CU Alumni Association announces CUAA Award honorees and Faculty Hall of Fame inductees

The Cameron University Alumni Association is pleased to announce the winners of its 2019 Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards as well as inductees into the CUAA Faculty Hall of Fame, which will be presented during the university’s homecoming festivities. Ed Goeas III, Polly Krasser and Vendula Krejcova will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards; Michele Johnson and Oluwatoyese Oyewole have been named Outstanding Young Alumni. Scott Richard Klein and Dr. James Lambert will be inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame. The awards will be presented during the Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 2 in the McCasland Ballroom. Tickets to the event are $25 per person and can be reserved online at www.homecoming.cameronrsvp.com.

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.

Ed GoeasDistinguished Alumni Award: Ed Goeas III

Widely recognized as one of the country’s leading political strategists, Ed Goeas III studied Political Science at Cameron University from 1972 to1976. He is the president and CEO of The Tarrance Group, one of the most well-known Republican survey and research firms in American politics. He also acts as pollster for 30 current members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 12 U.S. senators, and five governors.

In recognition of the number of winning campaigns conducted by The Tarrance Group, Goeas and his partners, Brian Tringali and Dave Sackett, were awarded the 2010 Republican Pollster of the Year and 2014 Republican Pollster of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC). In addition to his campaign work, Goeas works in partnership with democratic pollster Celinda Lake on the nationally recognized “Georgetown University Battleground Poll.”

In his more than 40 years of working professionally in politics, Goeas has served as the national political director of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the campaign manager of several campaigns, and Chief of Staff to a U.S. congressman. He is currently the pollster for both Senator Jim Inhofe and Senator James Lankford, along with Congressman Kevin Hern in Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional district.

Goeas is a lifetime member of the Cameron University Alumni Association.

Polly KrasserDistinguished Alumni Award: Polly Krasser, Class of 1980

For more than three decades, Polly Krasser has invested in the lives of students at Chattanooga Schools. Her teaching began shortly after graduating from CU in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

Her first job was as a Title I, formerly Chapter I, teacher at Grandfield Elementary School. The following year, she accepted a first grade teacher position at Chattanooga Elementary School. Eight years later, she became the junior high and high school math teacher at Chatty. She was a three-time recipient of the Chattanooga Schools Teacher of the Year Award.

Before her May 2018 retirement, Krasser was renowned as a standout teacher who went above and beyond. She led Student Council, organized the school carnival, coordinated the senior trip and hosted the after-prom program. She was the first to arrive at school and the last to leave. She helped hundreds of students grow into caring, successful people, which, in turn, made a positive, lasting impact in the community.

As a CUAA lifetime member and President’s Partner, Krasser generously gives back to her alma mater. She is also among generations of family members who are also CU alumni, including James Eddie Phillips, Ruby (Runyan) Phillips, Eddie Mitchell Phillips, Michael D. Phillips and Lindsey (Krasser) Billen. Her parents, James and Ruby, were founding members of President's Partners.

Vendula Krecjova Distinguished Alumni: Vendula Krejcova, Class of 1998

One of the Czech Republic’s most prominent national broadcasters, Vendula Krejcova graduated from CU in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. As an Aggie, she was a standout on the women’s basketball team. She later studied at the Metropolitan University of Prague, where she earned her master’s degree in media studies with an emphasis in English language media.

For more than 15 years, Krejcova worked on the national and international news desks at Czech TV, the country’s largest television station. When Czech TV began a 24-hour news broadcast, Krejcova was among the first recruits, and she was selected to anchor the morning show for four years. Over the past 12 years, Krejcova has served as the executive producer and anchor for Objektive, which is ranked as one of the top 15 shows in the Czech Republic. In 2015, she was honored with the Zlatna Penkala (“The Golden Pen”), one of Europe’s highest journalistic honors, for her work on Objektive. Two years later, she co-authored the book “Objektive Discovers the World.”

In 2008 and 2012, Krejcova produced and anchored the top news channel in the Czech Republic during the U.S. presidential elections. Krejcova has also shown compassion and taken action in the face of jarring, national events, such as the European refugee crisis.

Michele JohnsonOutstanding Young Alumni Award: Michele Johnson, Class of 2010

Michele Johnson is the co-founder of Beautiful Day, a non-profit organization established in 2013 with a mission to tell children that the day they were born was a “beautiful day.”  She is also the owner and operator of an independent Shelter Insurance agency. She earned a Bachelor of Accounting from CU in 2010.

Before founding Beautiful Day, Johnson and her friend Leah Miller recognized a desperate need in the community.  Beautiful Day was birthed in Duncan out of a desire to create and foster more positive social connections within communities. The organization has two humanitarian and social service programs—the Birthday Program and Kindred Community—which will serve about 5,600 children and 250 widows, respectively, this year.  Beautiful Day’s birthday program leads over 1,000 local community volunteers into 16 elementary schools monthly to celebrate every elementary school age child’s birthday. Kindred Community serves another group of potentially overlooked community members: widows, hosting monthly dinner events specifically created for widows. In early 2018, Michele co-authored “Beautiful Day: The Story,” a book documenting the success and impact of this organization.

Johnson is a member of the Duncan Chamber of Commerce as well the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits.

Toye OyewoleOutstanding Young Alumni Award: Oluwatoyese “Toye” Oyewole, Class of 2012

A 2012 Cum Laude graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, Oluwatoyese “Toye” Oyewole serves as a corporate treasurer at Texas Instruments, where she handles investments, cash management, debt issuance and commercial paper.

Oyewole was previously a financial planner and financial analyst at Texas Instruments, as well as an associate at Fidelity Investments and an analyst at CMC-Americas, Tata Consulting. She is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Oyewole has volunteered with multiple non-profit organizations at the local and national levels, including the Second Harvest Food Bank that benefits Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in California, as well as GenR (Generation Rescue), which partners with the International Rescue Committee to help people around the world survive and rebuild their lives. Oyewole coordinates a small fundraiser each year that supports the building of water wells in African communities through The Water Project.

During her time at CU, she served as a student ambassador, member of the Nigerian Student Association and board member of the Cameron Banc First Portfolio. She earned a spot on Who’s Who Among Students and was named to Cameron’s Top 20 Students. Oyewole was inducted into Delta Mu Delta, Phi Eta Sigma and Delta Sigma Pi honor societies. In 2011, she was crowned CU Homecoming Queen.

Scott Richard KleinFaculty Hall of Fame: Scott Richard Klein

A member of the CU faculty since 1989, Scott Richard Klein's encouragement and challenging class structure are factors in his selection for the 2019 Faculty Hall of Fame Award. As Chair and Professor in the Department of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts, Klein has influenced his students and the community around him with his love for theatre for over 30 years.

Along with Klein's busy teaching schedule, he directs at least two student performances a year. These theatre productions lead to his students learning beyond the classroom, while providing showings for the community to attend. This win-win situation is a constant reminder of the involvement and influence Klein brings to Cameron and the Lawton community. Klein’s expertise has also been called on to adjudicate numerous high school theatre and community theatre contests, including the National American Association of Community Theatre Festival.

He is the recipient of the Lawton Arts and Humanities Educator in the Arts, Oklahoma Community Theatres' Jean Adams Wray Award, the Southwest Theatre and Film Association Presidential Citation and Oklahoma Speech Theatre Communications Theatre Educator of the Year, among others.

Jim LambertFaculty Hall of Fame: Dr. James Lambert

Since joining the CU faculty in 1976, Dr. James Lambert has engaged students with vivacity and a love for music than translates and influences their growth. A specialist in percussion studies, he holds membership in numerous national organizations and honor societies, including Percussive Arts Society, Music Educators National Association, College Music Society, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Eta Sigma, and the National Association of Schools of Music.

A Professor of Music, Lambert has built a legacy of students who have graduated and succeeded as performers, educators and business professionals. Even though many of his former students are across the globe, he makes an effort of keeping up a friendship with all of his former students, regardless of their location.

His university service includes Chair of the Faculty Senate. He also served as a member of the Faculty Advisory Council to the Chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Lambert is the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award, the Lawton Arts and Humanities Council Educator of the Arts Award m the Percussive Arts Society’s Outstanding Service Award, and the Meritorious Service Award from the Cameron chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. In 2010, he was honored with CU’s Partner of Choice Award, which recognized his efforts at helping the university to be the area partner of choice.

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

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February 14, 2019