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The winner of the Nigh Award that honors East Central University’s top graduating senior will be announced at a luncheon Tuesday [APRIL 19] in ECU’s Stanley Wagner Ballroom.

The three finalists are Phoebe Barron of Ardmore, Angela Marshall of McAlester and Roselynn Simpson of Wetumka. All have perfect 4.0 grade point averages.
The public is invited to the luncheon and officers and members of area civic groups are encouraged to attend. Former Gov. George Nigh will be the guest speaker. Lunch will be served from 11:45 a.m. until 12:20 p.m. Reservations must be made by Friday by calling Dr. Shelley Ross Hamby at 559-5213. The cost is $5 and can be paid at the door. 

Each year approximately 10 graduating seniors with the highest grade point averages are invited to apply for the Nigh Award. Their applications must reflect their involvement in campus organizations, service to the university and community, and interest and potential for public service in the future. A committee of faculty and administrators interviews the students, selects the finalists and names the winner.


Phoebe Barron

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Phoebe Barron will graduate with a degree in communication studies and a minor in human services counseling. She plans to attend Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary next fall and pursue a master of arts degree in counseling. She plans to become a licensed professional counselor in Oklahoma and work with women facing unplanned pregnancies and married couples.


She is a member of the ECU Honors Program and was a member of Collage, ECU’s dance ensemble, from 2007 to 2010. She received the outstanding dancer award in 2010. She also was editor of the Pesagi yearbook in 2008 and 2009 and was a dance instructor for the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy in 2009 and 2010.

Barron has been a ministry intern for Individually Designed Ministries since 2008, teaching girls 12-18 across the state on self esteem, living with integrity and relations. She also is a collegiate ministry intern for Trinity Baptist Church in Ada and coordinates the volunteer team, teaches a Bible study group, mentors students and participates in other projects. She also was a youth ministry intern at the First Baptist Church in Ardmore.

Angela Marshall

Angela Marshall

Angela Marshall will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance. She plans to pursue a master’s degree either in film scoring at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom or in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. She hopes to publish her thesis, a three-semester independent study project that resulted in a collection of pieces and educational activity pages for beginning piano students, and eventually open a piano studio, produce films that blend art and education and continue other artistic endeavors.

At ECU she has used artistic mediums to express academic ideas. She collaborated with two honors students to create a film about the life cycle of stars which has been incorporated into the astronomy curriculum. Her “Notes from the Past” film won the ECU Centennial Interpretations Showcase and was presented at the Alpha Chi Super-Regional Convention in Little Rock, Ark.

She has held leadership positions in the Honors Student Association, Alpha Chi, Alpha Lambda Delta and her church. She has performed in ECU Composers Concerts and other concerts at the university and used the music and theater experience she gained at ECU to help with the McAlester Community Theatre’s children’s production and other volunteer activities.

Roselynn Simpson

Roselynn Simpson

Roselynn Simpson will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology, with honors, and minors in mathematics and chemistry. She hopes to graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and practice as a primary care physician in rural Oklahoma, a decision she made after observing both medical and social problems arising from the shortage in her area of health care professionals while growing up.

She earned credit for 10 hours of calculus and four hours of physics from the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Shawnee Regional Center the same year she graduated from Butner High School. She just completed a year-long research internship at the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Laboratory in Ada and summer internship in 2009 at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

Simpson is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, president of the Dead Rat Society (field biology club) and a member of Alpha Chi national honor society, Tri-Beta biology honor society and the ECU Honors Program. She won second place in the Regional and Community College Division at Oklahoma Research Day at the state Capitol in 2010.

The Nigh Award is based on academic achievement, character and potential contribution to public service. The award is funded by an endowment established through the ECU Foundation Inc. by the late Julian Rothbaum. Rothbaum was a Tulsa oil man, banker and one-time state regent for higher education.

Nigh was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives when he was a senior at ECU and served four terms. He also served four terms as lieutenant governor and two terms as governor. He was the first Oklahoma governor ever re-elected to a second term and remains the only governor ever to carry all 77 counties. He is a former president of the University of Central Oklahoma.

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