CU Alumni Association announces CUAA Award honorees

The Cameron University Alumni Association is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards, which will be presented during the university’s homecoming festivities. Ted Blodgett, DeDe Thorp Graham and Jamie Polk will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards; Norman Holcomb and Megan Veldhuizen have been named Outstanding Young Alumni. The awards will be presented during the Aggie Family & Friends Awards Lunch on Saturday, February 18 in the McCasland Ballroom.

The Distinguished Alumni Award and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award are presented to former Cameron students who have made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments have brought credit to Cameron by distinguishing themselves in their careers, in service to their communities and/or through continued support of Cameron University. The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to Cameron alumni who are 40 years of age or older. The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented to Cameron alumni who are 39 years of age or younger.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Ted Blodgett, Class of 1990

After earning a Bachelor of Accounting at Cameron, Ted Blodgett went on to earn a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. Manager of Gray, Blodgett & Company, PLLC, Certified Public Accountants in Norman, he is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Valuation Analyst and is Accredited in Business Valuations. He is also a licensed member of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

Blodgett’s professional and civic involvement is multi-tiered.  He is a Past President of the board of directors of the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants and is the Chair of the Oklahoma Bar Association, Tax Section. He serves on the Norman Community Foundation Board of Directors. Prior service also includes a stint as treasurer for the Board of Directors, Salvation Army, Norman, as well as Chair of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs Business valuation/Forensic Litigation Support Committee.

Blodgett was inducted in to the Oklahoma Accounting Hall of Fame in 2014 and received the Distinguished CPA Award from the Norman Chapter of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs in 2004.

He is a member of Cameron University President’s Partners and the Cameron University Alumni Association. He has also served as an office on the Cameron University Foundation Board of Directors.

Distinguished Alumni Award: DeDe Thorp Graham, Class of 1966

DeDe Thorp Graham impacted the lives of Southwest Oklahoma students for more four decades. After receiving an associate degree from Cameron State Agricultural College, she went on to earn bachelor, masters and doctorate degrees. Graham began her career in education as a second grade teacher in Lawton and then as a first grade teacher in Indiahoma. In 1972, she became a high school counselor for Snyder Public Schools and subsequently served as Federal Programs Director, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. She retired in 2008. 

She has served on the board of directors for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools and served as that organization’s president. She also served in a leadership role for the Oklahoma Association of School Business Officials.

She was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators in 2008. Additional awards and honors include Outstanding Young Women in America in 1982, National Recognition for Outstanding Title I Migrant Project, Outstanding Snyder Public Schools Alumnae Award, the Pioneer Award from the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools and the Oklahoma Academic Achievement Award for Title I schools.

Distinguished Alumni: Jamie Polk, Class of 1996

Jamie Polk’s passion for education has taken her from the classroom to a vital role in the administration of Lawton Public Schools. A native of Waterloo, Iowa, she earned a Masters of Elementary Education from Cameron, then went on to earn Administration Certification from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a Doctorate in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Oklahoma.

Polk served as an assistant principal and principal for Lawton Public Schools prior to being named Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, a post she has held since 2013. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Cameron.

Polk has been involved in numerous civic organizations with an emphasis on fostering best practices to heighten student achievement. She is the past president and regional director of Delta Kappa Gama Society International and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Kappa, Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administrators, the Oklahoma Education Association, and the National Education Association.

She has served on the board of directors for J. Roy Dunning Children’s Shelter, Marie Detty Head Start Policy Council and is past president of the board of directors for Christian Family Counseling Center. She is a board member of Leadership Lawton/Fort Sill, United Way and the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award: 2LT Norman Holcomb, Classes of 2016

A member of the U.S. Army since 2006, Norman Holcomb joined Cameron’s Army ROTC battalion as part of the U.S. Army’s Green-to-Gold program in 2014. During his academic career, he earned placement on the Dean’s or President’s Honor Roll each semester. He was the recipient of the Lieutenant Timothy J. Maude Foundation Scholarship, a highly competitive national award and was selected in Spring 2016 as the recipient of the George C. Marshall Award, which recognizes the top senior in Cameron’s Army ROTC program and which earned him a place at the 39th Annual George C. Marshall Awards and leadership Seminar at Fort Leavenworth. Prior to receiving his Cameron diploma in May 2016, he was named a Distinguished Military Graduate, which recognizes cadets in the top 20 percent of national accessions. He also received the Frank Rickard Infantry Award, the Special Forces Association Award of Excellence, and the Lawton/Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce and Industry Award. Additionally, he was honored as one of two Top Cadets Selected by Military Science Instructors.  

Commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 2016, he recently completed the Infantry Basic Office Leadership Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Megan Veldhuizen, Class of 2010

Megan Veldhuizen is one of Oklahoma’s greatest assets: a passionate educator. After earning a Cameron degree in Early Childhood Education, she began her teaching career at Sullivan Village Elementary, then moved to Woodland Hills Elementary. In 2015, she was named Grant Facilitator/K-5 STEM Specialist for Lawton Public Schools. In this role, she consistently demonstrates her passion for the STEM disciplines. Veldhuizen is a popular presenter at professional development conferences around the nation and strives to provide resources for teachers. Working alongside the Oklahoma State Director for Science on the OKSci Framework Phase I, she developed a framework to aid teachers in better understanding the new science standards. For Phase II, she adapted lesson plans to show teachers how to adapt their own lesson plans to be more three-dimensional and more aligned with the science standards. She is currently the OKSci Educational Resource for Science Project Manager, developing text for students aligned with the science standards.

Veldhuizen is an active member of the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, Oklahoma Math Teachers Association, OKSci/OKMath Leadership Alumni, Project Newton and NGSS EQuIP National Review Panel.  Awards and honors include Fort Sill SIRES Teacher of the Year, Masonic Lodge Teacher of the Year, Oklahoma Science Teachers Association Elementary Science Teacher of the Year, K20 S.K.I.E Statewide Winner, OKSci Leadership Graduate and Lawton Public School Leadership Graduate.

For more information about the Cameron University Alumni Association, call 580-581-2988.

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February 16, 2017