Each year, the departments of Oklahoma Christian University select an alumnus to represent and honor during the homecoming season through the Distinguished Alumni Award.
The heads of the computer science and music department spoke with the Talon about their respective alumni.
David North, program chair for computer science, spoke about the computer science department’s notable alumni, Dr. James Ross Prather, who is now an associate professor at Abilene Christian University.
North explained why the computer science department selected Dr. Prather as their distinguished alumnus.
“We are proud James is one of our alumni. His breakthrough and accomplishments make us all proud,” North said. “He has had great success in his career; he earned a Ph.D. in computer science and has been teaching computer science at Abilene Christian. Professionally, he has had success as a UI and UIX expert and has published papers in that area. We think this qualifies him to be recognized as an outstanding alumnus.”
Dr. Heath Jones, program chair for music, spoke on behalf of the music department as to why they selected Celeste Dvorak as their notable alumnus.
“Dvorak is fantastic and organized. She is a good Christian example and role model for her colleagues, students and peers,” Jones said. “She was a student here and graduated with a Bachelor’s in music education.”
Jones said Dvorak’s music education helped Oklahoma Christian even after she graduated.
“[Dvorak] earned her masters in vocal music performance at Oklahoma City University. She returned to Oklahoma Christian and taught in the music department as an adjunct professor and later as an administrative assistant for the music department,” Jones said. “She also directed many of the operas we produced. She is a great vocalist and works well with students and colleagues. Such a great talent and a joy to be around.”
From the nursing department, 2nd Lieutenant Kyle Walker was selected as the notable distinguished alumnus. He received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Oklahoma Christian in 2020.
Walker is a registered nurse currently employed in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. In addition to working as an ISAF Flying Nurse, Kyler graduated from flight school earlier this year with the United States Air National Guard.
Walker resides in Edmond with his wife, Shelby, and their two kids, Myles, age 3, and Zola, age 2.
Walker’s next career objective is to earn a Master of Science in Nursing and work towards becoming a nurse practitioner. He hopes to create a pediatric clinic to assist the Oklahoma City community.
The program chairs believe the goal of selecting these honorees is to recognize those who have accomplished great work after graduation and inspire current students to pursue greatness.
North explained why it is essential for the community at Oklahoma Christian to give honor where honor is due.
“To the people who have had great accomplishments in their careers and communities, we want to show them we appreciate and recognize their hard work towards success,” North said. “This way, they become good examples to our students [by] showing them the prize that comes with hard work.”
Jones explained how honoring alumni is great motivation for current students.
“We strive to educate people here who can go out and make a living in different disciplines. It is building a legacy. It is also faith-based. Students leave Oklahoma Christian not only representing the school, but also Christianity,” Jones said. “When we honor such people, we have them shine a light on the rest of the students as an example that they can also be like them.”