The prestigious George Nigh Award was presented to two East Central University students Wednesday during a luncheon in ECU Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center. Pictured left to right are: ECU President John R. Hargrave; Regent Connie Reilly of the Regional University System of Oklahoma; Anna Talkington, finalist; Kimberly Condry, finalist; Delaney Lippard, Nigh Award co-winner; Nigh, former governor of Oklahoma; Linzi Thompson, Nigh Award co-winner; Caroline Harris, finalist and Dr. Katricia Pierson, ECU provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Two outstanding East Central University senior students – Delaney Lippard and Linzi Thompson – have been named co-winners of the prestigious George Nigh Award for 2016.

Lippard, of Pauls Valley, and Thompson, of Sulphur, were two of the five finalists selected for the awards which were presented Wednesday at a luncheon in Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

The other three finalists were Kimberly Condry, of Wagoner; Caroline Harris, Ada and Anna Talkington, Pauls Valley.

The award is named in honor of George Nigh, the former governor of Oklahoma and ECU alumnus. Nigh served four terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, four as lieutenant governor and two as governor. He was also president of the University of Central Oklahoma.

Nigh was on hand to present the awards.

The late Julian Rothbaum, a Tulsa oilman, banker and one-time state regent for higher education, established an endowment through the ECU Foundation Inc. to fund the Nigh Award.

Each year top ECU seniors are selected to apply for this award and, after a rigorous application and interview process, the 2016 recipients ascended to the top for many reasons.

Here is biographical information on the two winners and other three finalists:



Lippard is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of arts in history and Native American Studies. She is a member of the Native American Students Association, ECU Campus Activities Board, Student Senate and serves on multiple committees through the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. Lippard is also a member of Phi Alpha Theta Honors Society, Order of Omega Honors Society and Alpha Chi National Honor Society. She volunteers locally through multiple organizations through ECU, the Chickasaw Nation and the Pontotoc County Genealogical Society. Lippard has served as a Chickasaw Language Immersion Facilitator and participated in multiple research projects focused on preserving the Chickasaw Language and Culture. She has been accepted to the University of Oklahoma’s Applied Linguistic Master’s Program.


Thompson is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of science in environmental health science and chemistry with a minor in cartography and math. She is a member of the ECU Student Senate, Rotaract Club, Environmental Health Science Club, American Red Cross, Society for Wildlife and Ecological Biologists and the Asian Student Association. Thompson is also a member of the Honors Student Association and Alpha Chi National Honors Society. She has presented research at multiple conferences as an ECU representative and volunteers locally and globally through the American Red Cross, Rotaract Club and Blue Thumb River Monitoring Project. Thompson plans to continue her education by pursuing her master’s degree in environmental engineering and has been accepted to multiple top-ranking environmental engineering programs. She has chosen to attend Stanford in the fall.


Condry is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of science in biology with a minor in chemistry. She serves as president of the Chemistry Club and is a proud member of the Tri-Beta Biomedical Sciences Club and Alpha Chi National Honor society. Condry is currently in the process of forming a chapter of the Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society at ECU. She has worked as a lab assistant in the microbiology lab for the past year and has assisted with Dr. Charlie Biles with research for two years. Condry has been accepted into the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Oklahoma State University and will begin work toward a medical degree there in the fall.


Harris plans to graduate in May with a bachelor of science in mass communication-mass media. She is a member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society and ECU’s Audio/Video Club. Harris has worked on a show called “The Paper Lantern Lounge” in different roles including director, editor, camera operator and social media manager over the course of five semesters at ECU. She has also served as the assistant social media manager for the Arts District for nearly a year and worked as an intern for filmmaker Will Boggs while creating the “Explore Ada” segment which airs on OETA. Harris plans to pursue her passion for filmmaking in Dallas.


Talkington plans to graduate in May with a bachelor of arts in English (teacher certification). She is a member of the Vision Bank Presidential Leadership Program, Student Oklahoma Educators Association and Student Senate. Talkington is also a member of the Honor Student Association and Alpha Chi National Honor Society. She worked as volunteer through the Presidential Leadership Program for events such as interviews for potential PLP members and Tiger Streak, where she promoted ECU to potential students. Talkington plans to work as a secondary English teacher.



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