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Dr. Shelley Ross Hamby, East Central University’s assistant vice president for presidential projects and planning, has been named to The Journal Record’s 2014 Fifty Women Making a Difference.

Hamby will be recognized at the 2014 Journal Record Woman of the Year awards gala on Thursday, Oct. 2 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

The event honors 50 female business and community leaders from across the state.

“It has been truly a humbling experience,” said Hamby, who was nominated for the award by Ann Ackerman, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Leadership Oklahoma.

As part of being selected for one of the 50 slots, Hamby received an invitation to submit personal information and provide two letters of recommendation.

One of her most significant accomplishments is directing the Presidential Leadership Program on the ECU campus, which was reestablished during the 2010-11 academic year. The program began with 15 freshmen that year and has blossomed into an average of 75 students.

“It is important to me for my students to explore various aspects of leadership,” Hamby said. “From governmental leaders to educational leaders, from business leaders to non-profit leaders, my students learn the importance of giving back, how to network and, in the end, how to discover their passion for service.”

Since a majority of the program takes place outside of the normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day, she often has times of long nights and/or weekends. She has driven the students to field trips, including a tour of the University of Oklahoma Cancer Treatment Center with former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, meeting with Harold Hamm and having lunch with him at Continental Resources and exploring the Noble Foundation Research Center in Ardmore. Hamby has also coordinated and sponsored three summer leadership retreats for the students, providing them with an opportunity to explore Oklahoma.

She considers one of her personal highlights, coordinating the Oklahoma movie premiere of Sewing Hope and hosting Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe from Uganda on campus. Since 8,233 miles separate Ada from Gulu, Uganda, Hamby figured it to be about 14,490,080 yards of thread. If 28,980 spools of thread were collected and donated, it would reach Gulu, Uganda. Many spools of thread were donated during the premiere.

“These spools represented an opportunity for the Gulu women to support themselves and their families. Each spool will help create two to three garments for the women to sell,” said Hamby. “My students had a hand in making a difference. To watch the students take ownership of this project and to see them make a difference, not only in our community, but in the world will be a memory I will always treasure.”

Mary Melon, president and publisher of The Journal Record, said women continue to play a huge role in their businesses, organization and communities.

The Journal Record started the Woman of the Year program in 1981 to recognize what was then called a ‘growing segment of the workforce.’ That growth has been phenomenal over the years, though women still have much to accomplish in terms of equity in pay and presence in top corporate positions and in government,” Melon said. “This important program allows us to provide our accomplished honorees with the recognition they deserve and, hopefully, continue to shine the spotlight on the valuable leadership role that women play in our state.”


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