Project Records Alumni Voices Across the State
Story by Anna McDougal, Library Intern
With many miles traveled and numerous counties visited, the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at the Edmon Low Library continues to document alumni voices through Cowboys in Every County in celebration of Oklahoma State University’s 125th Anniversary. While recording these oral history interviews, we have met faithful alumni who have shared memories of everything from campus life to favorite professors and some hijinks in between. With every interview, we are introduced to graduates who have taken different paths yet still feel passion and loyalty for OSU.
In Cherokee County, we found one such alumna in Patsi Ann Smith who graduated from OSU in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Smith was born in Oklahoma City yet spent much of her childhood visiting her agriculturally inclined aunts in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Her aunts played a large role in her life, introducing Smith to her lifetime love for animals and helping her embrace her Cherokee heritage.
When it was time to choose a college, Smith says there was never any doubt in her mind about where she should go. She confidently enrolled at Oklahoma State University, starting out in business education. Smith soon allowed her childhood passions to guide her and switched her focus to animal science. From this decision, she became involved with the Block and Bridle Club and participated in team roping and bull riding. If this wasn’t impressive enough, Smith was one of few women majoring in animal science at the time. She refused to see this as a challenge and embraced the male-dominated field, succeeding both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities.
According to Smith, the ratio of women to men on campus was one to seven when she was in school. She recalls a time when women could only wear dresses or skirts in the library. On the other hand, in the animal science department, Smith was allowed to wear jeans to class — another reason why she claims to have loved her major!
After graduation, Smith worked for Texas Tech University in the animal science department. Later, she returned to Tahlequah in Cherokee County and purchased 400 acres where she still manages cattle and horses.
When asked to give advice to current OSU students, Smith says, “… go make the friends that will last you a lifetime, go study hard, and take all the education they’ll give you.”
Learn more anout Cowboys in Every County on the travel blog at cowboys.library.osktate.edu. O-State Stories is part of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at the Edmon Low Library, chronicling the rich history, heritage and traditions of Oklahoma State University. Interviews are available online. Read or listen to more recollections by visiting www.library.okstate.edu/oralhistory/ostate/. For more information, call 405-744-7685.
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 or call 405-744-5368.
Uploaded on May 1, 2016