ADA — The recipients of East Central University's Distinguished Awards for 2013 will be honored at 6:30 p.m. May 10, during the ECU Foundation's Honors and Recognition Banquet.

Those planning to attend must make reservations by Tuesday by contacting the ECU Foundation at (580) 559-5535 or (580) 559-5253.

Distinguished Alumnus R. Alan Marcum has served as executive vice president of administration at Devon Energy since 2008. He is responsible for office administration, information technology, project management and records management.

Distinguished Alumnus Joe Steven Stokes (posthumous) was a longtime advocate for the state's disabled before his death at the age of 62 on Jan. 10, 2013. He was director of the state Office of Disability Concerns and was appointed to that position in 1989 by then-Gov. Henry Bellmon.

The Distinguished Family Award goes to the Ramadan family, which has been instrumental in various capacities in encouraging and influencing students, who are interested in research and the medical profession.

The first Dr. Raniyah Ramadan Symposium was held this past January to honor the legacy of their daughter. A scholarship was also established in Raniyah's name for an ECU student interested in the research and medical field.

The Ramadan Family has also provided a $250,000 gift to go toward a state-of-the-art research facility and program for undergraduate students.

Dr. Tawfik Ramadan provides campus health services for ECU students. Siham and three of their daughters are ECU graduates.

The Distinguished Former Faculty Award (posthumous) will go to Dr. Elizabeth Schmelling, who came to ECU in 1975 as the lead instructor for the Nursing Department's courses in community health and mental health nursing. She rose through the ranks to become a full professor, and in 1983, was appointed Chair of ECU's Department of Nursing.

Her work and leadership, along with that of several other ECU nursing faculty and administrators, led to the creation of ECU Nursing Program in Durant and Ardmore. After retiring from ECU in 2002, she died in 2003.

Another Distinguished Former Faculty Award will be presented to Margaret 'Peggy' Nims, who began teaching at ECU in 1963.

During her 27-year tenure in the English Department, she became a charter member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society and later co-sponsored it with Dr. John Densford. She was one of the first four faculty members to receive a Teaching Excellence Award.

Nims was president of the Oklahoma Council on the Hearing Impaired and taught composition to hearing-impaired students. She taught in the Upward Bound Program for three summers. She also served as president of the ECU Alumni Association.

Nims graduated from Ardmore High School as valedictorian in 1942 and married her high school sweetheart, Fred W. 'Bill' Nims, Jr. She received a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Education in English from ECU in 1963 and her master of teaching degree in 1964. She did post-graduate work at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahoma. After she retired in 1993, she devoted her time to family.

The Distinguished Service Award will go to Monica Neal, who has served as senior vice president for Corporate Services for People's Electric Cooperative since 2006. Prior to that, she was vice president for Corporate Services and director of public relations.

The Distinguished Philanthropist Award will be presented to the Chickasaw Nation with Gov. Bill Anoatubby is accepting on its behalf.

The Chickasaw Nation has been a vital partner with ECU, particularly with the current construction of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center and sponsorship of the new football turf at Norris Field.

Also being honored that evening will be the following Centennial Endowments: Gary and Linda Ainsworth Russian Travel Endowment, Millsap Endowment for Health Professions, Ruth Walker Landrum Sculpture Endowment, Judy Crabtree Memorial Psychology Endowment, Virgil Taylor Vocational Rehabilitation Memorial Endowment, Ross Share Endowment, Citizens Bank Business Endowment, Dr. Gerald Williamson Endowment, Once a Tiger Always a Tiger Endowment, Linda Murray Flute Endowment and Dr. James Harris Endowment.