Derrick Michael Tennant
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 • 7:00 p.m.
Fine Arts Building
Derrick Michael Tennant made the most of a tragedy in his life by creating an opportunity for a career. As a promising athlete, Derrick suffered an injury that left him in a coma. After brain surgery, years of rehab and life in a wheelchair, he ultimately regained use of his feet again. Despite the very limited use of his left side, Derrick loves life and “looks on the RIGHT side” of things. He communicates the importance of shifting obstacles in life, work or business into opportunities. He worked hard to overcome physical challenges and now works just as hard to help others overcome trials through his comedy, magic and inspirational speaking. Derrick formed BLEEPFREE Comedy which books respectably clean shows in clubs across the country. He also landed a role in Jeff Foxworthy’s movie “Crackerjack.” He plays a one armed softball player named Lefty.
Jet and Cord McCoy
CBS “The Amazing Race”
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 • 7 p.m.
Fine Arts Building
Before the McCoy Brothers were 2nd Place winners on the 16th season of The Amazing Race, these two men were Oklahoma cowboys. They quickly became a favorite team on The Amazing Race for their sweet natured Oklahoma personalities. Between the ages of five and eight, both Cord & Jet had won their first junior rodeo competitions. These rodeo buffs have been tough from the start and are saddling up to be seen in the 18th season of The Amazing Race. These two bull-riding brothers know the value of teamwork and the dedication it takes to go after big dreams. It’s even been said that Jet & Cord may be better riders than some other rodeo legends. Though they may not brag for themselves, their achievements and titles speak for themselves.
John Bennett Herrington, Ph.D
Commander, USN (Ret) / NASA Astronaut
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 • 6:30 p.m.
Calcagno Family Ballroom
NASA astronaut and Navy Commander, John Herrington was born in Wetumka, Oklahoma. A member of the Chickasaw tribe, John and his family moved around a great deal when he was a child. By the time he was a senior in high school, John had moved fourteen times. After an unsuccessful attempt at college, he worked on a survey team in the mountains of Colorado. There he found that he had an aptitude for math and for solving real-life problems. He returned to college at the University of Colorado and received his degree in applied math in 1983. Having always wanted to be a pilot, Herrington joined the Navy and received his commission from Aviation Officer Candidate School in March of 1984 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1985. He has logged over 3,300 flight hours in over 30 different types of aircraft. In 1995 Herrington received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. NASA selected Herrington in 1996 as an astronaut and he reported to the Johnson Space Center in August of that year. He has served as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team responsible for Shuttle launch preparations and post-landing operations. Herrington was a member of the sixteenth Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station (November 23-December 7, 2002). He was the first Native American to walk in space. Herrington honored his Native American heritage during that walk by carrying six eagle feathers, a braid of sweet grass, two arrowheads and the Chickasaw nation’s flag.
Temple Grandin, Ph.D
World-famous Animal Scientist & Autism Self-Advocate
Thursday, April 20, 2017 • 6:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Building
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is one of the most accomplished and well-known adults with autism in the world. Her life, with all its challenges and successes, was brought to the screen with the HBO full-length film Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. Dr. Grandin has been featured on NPR, and she has a 2010 TED Lecture titled “The World Needs ALL Kinds of Minds.” She has also been featured on the BBC special “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow”, ABC’s “Primetime Live”, “The Today Show” and more. Grandin developed her talents into a successful career as a livestock-handling equipment designer, one of very few in the world. She also speaks on both autism and cattle handling. Dr. Grandin’s current bestselling book on autism is The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s. She also authored Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships; Animals Make Us Human; Animals in Translation; Thinking in Pictures; and Emergence: Labeled Autistic. Grandin is considered a philosophical leader of both the animal welfare and autism advocacy movements.