Faculty Hall of Fame Award 1996
Dr. Valree F. Wynn
"Cameron University gave Wynn an opportunity to dream, and to extend 'torch of knowledge'"
From the Fall 1996 Cameron Today
Dr. Valree F. Wynn's fondest dream as a child was to become a teacher.
"I didn't dare to dream of being a college professor in my own home state, but Cameron offered me the opportunity to realize all of my hopes and dreams," Dr. Wynn recalled. "It welcomed me, treated me kindly, permitted me to expand my horizons and allowed me to serve my community and my race as a role model.
"Had it not been for Cameron, I would never have had the indescribable feeling of achievement that comes when a student grasps the torch of knowledge you've extended."
Wynn was born in Rockwall, Texas, and grew up in Sentinel, Okla. She graduated from Douglass High School in Lawton, received her bachelors degree from Langston University and became the first black to receive a masters and Ph.D. in English from OSU. She began her career at Douglass High School, teaching there for 13 years. She taught at Lawton High School for one year before joining the faculty at Cameron in 1966, thus becoming the first black to teach at either of the schools.
She taught for 19 years in Cameron's language arts department, retiring in 1985. She served on numerous faculty and university committees and was the founding co-sponsor of the Ebony Society and founding co-sponsor of the "Miss Black CU Pageant." She directed the pageant for nine years. In 1985 it was renamed in her honor.
In 1986, she became the first Black to serve on the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges, which monitors the affairs of Oklahoma's six regional universities. She served as president of the board in 1988-89, and in 1993 was honored by the President's Council of Regional Universities for meritorious service.
In August, Wynn was selected for induction into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame. The honor is "the greatest I've ever received," Wynn said.
Other awards and honors she has received include CU's Distinguished Service Award, the university's highest honor; the Graduate Excellence Award from OSU; Professor of the Year from the Lawton Chamber of Commerce; Distinguished Professor from Phi Kappa Phi; Distinguished Faculty Award from CU; Distinguished Alumna from Langston University; Martin L. King Humanitarian Award from Cameron College Ministry; Citizen of the Month from the Lawton City Council; Outstanding Woman of Comanche County from the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women; Woman of the Year from St. John Baptist Church, Dedicated Service Award from Barnett Chapel AME Church; and distinguished service awards from Sigma Tau Delta, Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
She initiated and helped the Lawton YMCA establish and implement its Black Achiever's Program, a national YMCA program and the first in Oklahoma. She has served on David Boren's Foundation for Excellence, the Lawton Public Schools Foundation and the Martin Luther King Holiday Commission. She has been a volunteer and member of numerous other community and professional organizations.
And her philosophy of teaching?
"It is based on my belief that every student is capable of assimilating, evaluating and arranging ideas into rational patterns that reflect his/her intellectual capabilities," she said. "A student has the right to be taught to make logical decisions based on thoughtful examination of facts which lead to a rational conclusion. He must learn to use the tools of learning _ research, analysis of data, selectivity and synthesis. The progress of our civilization rests with those who prepare themselves to develop and apply these tools of learning in the search to discover truth. The good teacher guides him to develop a thirst for knowledge that lasts a lifetime."