I always look forward to a new issue of Vantage Point because I continue to be impressed with the range of students we have in our programs. This newsletter for our friends and alumni is a chance for us all to meet some of them who, as you will see, bring with them diverse life experiences that serve to enhance their educational experience with us.
Like Duane McLean. He is senior vice president for business operations for the Detroit Tigers and is graduating in December with a master’s degree. Writer Julie Lippmann learned that he gave himself the gift of an advanced degree for his 40th birthday and found that the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma afforded him the opportunity to balance his busy career in professional sports with raising his children and pursing a master’s degree.
Everyone has a different motivation for returning to school, like Tracy Mathis, now a senior in our college. When she lost her husband to cancer a few years ago, Tracy decided to take care of some unfinished business, namely her bachelor’s degree. She tells Christine Hughes that her motivation was not only to better her professional standing, but to demonstrate to her three teenage children that it is never too late to achieve a dream.
Speaking of dreams, master’s graduate Steven Gullberg has long dreamed of spending time in space. After becoming a captain with a commercial airline, Gullberg set out to indulge in his boyhood fascination with the stars by crafting his own master’s degree program in astral studies. His story represents the excellent staff of our college and the resources of our university as his self-design program brought together faculty from across campus to work with Gullberg.
Alan Riffel credits his liberal studies education with helping him with the day-to-day issues of running Woodward, a gateway city in western Oklahoma. The college made it possible for him to earn a bachelor’s degree while maintaining his busy schedule.
We also have some news that we share with you in this issue, including the formation of our first-ever board of visitors, comprised with business people and leaders from around the state who will advise and support us in our mission. Plus, we have had some significant donations that will help us help our students with scholarships.
A new feature makes its debut in the fall issue of Vantage Point – the Bookshelf from World Literature Today. This award-winning magazine is published here on this campus and is headed by one of our own faculty members, R.C. Davis-Undiano. I am pleased that we are able to partner with such a fine publication and offer suggested reading for lifelong learners.
For those of you who may be interested in traveling and learning credit, take a look at the feature on last summer’s trip to the quaint German university town, Heidelberg. Check in with us as we are preparing to offer another travel/study program next summer. It is a great time to be a lifelong learner. We look forward to hearing from you.
James P. Pappas, Ph.D.
Vice President for Outreach and Dean, College of Liberal Studies
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.