he studied accounting and economics. North worked in public accounting for two and a half years before entering the real estate development and syndication business. He passed the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination in 1983.
In 1986, North purchased a small childcare center and over the next 25 years developed and built the enterprise into 11 large childcare centers with the capacity to serve 1,750 children. In 2011, North sold the childcare business and began Okie Express Auto Wash, which has 11 locations in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Lucille North was born September 25, 1905, in Indian Territory. She grew up in Weatherford and attended Weatherford Public Schools. Lucille earned a degree in education from the then-Southwestern Normal School in 1927. While attending what became SWOSU, Lucille belonged to the “BullPups” (a cheer group), Tri-J Sorority, and Forensia. After graduation, Lucille taught at Okeene and Corn before marring Roy North in 1931. Lucille went on to earn her Master of Education degree in the mid-1950s and then taught third grade in Weatherford’s East Elementary school until her retirement in 1971.
Lucille was very proud of Weatherford and SWOSU and participated in numerous volunteer organizations: Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Meals on Wheels, and many other causes that benefitted from her civic commitment. While a septuagenarian, Lucille drove other senior citizens to doctor appointments and grocery store visits. In 1990, at the age of 85, Lucille received the “Volunteer of the Year” award from the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce.
The North Family Endowment is stewarded by the SWOSU Foundation, Inc. which was established in 1977 to promote philanthropy and distribute funds to support the activities and programs of SWOSU. Located on the Weatherford campus in the historic Burton House, the Foundation currently stewards nearly $30 million in assets for the benefit of SWOSU. For more information on the Foundation, call 580-774-3267 or visit www.SWOSUFoundation.com.