Annual OCCC Alumni Hall of Fame Banquet, Nov. 14

Six honorees will be inducted to the OCCC Alumni Hall of Fame

    (Published: 11-14-17)

2017 OCCC Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees: Cathy Hedglen, Bruce Farris, Rocky Chavez, Terri Walker, Akash Patel and Pete White.

Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) will add five distinguished college alumni and one honorary recipient to its growing list of Alumni Hall of Fame inductees. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.,on the OCCC campus in the Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater.

The 2017 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees are Cathy Hedglen, Bruce Farris, Rocky Chavez, Terri Walker, Akash Patel and Pete White. The honorees have career backgrounds in government, higher education, business, law, nursing and global education.

Cathy Hedglen is currently a technical manager for Computer System Designers (CSD), contracting with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and responsible for personnel hiring, strategic direction and coordination of contract services. She acts as the central point of contact with the federal government for CSD. She supervises over one hundred employees who work in RADAR, navigational aids, communication, automation and weather. Hedglen was employed with the FAA from 1972 until her retirement from the agency in 2004, working as an electronics technician, instructor, systems engineer, operations manager and supervisor. She was the first female electronics technician ever hired by the FAA. Hedglen has over 45 years of professional experience in providing engineering activity management, supervision and technical support for National Airspace Systems throughout North America, the Caribbean Islands, Greenland, the Pacific Islands, South Korea and Japan.

Hedglen was a founder, secretary and president of the Technical Women’s Organization for female technicians and engineers. In addition to her associate degree in mathematics from OCCC, she holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Oklahoma City University (OCU) and an MBA in Management, also from OCU. She has previously served as an adjunct instructor for OCCC.

Bruce Farris graduated from the paramedic program at OCCC in 1979 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in business from Oklahoma State University (OSU). He then went on to teach in the emergency medical program at OCCC in the fall of 1979 and was there until his retirement in 2010. During his 31 years as a teacher, he led many classes, his favorites being Cardiology & Pharmacology and ECG Interpretation. Farris worked as a paramedic for both Norman EMS and IMPACT EMS in Shawnee and received two lifetime achievement awards for that service. He holds certifications as emergency medical technician, basic life support instructor, advanced cardiac life support instructor, emergency medical technology instructor, and emergency vehicle operations instructor.

Before suffering a stroke in 2013, Farris enjoyed running. He ran numerous triathlons and marathons including the Boston Marathon. He has had a longtime love of engineering and architectural projects, including the completed construction of his family’s lake house at Grand Lake. Farris has been married to his wife, Amy, for 28 years and has three children and two grandchildren.

Rocky Chavez is currently a business development-sales representative for Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG), a position he recently took after three years as a commercial business development representative with Blueknight Energy Partners. Chavez founded the Brickshaw Buggy pedicab company in downtown Oklahoma City and served as its president for six years, increasing revenue year after year and expanding the company to additional markets. He sold the company in 2012. Chavez is also teacher of English as a Second Language classes at OCCC.

Chavez has served on multiple boards of directors across the city including for Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, Midtown District and the Latino Community Development Agency. He has been named a Journal Record Achiever Under-40 and has won numerous academic scholarships and competitions for business and entrepreneurship. Chavez holds an MBA from the University of Oklahoma (OU), a bachelor’s degree in business from OCU, and an associate of arts degree from OCCC.

Terri Walker, RN, is the nursing education consultant for the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, in which capacity she has worked since 2016. Prior to joining the state board, she served as acting nursing director, assistant nursing director and associate nursing director, in addition to her work as a fulltime faculty member for the OCCC nursing program. Walker is credited for being instrumental in the development and growth of the program. Prior to working at OCCC, she was with Hillcrest Health Center for 21 years, serving as staff nurse, charge nurse, night supervisor and more across multiple departments including medical/surgical and labor and delivery. Walker also worked at the Surgical Hospital of Oklahoma as quality management director, education coordinator and risk manager, and at Integris Southwest Medical Center as clinical educator – perioperative services.

Walker earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 2002 and her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2004. She is a 1993 graduate of the OCCC’s nursing program. She has been an active community volunteer, serving as medical support staff for missions at home and abroad.

Akash Patel is the founder and executive director of the World Experiences Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to impart anti-bias, multicultural and multilingual education in classrooms worldwide. He has trained over five-thousand educators in global education and brought anti-bias learning experiences to over one hundred schools in Oklahoma and abroad. Patel is a renowned public speaker and education consultant. He teaches multiple subjects at the elementary, high school and college levels. He speaks six languages and has traveled to over 30 countries.

Patel is a recipient of several state and national awards for his efforts promoting global citizenship in schools and communities in Oklahoma and abroad. He has been named as a Journal Record Under-40 Achiever and also honored by the Oklahoma Gazette as a member of its Forty-Under-40 class. Patel earned his associate degree in liberal studies from OCCC, his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) and a master’s degree in adult & higher education - student personnel administration from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO).

Pete White served a total of 19 years on the Oklahoma City Council, representing the citizens of Ward 4. He was first elected to fill a vacancy in 1982, then won a full term in 1985. He stepped down in 1989 to serve as chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. In January 2005, White was chosen by the Council to fill the remainder of an unexpired term, then was re-elected for three more terms. He retired earlier this year.

White was chairman of the Water Utilities Trust, where he worked on plans for meeting Oklahoma City's water needs for decades into the future, and is a past-chairman of the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. White has served on the board of directors for OKC Metro Alliance, the board of directors of Catalyst Behavioral Services, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation Committee for Parks Public Initiative, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Mental Health Task Force, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Bond Advisory Board, and was vice-chair of the Greater Oklahoma City Parks and Trails Foundation. He is also a member of the Metropolitan Library Commission. The South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen-of-the-Year in 2015.

A veteran who served two active tours of duty with the U.S. Army, White earned a bachelor’s degree from the UCO in 1963 and graduated from OCU law school in 1972. A south-sider for virtually his entire life, White graduated from Southeast High School in 1956.

The Alumni Hall of Fame is a prestigious annual award that recognizes a select group of former students, showcasing their career and civic accomplishments over the years. Hear their stories at the 2017 banquet held in the Sarkeys Foundation Atrium inside the Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater on the campus of OCCC, 7777 South May Avenue. For more information, please call the OCCC Office of Alumni Relations at 405-682-1611, ext. 7478.

OCCC enrolls more than 20,000 students and has more than 90,000 participants in its various community programs annually. OCCC offers a full range of associate degree programs that prepare students to transfer to baccalaureate institutions while other degree and certificate programs prepare students for immediate employment. At OCCC, students receive a quality education with small class sizes, dedicated professors and leadership opportunities. Students can choose from more than 80 major fields of study and participate in any of the 40+ clubs and organizations. For more information about OCCC, visit www.occc.edu.