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Date of Article Title of Article//
03/31/2017 SSC President Dr. Jim Utterback to be Honored at Retirement Dinner
03/24/2017 SSC Appoints Reynolds as Permanent President
04/25/2017 SSC Students Inducted into Psi Beta
04/25/2017 Utterback Honored by AACC
04/21/2017 SSC’s Permanent Issue Band to Host Spring Concert; Hold Auditions
04/20/2017 SSC Faculty Selected for Panel at Native Crossroads Film Festival
04/20/2017 SSC Attends Oklahoma’s Promise Day at the Capitol
04/18/2017 Student Bank Board Visits Federal Reserve
04/18/2017 State Speech Champs
04/13/2017 Seminole Chamber Honors SSC Personnel
    Survey Archives   


March 31, 2017

SSC President Dr. Jim Utterback to be Honored at Retirement Dinner


Dr. Jim Utterback will be honored for his 20 year tenure as President of Seminole State College at a Retirement Dinner on Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Enoch Kelly Haney Center on campus.

Dr. Utterback, the College’s fourth and longest serving president, has been with SSC since January, 1997. After two decades of leadership, Utterback announced his plans to retire this year, effective June 30, 2017.

Under Utterback’s guidance, SSC has experienced tremendous growth. Physically, the campus has more than doubled in size– increasing from 39 to 90 acres. Six new buildings and facilities have been added to the College, including the Enoch Kelly Haney Center, Softball Complex, Roesler Residential Learning Center, Seminole Nation Residential Learning, Ben and Bonnie Walkingstick Student Services Center and the Dan and Andrea Boren Center. Numerous building renovations and campus beautification projects have also been conducted throughout the last 20 years.

Utterback’s direction has led to the development of new academic programs and all-time highs in student enrollment. International exchange and global study programs have expanded, most recently to include a cultural and educational exchange program with the Silkeborg Business College in Denmark. The College’s athletics program has also advanced, including the addition of softball, volleyball and women’s soccer as well as the reinstatement of men’s and women’s golf.

He has fostered the growth of the SSC Educational Foundation and the development of the College’s Rural Business and Resources Center. He has also assisted in area economic development efforts – recently including the use of the Dan Boren Business Development Center as the temporary location of Seminole High School.

During his time as President, Utterback has received many honors and held numerous leadership roles in local and national organizations. He was selected to serve on the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors and was recognized as “Citizen of the Year” by the Seminole Chamber of Commerce. He served as Chair of the Board of Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, Vice-Chair of the Board of Seminole Integris Medical Center, and Chair of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Council of Presidents. Under the Council of Presidents, he chaired the Legislative Affairs Committee for 16 years.

A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Utterback Family Scholarship Fund. Individual tickets can be purchased at a cost of $35 each. Table sponsorships are available in four levels: Platinum - $3,000; Gold - $2,000; Silver - $1,000; and Corporate - $500. Each sponsorship will seat a table of eight. 

The SSC Educational Foundation, Inc., was created in 1972 “to supply aid for charitable, benevolent, educational, scientific and literary purposes,” according to the foundation’s articles of incorporation.

Jeramy Rich serves as Chair of the Foundation Board of Trustees.  Vice Chairs are Paige Sheffield and Lance Wortham.  Other members of the Board are: Chairman Rocky Barrett, Dan Boren, Richard Carr, Dr. Vickie Carter, Steve Degraffenreid, Rick Geist, Jim Hardin, John Hargrave, Chief Leonard Harjo, Douglas Humphreys, Gary Kinslow, Tim Mathews, Gordon Melson, Troy Miller, Carl Packwood, Kenny Pryor, Harvey Robinson, Lance Ruffel, Mark Schell, Jack Sherry, Roy Sisco, Sue Snodgrass, Bob Swearingen and David Wilson. 

For more information about the event, contact a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees or the SSC President’s Office at 405-382-9200.




March 24, 2017

SSC Appoints Reynolds as Permanent President

reynolds signing

Signing on the Dotted Line…
Seminole State College Executive Vice President Lana Reynolds (left) and Board of Regents Chair Leesa Adams (right) sign a contractual agreement for Reynolds to be named the permanent President of Seminole State College, effective July 1, 2017.


The Seminole State College Board of Regents convened Thursday for their monthly meeting.  At their March meeting, the Board voted to make SSC Executive Vice President Lana Reynolds the permanent replacement for retiring President Dr. Jim Utterback, effective July 1, 2017.  The Board had previously announced in January that Reynolds would serve as “Acting President,” but made the appointment permanent on Thursday.

The Board made this appointment to ensure a steady environment for the College, and to provide stable leadership during the continuing State budget challenges.

President Utterback complimented the Board’s decision, stating “Lana has been with the College for more than three decades.  During virtually that entire time, she has performed the duties often associated with the role of ‘Chief of Staff’ for the Office of the President.  Lana is highly qualified academically and is well-respected on campus, in the community and beyond.  She has been in leadership roles with a number of professional statewide boards and organizations.

“The number one priority of any new President is the establishment of quality relationships on campus and in the community.  Lana brings to the position deep-rooted, valuable relationships that will be beneficial in her ability to implement her vision for the future of Seminole State College. I am honored to have served alongside Lana and look forward to her leadership in her new capacity as President beginning this summer.”

Reynolds said that she is excited about the Board’s action.  “I am grateful to receive this appointment on a permanent basis.  I love Seminole State College, its students and employees.  I will do my very best to continue to help this institution grow and to serve the campus and community,” Reynolds commented.

The announcement was made after the Board returned to Open Session, following an Executive Session.  Additionally, the Board officially awarded Dr. Utterback the title of President Emeritus, effective July 1, 2017.  As President Emeritus, he will be available to consult with the SSC President, represent the College and President at various events and help oversee fundraising and construction of capital projects. He will also have the opportunity to work in conjunction with the College and SSC Educational Foundation to oversee annual giving and develop a planned gifts program.

Other Board action included the approval of repayment to the SSC Educational Foundation for invoices totaling $254,218.50 in relation to the Dan and Andrea Boren Center. During recent budgets cuts and restrictions, the College relied on the Foundation to help pay portions of this construction project. Due to a lower than anticipated deficit for this fiscal year, and revenue generated by the start of the women’s soccer program and several scholarship reductions, President Utterback stated that the College is in a position to repay this amount to the Foundation from auxiliary funds designated for maintenance, construction and equipment.

During the President’s Report to the Board, Dr. Utterback gave an update on recent and upcoming campus activities and events.  He also introduced several staff members who have taught classes this year as part of their regular contractual agreements with the College. As a cost-saving measure, the employees taught these courses without additional compensation.

These individuals spoke about their positive experiences in the classroom and were thanked by the President and the Board for their service. SSC employees included were Lauren Anderson, Edie Cathey, Mechell Downey, Kristin Dunn, Carmen Hutchins, Dr. Tom Mills, Sheila Morris, Lana Reynolds, Melanie Rinehart, Sam Rivera, Melinda Sims, Dr. Jim Utterback and Toni Wittmann.

Board members present at the February meeting were: Chair Leesa Adams, Bryan Cain, Marci Donaho and Curtis Morgan. The next SSC Board of Regents meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 18, 2017





April 25, 2017

Utterback Honored by AACC

president and officers

Seminole State College President Dr. Jim Utterback was recently honored by the American Association of Community Colleges during a special Hail & Fairwell Luncheon. During the event, Dr. Utterback was recognized for his 20 years of leadership and service as SSC President as well as his active role within the AACC organization. Pictured (l-r) are: Walter G. Bumphus, AACC President and CEO; Dr. Utterback; Dr. Utterback’s wife Karrie; and Daniel Phelan, AACC Board of Directors Chair.




April 25, 2017

SSC Students Inducted into Psi Beta

psi beta members

Eight students attended the recent Seminole State College Psi Beta National Honor Society induction ceremony inside the College’s Enoch Kelly Haney Center. Seated (l-r) are: Cortney Newell, Monica Danner, Rachel Costley and Psi Beta President Stephanie Johnson. Standing (l-r) are: Psi Beta Faculty Co-Sponsor Kendall Rogers, Angel Dearman, Alexandria, Cheyenne Watson, Taylor McClure, Alethea Amador and Psi Beta Faculty Co-Sponsor Christal Stevenson. Not pictured: Kennedy Rose

Nine Seminole State College students were recently inducted into the Psi Beta Psychology Honor Society for two-year colleges.
Alethea Amador of Ada; Rachel Costley of Wetumka; Monica Danner of Shawnee; Angel Dearman of Castle; Taylor McClure of Tecumseh; Cortney Newell of Wewoka; Kennedy Rose of Shawnee; Alexandria Turner of Prague; and Cheyenne Watson of Shawnee were inducted into the honor society during a special candle-lighting ceremony held in the College’s Enoch Kelly Haney Center. Each student received a pin, certificate of achievement and honor stole to wear at the College’s commencement ceremony in May.
The Psi Beta ceremony was conducted by SSC Psychology Professor Christal Knowles and Psychology and Sociology Professor Kendall Rogers, who both serve as co-sponsors of the organization. Rogers gave the keynote address encouraging students to find their “instrument” and seek “mastery,” to set goals and accomplish those goals, to celebrate even the smallest victories, and most of all, enjoy the journey.
Knowles presented the Service Award to Psi Beta President Stephanie Johnson for her outstanding service to the Psi Beta honor society as well as Seminole State College and the community. Johnson is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Student Government Association at SSC. Additional Psi Beta officers include Turner, who serves as Vice-President, and Watson, who acts as Secretary.
Knowles said, “All of these students have demonstrated not only the intellectual capability to succeed in the classroom, but they also have demonstrated a strong commitment to serve their community. I am very proud of these students and what they have accomplished in their academic careers and I anticipate more great things from them in the future.”
Psi Beta is the national honor society in psychology for community and junior colleges. The mission of Psi Beta is professional development of psychology students through promotion and recognition of excellence in scholarship, leadership, research, and community service. To become a member, students are required to have an overall grade-point-average of 3.2 with at least a “B” or better in psychology and to have demonstrated a genuine interest in psychology. SSC has held an active charter with Psi Beta since 1996.
For more information regarding the SSC Chapter of Psi Beta, contact Knowles at 405-382-3207 or Rogers at 405-382-9691.





April 21, 2017

SSC’s Permanent Issue Band to Host Spring Concert; Hold Auditions

The Seminole State College show band, “Permanent Issue,” will be holding their spring concert on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Jeff Johnston Fine Arts Center on campus.

Admission to this event is free and the campus and community are invited to attend. This year, the band is doing a tribute to 60s and 70s style music. Current band members include Joseph Jeong of Seminole and Robert Hanson of Shawnee.

Auditions for next year’s band will be held on Tuesday, May 2 at 2 p.m. inside Jeff Johnston. Open positions will include vocalist, drummer, bass guitarist, rhythm guitarist and pianist. For more information, or to schedule a time for a try-out, contact Permanent Issue Band sponsor Travis Qualls by email at Please provide name, mailing address and telephone number in the email. Those interested should bring a copy of their most recent high school and/or college transcript and two letters of recommendation to the audition.

The band plays contemporary rock and country music and performs at various campus activities, as well as at high school assemblies and community events throughout the school year. Scholarship opportunities are available for selected band participants.





April 20, 2017

SSC Faculty Selected for Panel at Native Crossroads Film Festival

nelson, tahmahkera, wilson


Seminole State College Associate Professor of English Jim Wilson (right) recently served as a panelist during the 5th Annual Native Crossroads Film Festival held at the University of Oklahoma. This year's theme, “Bodies in Motion,” featured the work of Native film makers from Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil and the United States. Panel members commented on six short films ranging from 7 to 28 minutes. The films addressed issues of the environment, criminal justice, and health. Also pictured are Joshua Nelson (left), OU Associate Professor of English, who organized the festival, and Dustin Tahmahkera (center), University of Texas – Austin Assistant Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, who also served as a panelist.  




April 20, 2017

SSC Attends Oklahoma’s Promise Day at the Capitol


Seminole State College students and staff members attended Oklahoma’s Promise Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday afternoon in support of the scholarship program.  

SSC joined other students and representatives from Oklahoma colleges to show appreciation for Oklahoma’s Promise and encourage legislators to continue to support the program. While there, the delegation met with several state representatives, including Josh Cockroft, Dell Kerbs, Ed Cannaday and Katie Henke. The group also spent time visiting with Lt. Governor Todd Lamb and Senator Jason Smalley.

Oklahoma’s Promise, formerly known as the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), was created in 1992 by the state Legislature to help more Oklahoma families send their children to college. To be eligible, the program requires that the student be a resident of Oklahoma and be enrolled in the eighth, ninth or tenth grade. The annual income of the student’s family must not exceed $50,000 when they apply.

Students are required to take 17 units of specific high school courses and maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA in those classes as well as all other courses in grades nine through 12.  Students must also attend class regularly and avoid drugs, alcohol and any involvement in delinquent acts.

If the student meets the program's requirements, Oklahoma's Promise will cover tuition costs at an Oklahoma public two-year college or four-year university.  It will also cover a portion of tuition at an accredited Oklahoma private institution. The scholarship amount does not cover items such as books, room and board or other fees.

SSC students present at the event were: Stephanie Black of Wewoka; Deinna Burkitt of Seminole; Angel Dearman of Castle; Jessica Dill of Shawnee; Ashlie Gelm-Skidmore of Seminole; Katie McCray of Earlsboro; Cherokee Richardson-Velasco of Shawnee; Chelsi Rahbbusch of Ada; Zachary Ilbery of Checotah; Dylan Moore of Seminole; and Destiny Donaldson of Seminole. Staff members present were Melanie Rinehart, Director of Financial Assistance; Sonja Sigman, Financial Assistance Clerk; and Kristin Dunn, Media Relations Coordinator.

For more information about Oklahoma’s Promise, visit

Photo 2962

students iwth lamb

SSC students visit with Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb during their visit to the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday in support of Oklahoma’s Promise.

Photo 2966

completing support forms

Ashlie Gelm-Skidmore (left) and Destiny Donaldson (right) complete forms asking local representatives for continued support of Oklahoma’s Promise. The SSC students also included their personal experiences as college students receiving the scholarship.



April 18, 2017

Student Bank Board Visits Federal Reserve

student group

Members of the BancFirst of Prague, Meeker and Stroud Student Bank Boards who are participating in a special class offered through Seminole State College recently visited the Federal Reserve Bank in Oklahoma City. SSC Business and Industry Training Coordinator Carol Hartman accompanied the group on the April 12 trip, which was sponsored by the College. Students toured exhibits and were provided information about the Federal Reserve which they were tested over in a game show format – complete with prizes. 

Students in attendance from left to right are: (back row) Bridgette Howard, Meeker High School; Kinley Johnson, Meeker High School; Dakota Jackson, Meeker High School; Miranda Opela, Prague High School; Marshal Gatz, Meeker High School; Raygan Gillispie, Prague High School; Caleb Bridges, Prague High School; Tristin Jorgensen, Prague High School; Garrett Brown, Paden High School; Zachary Guy, Meeker High School; Cole Cook, Meeker High School; Tyler Ferguson, Davenport High School; Madeleine Ozan, Meeker High School; Kennedy Dean, Meeker High School; (front row) Jordan Campbell, Meeker High School; River Jennings, Meeker High School; Lindsey Perry, Paden High School; Madilyne Devereaux, Meeker High School; Kirsten Goodman, Prague High School; Abbey Brunson, Prague High School; Karlee Ogden, Prague High School; Ashlyn Hand, Davenport High School; and Nicole Oliver, Meeker High School.




April 18, 2017

State Speech Champs

fried and clark

Seminole State College concurrent students Lauren Fried (left) and Wanda Clark (right) show off their 4A State Championship CX Debate medals they earned at the recent Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association State Speech and Debate Competition.  Fried and Clark are enrolled concurrently in SSC's Argumentation and Debate class this semester taught by Assistant Professor of Speech John Bolander. SSC offers concurrent courses to eligible high school students as a way to earn both high school and college credit hours.




April 13, 2017

Seminole Chamber Honors SSC Personnel

kasterke                       rinehart            

Tammy Kasterke-Educator of the Month      Melanie Rinehart-Staff Member of the Month    

Two Seminole State College employees were recognized for their hard work and dedication during the monthly Seminole Chamber of Commerce Forum on Thursday. Assistant Professor of Business Tammy Kasterke was honored as “Educator of the Month” and Director of Financial Assistance Melanie Rinehart was honored as “Professional Staff Member of the Month.”

The Seminole Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, along with the Lions Club and Blue Ribbon Realty, recognize SSC employees several times during Forum each year. Individuals are nominated from across the campus and chosen by SSC administrators to receive the honor.

Kasterke came to SSC in 2004 as a financial aid advisor. In the spring of 2014, she began teaching part-time and later that year assumed her current role as a full-time faculty member for the business and education division. She currently teaches Introduction to Accounting, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting and Introduction to Microsoft Office.

She holds two Associate in Science degrees – one from SSC and one from St. Gregory’s University.  She went on to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master of Business Administration from Cameron University. On campus, she is a member of the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association Activity Fund Allocation Committee, the Assessment of Student Learning Committee and the Faculty Senate Scholarship Committee.

Kasterke and her husband Derrick reside in Shawnee with their three children, Tanner, Josh and Kali. Outside of work, she stays active with her family, spending many hours watching her children’s baseball and softball games. She is a member of the South Rock Creek Community Club, the Shawnee High School Baseball Boosters and the Shawnee High School Softball Boosters.  She and her husband are also members of the Knights Auto Club in Shawnee and enjoy entering car shows in their free time.

Rinehart came to SSC in 2015 as director of financial assistance. Along with overseeing the financial aid office, she also acts as a student advisor and is currently serving as an instructor for an Introduction to Business course this semester. On campus, she is a member of the Professional Staff Council and the Student Success Committee. She will be inducted this month into the Seminole Rotary Club. She is also a member of both the Oklahoma and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

She holds a Bachelor of Art in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Business Administration from St. Gregory’s University. Rinehart currently resides near Seminole and in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, camping, music and anything to do with horses