May 19, 2023
The Panhandle State Association of Alumni and Friends has long been an avenue for Oklahoma Panhandle State University Alumni to stay connected with their alma mater. Throughout its history, the Alumni Association has recognized outstanding alumni through the Alumni Hall of Fame and the annual Honored Family recognition at Homecoming each year. It has been the primary office for engaging alumni with the University.
In 2017, OPSU President, Dr. Tim Faltyn, asked newly elected Panhandle State Alumni and Friends President Diane Murphy and OPSU Vice President of Outreach, Dr. Ryan Blanton, to reimagine what the Alumni Association could do to engage students, alumni, and the community. With a focus on engagement and advocacy for the University, Murphey and Blanton went to work on building new pathways for OPSU alumni to reconnect, and more importantly, be actively engaged in the mission of Panhandle State.
Among the first tasks were hiring a full-time Director of Alumni Relations, developing a new alumni database, recruiting new Alumni Association Board members, restructuring membership, and engaging with current OPSU students. Working together, the Alumni Association and OPSU leadership developed several new fundraising campaigns focused on specific college, activity, and University-wide projects.
Since 2017, the Panhandle State Alumni Association has been instrumental in assisting the university raise over $2.5 million in external funds dedicated to scholarships, campus beautification, and activity-specific projects. One of the most highlighted projects was the restoration of the Sower Statue through the Century Club campaign in 2020, as well as the Hughes-Strong Renovation in 2021, and the current 2022 project to modernize the England Center.
“The focused partnership with the Alumni Association has been a game-changer for the University,” said OPSU Interim President, Dr. Ryan Blanton. “Diane has been a driving force in modernizing the engagement and fundraising efforts of the Alumni Association, and I am thankful to have worked alongside her these past five years.”
Murphey has helped to bring a more diverse and engaged Board of Directors members to the Association to advocate for the University. Along with these changes, Diane has been vital in annual Giving Challenges, and Century Club fundraisers.
Murphey stated, “Panhandle State Association of Alumni & Friends has been revitalized by participation and activities the past 5 years! We appreciate the increased sense of pride among our members, as well as the energy and leadership of the University as we help reconnect alumni and friends to each other and to Panhandle State.”
Director of Alumni Relations Chyanna Black, stated, “The Alumni Association is as healthy financially as it has ever been through Diane’s leadership. She has poured her heart into building up the Association to be something everyone can be proud of, and with her guidance, we will continue to grow!”
Black has also been very active as the Director of Alumni Relations, developing the Alumni on the Move recognition program, and is a central leader in the OPSU Athletics capital campaign to modernize and update the Aggie Baseball/Softball complex. Black, an OPSU Rodeo alumnae, has been instrumental in the growth of the Association and ensuring the success of campaigns and projects.
Alumni Association Vice President Meagan Greeson commented, “The amount of growth and success the University has shown over the past 5 years has been incredible to see. A growing and successful University leads to increased alumni involvement, and this has definitely shown true at Panhandle State. I couldn’t be more proud to be an Aggie and being able to witness the amazing things this University and alumni have shown and continue to show.”
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