By GALEN HAWES
ADA – One of the catchphrases often used by East Central University alumni is “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.” And for one graduate, that runs even deeper – once a member of the ECU Russian Club, always a member of the ECU Russian Club.
Wyatt Jones of Holdenville – a soldier now stationed at Fort Hood, Texas – went out of his way recently to return to Ada so he could visit his professors and to buy Russian chocolates from his former club. He also donated $100 to the Russian Club through the ECU Foundation.
“Wyatt told me he wanted to give back to the University’s Study Abroad program so that other students could have the same opportunities he had,” said Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, Foreign Languages professor and director of Global Education at ECU.
The chocolate sale is the Russian Club’s traditional fundraiser, with proceeds being equally divided among club members to help with travel and cultural activities expenses.
Jones earned a Cartography degree from ECU in 2017, but minored in Russian. He made two academic trips to Russia through the Study Abroad program, the first in 2015 and again the following year. The program provided him with valuable cultural experience as subsequent military trips to Poland and Bulgaria were made easier because of his previous travels to that part of the world.
“ECU is a leader in Global Education and it says a lot when Wyatt and other former students make it a point to give back to the University so that future students who have the desire will get the chance to further their educations abroad as well,” Sukholutskaya said.
Photo cutline: Wyatt Jones, second from right, made it a point to visit the ECU campus recently to support the Russian Club, of which he was a member. Pictured, from left, during a 2015 Study Abroad trip to Moscow are ECU graduates Kendrick Davis, Trevor Spradling, Kelsea Rabe, Jones and Cohen McKinzie.