The O’Colly: U.S. Rep. Lucas speaks at Fall Commencement

Dec 19, 2022
In The News

Saturday, Lucas reminded the more than 1,100 graduates at OSU’s fall commencement ceremonies that those dreams can come true, no matter where any of the graduates came from.

U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, spoke at OSU’s fall commencement on Saturday. 

Saturday morning’s graduation ceremonies recognized students from the Ferguson College of Agriculture, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology and the College of Arts and Sciences. The afternoon recognized graduates from the Spears School of Business and the College of Education and Human Sciences. Graduate student ceremonies were held Friday.

The 1982 OSU agricultural alumnus reminded graduates that they can achieve their dreams, regardless of where they came from. 

Lucas represents Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, which is made of almost half of the state’s land mass. A citizen of Cheyenne in Roger Mills County, his high school graduating class consisted of 40 people. Lucas said his rural roots never deterred him from his career, which later led to Washington, D.C.

“Remember this, the size of your hometown does not have to determine the size of your dreams,” Lucas said. 

OSU President Kayse Shrum led the 145th commencement and was joined by Rep. Lucas; Dr. Ki Cole, OSU faculty chair; Jarold Callahan, OSU A&M Board of Regents chair; and Riley Pritzlaff, Student Government Association president.

“For many of us, our time at OSU played a very critical role in our lives,” Callahan said. “Whether it was learning skills for our future careers, taking advantage of leadership opportunities on campus, or making friends that will last a lifetime, OSU has made a difference in your life.”

Dr. Shrum awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Gene Rainbolt, a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He is known in the Oklahoma banking industry and is a lifelong supporter of higher education. Rainbolt’s son, David, accepted the degree on his father’s behalf. 

Lucas said higher education will push Oklahoma into the future. He highlighted OSU’s land-grant mission and how OSU supported his parent’s generation during the Dust Bowl. Lucas said graduates of land-grant institutions, like OSU, are going to be integral to Oklahoma’s future.

“Ultimately, you are all the reason why Oklahoma State will be the preeminent land-grant institution,” Lucas said. 

“Your innovation, your discoveries, your wealth of knowledge and generosity to give back to OSU will help make our university a better place for generations. You are all examples that OSU is and will for generations continue to be the preeminent land-grant university.” 

“I believe now more than ever, Oklahoma and our nation, the graduates of land-grant universities, you are the ones who will go on to educate, serve our communities, solve problems and improve our understanding of the world around us,” Lucas said. “Going forward, I challenge you to always remember what it means to be a Cowboy. 

Remember to challenge yourself intellectually and never stop learning.”

Alyssa Parker, a summer graduate, walked across the stage Saturday. She said it was an amazing experience. Parker earned her university studies degree from the Ferguson College of Agriculture and is working toward becoming a high school ag teacher in Tennessee.

“It didn’t feel real at first, but now it feels really real,” Parker said.

Megan Wines, who earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology, echoed Parker’s sentiments. Wines said she valued Lucas’ speech.

Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Wines is hoping to work in forensic science and said she will fondly remember her time in Stillwater.

“I am just going to miss the friends and the people,” Wines said. “Everyone is so friendly. You never really find people like you do in Stillwater anywhere else.”

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