Alumni & Friends  
Kristin Chenoweth Returning to Broken Arrow for Performanc & Master Class

Alumna Kristin Chenoweth (BM '91) is returning to Broken Arrow this August to conduct the second annual Kristin Chenoweth Master Class for young singers.

The master class, which will be open to the public, will likely include Chenoweth performing a brief concert, as she did at the inaugural event last year. 

This summer will also be the first season for Kristin Chenoweth's Broadway Boot Camp, a weeklong event for high school performers June 22-26 at the Broken Arrow PAC.

Auditions for the master class and the Broadway Boot Camp will be held Feb. 20-21, with callbacks Feb. 22, at the Broken Arrow PAC, 701 S. Main St. in Broken Arrow.

Those chosen for the master class will take part in a concert-style master class, with Chenoweth assessing each performer's strengths and providing advice to improve their performing abilities.

Participants in the Broadway Boot Camp will learn such skills as audition techniques and stage movement, and will hear from Broadway industry professionals.

Two participants from the Boot Camp will be chosen to attend the Oklahoma City University High School Musical Theatre Camp in July for three weeks with all tuition waived.

Dr. David Herendeen, director of musical theatre at Oklahoma City University, will lead the camp along with a small staff.

“To me, true talent like we experience with Kristin is something that is not taught in school,” Herendeen said. “It has to do with a giving heart. So I can’t help but be excited about our new partnership in Broken Arrow. I’m going to find heart in the heartland for sure.”

The master class and Broadway Boot Camp are some of the projects funded through the partnership between the Broken Arrow PAC and the Kristin Chenoweth Arts and Education Fund.

Applications for the camp and master class are available online at and must be turned in by Feb. 16. For more information, visit the website or call 918-259-5723.

David Scott Named Interim Director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party

On Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s Central Committee voted unanimously to promote alumnus David Scott (BSB 2011) as Interim Executive Director.

Following the vote, Scott responded by thanking the Central Committee.

“It is humbling to be selected as the new Interim Executive Director for the Oklahoma Democratic Party," Scott said. "I am grateful for this opportunity and for everything that I have learned from our leadership team. We are going to continue to move the Party forward through collaboration and build on the successes we had in 2014.”

Scott has served as the Director of Information Technology at the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s headquarters since September 2011. For the past 3 years he has been responsible for maintaining of the comprehensive voter file used by most Democratic candidates in the state.

Scott also assisted with directing campaign field work and volunteer activities for the state party and many Democratic candidates in Oklahoma.

Scott, a native of Ada, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from Oklahoma City University. At just 25 years old, he is one of the youngest Executive Directors for a statewide Democratic Party.

Scott, is also a member of the Choctaw Nation and is possibly the only Native American Executive Director of a State Democratic Party in the nation.

“It has been a pleasure working with Trav Robertson for the past 3 years. We have built an outstanding organization through partnerships across the state with candidates, partner organizations, Party leaders, elected officials, donors, and volunteers. We appreciate everything that Trav has done and will continue to do for Oklahoma Democrats but we look forward to where we will go under David’s enthusiastic leadership,” said Party Chairman Wallace Collins.


Grigsby Named Chief Financial Officer at American Energy Partners

American Energy Partners LP on Monday announced the hiring of alumna Jennifer Grigsby (MBA '99) as chief financial officer for two of its affiliates.

Grigsby, who spent 19 years at Chesapeake Energy, will serve as chief financial officer for American Energy-Woodford LLC and American Energy-Mineral Holdings LLC.

Grigsby most recently was Chesapeake’s senior vice president of corporate and strategic planning. She previously worked for Commander Aircraft Co. and Deloitte and Touche LLP in various accounting and supervisory roles.

American Energy-Woodford has amassed more than 200,000 net acres in what it calls the Central Northern Oklahoma Woodford play. It produced 8,700 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the third quarter, while drilling what company officials believe are the cheapest horizontal wells in the U.S. at $2.6 million each last year.

American Energy-Mineral Holdings has built one of the largest mineral and overriding royalty interest positions in four different shale plays. Much of its acreage is under acreage owned by other American Energy Affiliates, which are active in the Marcellus, Utica, Woodford and Wolfcamp shales.

American Energy Partners was founded in April 2013 by former Chesapeake CEO Aubrey K. McClendon.

Sandra Mitchell Receives United Nations Appointment

Sandra Mitchell (JD '88) was recently appointed Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at the level of Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Currently Vice-President of International Programs of the International Rescue Committee, Ms. Mitchell brings to the position nearly 20 years of experience in international peacekeeping, human rights, humanitarian and electoral field missions, including seven years with the United Nations notably in senior management roles at UNRWA from 2011 to 2013 as Director of Operations, Jordan, and Chief of Staff.  She spent four years as Director of Elections with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Chief Humanitarian Affairs Officer of the United Nation’s Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in 2006.

Ms. Mitchell started her career in the legal field with a commercial firm and subsequently in senior roles with the American Bar Association and International Human Rights Law Group.  She joined the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and held progressively responsible positions from 1996 to 2000.  She alternated between OSCE and the International Rescue Committee in various roles, culminating as Vice-President for Government Relations and Advocacy of the International Rescue Committee from 2002 and 2004, followed by an appointment as Chief of Party on a human rights and legal reform project in Cambodia with East-West Management Institute.

Ms. Mitchell holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Washington State University and a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Lara Russell Appointed Special Judge

 Lara Russell (JD '01) has been appointed Special District Judge for the 12th Judicial District consisting of Rogers, Mayes, and Craig counties.  

“Ms. Russell has served as both a public defender and Assistant District Attorney and that experience should serve her well as she begins her judicial duties,” McBride said.

Judge Steidley added that, “Lara Russell comes highly recommended not only for her experience, but for her ethics, temperament and commitment to the law.”  

Judge Condren said that “Lara Russell is well respected in the Tulsa Juvenile Court System and we are very pleased she will be taking over the Juvenile Deprived docket in Rogers County. Special District Judges serve at the pleasure of the District judges.”  

Russell will assume her duties as Special District judge beginning Feb. 1.

Russell received her B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1998 and her Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City School of Law in May 2001. She is a member of the Texas and Oklahoma Bar Associations.  

Her husband is Clint Russell, an attorney in Claremore, and they have four children.  


Stephania Grober Named Vice President at BCBSOK

OCU business alumna Stephania Grober (MBA '03) was recently named vice president of sales and marketing at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. Grober will work with the executive leadership team to oversee group sales and account management.

She has been with BCBSOK for 17 years, and in that time has served in various sales and account management positions, most recently as senior director of Large Group Sales and Account Management.

Tyrone Van Aswegen First OCU Golfer to Earn PGA Tour Card

Tyrone Van Aswegen became the first former Oklahoma City University golfer to earn his PGA Tour card by virtue of his finish among the Tour's priority rankings.
"Great news for our program," OCU coach Kyle Blaser said. "I am so proud of him. His persistence and hard work have paid off. He's going to be playing with the big boys."
Van Aswegen is set to make his PGA Tour debut in the Open on Oct. 10-13 at CordeValle Golf Course in San Martin, Calif. The Open will be shown on The Golf Channel.
At OCU, Van Aswegen captured the 2002 NAIA individual championship. He became a three-time all-American and led OCU to four national championships from 2000-04.

Peter Markes Named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Peter Markes, BME 2001, was named the 2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year today at an event hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Education at the State Fair of Oklahoma.  He teaches string orchestra and Advanced Placement music theory at Edmond North High School.  “Mr. Markes’ passion for teaching and instilling confidence in his students as well as his ability to interweave the more rigorous Oklahoma academic standards into his classroom work epitomizes what we strive for in every effective teacher,” state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said in a statement.

Pianalto awarded the prestigious University College of Dublin Global Excellence Scholarship

Rachel Pianalto, '13, will be attending the University College of Dublin (Dublin, Ireland) graduate program in international arts policy.   She has been awarded the prestigious University College of Dublin Global Excellence Scholarship.  Rachel served as president of Students of Arts Management during the 2012-2013 academic year, a student organization sponsored by the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management. 

Col. John A. Wilcox Director and CIO of Special Operations

Col. John A. Wilcox, USA (Ret.)(OCU MBA '91) is currently serving as the Director, J6 and Chief Information Officer (CIO), of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.  He retired as an Army Colonel, but is now a member of the Federal Government's Senior Executive Service (SES) as a Brigadier General equivalent.