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A retired East Central University professor, the 2011 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year and an early-day ECU graduate will be inducted into ECU’s Gene and Evelyn Keefer Educators Hall of Fame at 2:30 p.m. April 13 [WEDNESDAY]. The ceremony will be open to the public in the Danley Hall atrium.

The inductees are Dr. Jack W. Paschall, Elizabeth Smith and the late Stella Robinson. Their photographs will be displayed in the Hall of Fame in the Education Building along with those of past inductees.

The Educators Hall of Fame is sponsored by Janice Diamond and Paul Keefer, the children of Gene and Evelyn Keefer, to recognize ECU-prepared educators at any level who have made a significant contribution to the field of education.

The Hall of Fame is dedicated to the Keefers and other parents like them who could not afford to go to college but who made it a priority that their children have that opportunity.

Dr. Jack W. Paschall

Dr. Jack Paschall also was inducted into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame in 2009. His career spans 44 years, with all but five of those years at ECU.

Photo of Dr. Jack W. Paschall
 Dr. Jack W. Paschall

He began teaching at ECU in 1970 and retired as an Adolph Linscheid Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Education Department in 2009. He continues to teach some online education classes at ECU. He worked with the state’s Resident Teacher Program for first-year teachers since its beginnings in the early 1980s, visiting schools to observe new teachers at least twice during the first semester and once during the spring semester. New teachers must participate in order to qualify for an Oklahoma teaching certificate.

He taught at the Ardmore Higher Education Center the first semester ECU offered classes there. He also was dean of ECU’s School of Graduate Studies from 1990 to 2000.

As the faculty member with the longest continuous service to ECU, Paschall held the honor of carrying ECU’s mace, a symbol of authority, from 2000 to 2010 while leading the president and platform party in commencement ceremony processions.

Paschall taught 8th grade American history at Lovington, N.M., from 1965 to 1967 and was a special instructor at OU from 1967 to 1970.

He earned his doctorate in secondary education and instructional technology at the University of Oklahoma and both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in secondary history and education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant.


Elizabeth Smith 

Photo of Elizabeth Smith
 Elizabeth Smith

Elizabeth Smith was named the 2011 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year last fall and became an ambassador of education, traveling around the state to make presentations and visit numerous schools.

Although the position is a full-time job, she tries to return as often as possible to Byng Junior High School where she teaches reading and is the girls’ assistant basketball coach. She has taught at Byng for nine years and previously taught at Vanoss.

Smith also is a National Board Certified Teacher. She was the speaker last fall in the Marvin Stokes Endowed Lectureship at ECU. She is the only state teacher of the year who was hired by Stokes, the late long-time superintendent at Byng.

Smith earned both her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master of education degree from ECU. She played basketball for ECU women’s coach Kent Franz during her senior year.



Stella Robinson (1896 - 1994)

Photo of Stella Robinson (1896 - 1994)
 Stella Robinson (1896 - 1994)

In 1915 Stella Robinson moved from Alohso to Ada to attend East Central State Normal School to become a teacher. She worked hard to secure an education, which she viewed as the answer to a better life. At the age of 19, she earned her teaching certificate and began teaching the 3rd grade at Homer.

Before earning her bachelor’s degree, she taught grades 1-4 and 5-8 at a several schools in the area and soon became a principal.

In 1926, Robinson returned to East Central State College to earn her bachelor of science degree with a life certificate to teach English and home economics. Thirty years later she returned to ECU again to begin her master’s degree which she completed in 1958.

Robinson retired in 1965 but never forgot the names and faces of ambitious students who worked under her tutelage. She died in 1994.

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