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Distinguished Alumni Awards
By Holly Bergbower
The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes former students who attain distinctive success in their chosen field or profession and perform outstanding service for their community. The 2016 Distinguished Alumni honorees were recognized at a reception the evening of September 16 at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and on the field during halftime of the University of Pittsburg and OSU football game on September 17. Meet the newest inductees to join the elite group of Distinguished Alumni Award recipients:
Myles Deering always dreamed of going to OSU, but his route to Stillwater was a unique one. Deering grew up in Ada where he attended East Central University and met his wife, Pam. Deering was drafted and, instead of waiting for his number to come up, enlisted in the United States Army Reserve. Three years later, Deering entered the officer candidate program and was commissioned as an infantry second lieutenant in the 36th Airborne Brigade.
Deering’s professional life includes serving as a store manager for Tandy and working two years as an oil and gas landman. In 1984, he returned to the National Guard on a full-time basis. During his time in the military, Deering served as director of plans, the chief of staff for the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard joint headquarters and commanded the 45th Infantry Brigade. While working full time, he received his master’s degree in natural and applied sciences from OSU in 1996.
In 2005, Deering was deployed to New Orleans as commander of the Oklahoma National Guard’s Joint Task Force to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. For his work in Louisiana, Deering received numerous awards. His next large undertaking was Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007, where he commanded the 45th Infantry Brigade. In 2008, Deering was promoted to major general.
Deering was appointed as the adjutant general for the Oklahoma National Guard in February 2009 by Governor Brad Henry and was reappointed by Governor Mary Fallin in January 2011. He retired as a major general from the military on January 31, 2015. Governor Fallin then appointed him the secretary of Veterans Affairs for the state of Oklahoma. Deering also serves as the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I want to take care of veterans right out of the military by offering easier ways to obtain degrees or skills and creating efficiencies within the program,” Deering says.
He and Pam live in Oklahoma City. They have one son, Daniel. Deering is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
“This award is something I will carry with me forever; it’s an extension of me,” Deering says.
Joe Eastin, president and CEO of ISN, is a 1992 graduate of OSU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. ISN is a platform business that manages performance, safety and compliance data for oil and gas organizations. It has grown from three employees in 2001 to more than 500 employees worldwide.
Eastin cites his time at OSU with preparing him for his future endeavors.
“OSU helped me navigate life,” Eastin says. “Sometimes with kindness and sometimes with discipline, but most of all with a presence of family.”
Since graduating, OSU has continued to be an integral part of Eastin’s life. He serves on the board for the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, the OSU Foundation Board of Governors and the advisory board of OSU Eastin/ISN Center for Talent Development. Eastin was also recognized by the Spears School of Business with its 100 For 100 Tribute.
The Distinguished Alumni Award will leave a lasting impression on him.
“This award means that the university appreciates alumni involvement,” Eastin says. “It makes me want to be a better steward of Oklahoma State University.”
Eastin and his wife, Monica, live in Dallas with their four children: Nick, Alexandra, Kate and Arie. He is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
Helen Hodges grew up on a farm outside Hennessey, Oklahoma. Both her parents were Oklahoma A&M graduates, and when Helen headed off to college, it was her pragmatic father who encouraged her to major in accounting rather than political science.
“Every job I’ve ever gotten has been because of my OSU accounting degree,” Hodges says.
Hodges learned to fly as a student and graduated from OSU in 1979. She was a member of the Flying Aggies and competed in national competitions. She earned a law degree in 1983 at the University of Oklahoma, where she was the managing editor of the Law Review. After graduation from law school, there were few law jobs to be had so she took a job as a staff accountant with Arthur Andersen. She credits her time there as invaluable training for her future.
Hodges went on to serve as the law clerk for the Penn Square bank cases. Beginning in 2001, she helped prosecute the securities fraud case on behalf of Enron investors, which received a record recovery of $7.2 billion. Once again, she says her accounting degree played a large part in understanding the intricacies of the case.
Hodges lives in San Diego and has received the Top Lawyer in San Diego and Super Lawyer honors. She has served on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees since 2013. Hodges says she is humbled to be recognized and is proud to be in good company. She is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
Susan and AJ Jacques are opposites in many ways. Susan is energetic, talkative and engaging. AJ likes to sit back, take in his surroundings and ponder what’s being said. Together, they make the perfect team.
The Jacques both graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1975 – Susan with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and AJ in agricultural economics. They were active on campus and in their Greek houses.
“AJ asked me to marry him on the Pi Phi front porch,” Susan says. “And that is my favorite memory from my time at OSU.”
The couple went on to great successes in their professional lives as well. AJ was the president of Atlas Drilling while Susan worked as a middle school teacher. Susan was inducted into the OSU College of Education Hall of Fame in 2014 and serves as the events chairman for Women for OSU. AJ serves on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees and the alumni board of Alpha Gamma Rho. Together, they have endowed four scholarships at OSU.
In 2016, AJ and Susan moved back to Stillwater after living in Fort Worth, Texas; Woodward, Oklahoma; and Kansas.
“We love this place,” AJ says. “It felt like we were coming home.” AJ and Susan are lifetime members of the OSU Alumni Association.
Greg Massey never intended to attend OSU. Growing up a University of Oklahoma fan, he always thought he’d attend the “university to the south,” as he puts it. A chance visit to Oklahoma State accompanying a friend on his football recruitment trip was all it took to change his mind.
“Where I decided to attend college was my choice. I think my parents were just glad I was choosing to go to college,” Massey says. “Throughout high school, I had a very successful pool business that caused me to question if college was the right path.”
While in college, Massey greatly enjoyed his time spent on campus as well as the opportunity to begin his banking career at Stillwater National Bank. He attended mostly business classes and will never forget the bonds and memories created with his fraternity brothers.
Massey graduated in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He is the chief operations officer of First United Bank in Durant, Oklahoma, which operates in more than 60 locations in Oklahoma and Texas. In 2014, Massey was recognized by the Spears School of Business as one of the 100 for 100 Tribute, and in 2008, Ernst & Young named him Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region Financial Services Division. He has also served on the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and on the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents.
Massey lives in Durant with his wife, Kay, and has three children: Blake, Brooke and Corbin. He believes OSU was a stepping stone in life to help him lead his organization with the motto “Spend Life Wisely,” impacting and changing lives of employees, customers and communities.
More stories like this are available for members of the OSU Alumni Association. STATE magazine is a benefit of membership in the OSU Alumni Association. To join or update your membership go to orangeconnection.org/join o
Uploaded on December 1, 2016