2013 Distinguished Alumni Honorees

The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association is pleased to recognize the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients at a public reception Saturday, Sept. 14, at 4:30 p.m. at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and at the OSU football game against Lamar. The award is presented to alumni for professional achievement and community service.

DR. DIGAMBER S. BORGAONKAR of Wilmington, Del., graduated from Oklahoma State University with a doctorate degree in genetics and botany in 1963. He is a retired cytogeneticist and educator from the Christiana Care Health System, formerly known as Delaware Medical Center, and is presently working in the Laboratory of Neurogenetic, National Institute of Aging, National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

Borgaonkar came to the United States from Hyderabad, India in 1959. Before he arrived in the states, Borgaonkar graduated from Osmania University with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1953. He was awarded the Hyderabad State Scholarship to specialize in cytogenetics and served as a research assistant in the agricultural department at Hyderabad and Parbhani and lectured at the College of Agriculture in Parbhani. While at OSU, Borgaonkar was a member of the Sigma XI honor society and president of the OSU India Student Club.

Borgaonkar has held numerous teaching and research positions during his career including assistant professor of biology at the University of North Dakota, former associate professor of medicine and head of the chromosome laboratory at Johns Hopkins University and director of research in the genetics center, professor of biological sciences and research scientist at North Texas State University. He has also served as an adjunct professor of life and health sciences at the University of Delaware and research professor of pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University.

Borgaonkar is an author or co-author of more than 300 publications including Chromosomal Variation in Man ebook version Bookshelf.NCBI.NLM.NIH.Gov. He is an organizer of numerous conferences and symposia, and has lectured in several countries in Europe, Asia and North and South America. Borgaonkar is a member of the Indo-American Association of Delaware and the Delaware March of Dimes Chapter. He is a member of the OSU Alumni Association.

Borgaonkar and his wife, Manda, have two children, Raj and Sonya, and five grandchildren.

C.W. "RUSS" HARRISON JR. of Oklahoma City, Okla. graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1979. He serves as the CEO of Harrison Gypsum LLC and is responsible for the five operating divisions of the company. Harrison Gypsum operates four gypsum mines in Oklahoma and Texas, an aggregate mine in Texas, and a food and pharmaceutical grade gypsum grinding facility and a plaster plant, both in Oklahoma.

While at OSU, he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. After graduating from OSU, Harrison returned to his family-owned company. Under his leadership, the company has grown twenty times larger.

Harrison is currently an advisory board member of the American Cancer Society as well as a member of the Economics Club and OKC Rotary Club 29. He serves on the executive committee for Leadership Oklahoma, the board of trustees and investment committee for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City and the advisory board of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable. Harrison is a former treasurer for Creative Oklahoma and served on the Feed the Children board, advisory board for the Academy for State Goals and the corporate committee for the Lab School of Washington. Harrison is an eagle scout and was a pack leader for Cub Scouts.

Harrison serves on the OSU Alumni Association Leadership Council and is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association and a member of POSSE.

Harrison is married to Natalie Shirley, an OSU graduate of 1979. They have six children, Zi, Katie, Charlotte, Ross, Chase and Kendall. Zi and Katie are both following in their parents’ footsteps as current students at OSU.

DR. PHYLLIS (MOORE) HUDECKI of Edmond, Okla., graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in home economics education in 1971 and a doctorate degree in education in 1993. Hudecki is the executive director of the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, a group that promotes policies to increase academic standards and strengthen public education in Oklahoma.

After graduating from OSU, her professional opportunities evolved to provide extensive experience in public education from positions at the local, state, and national levels. Hudecki is a former teacher and high school assistant principal. She has held administrative positions for three different state departments of education and worked for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. She has served as the associate director of the National Center for Research in Vocational Education at the University of California-Berkeley and participated in study tours of education in Europe and Asia where she met with policy leaders to discuss ways to strengthen education in the U.S. In 2010, Hudecki was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to serve as the Secretary of Education in her cabinet, a position she held for two-and-a-half years.

Hudecki has received a number awards and accolades for her efforts. She was named one of 50 Women Making a Difference in Oklahoma by the Journal Record in 2006 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the OSU College of Human Sciences in 2007.

Hudecki is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma, Class XV, and recently chaired the OSU Women’s Council for Leadership and Philanthropy. She is a member of the OSU Alumni Association and currently serves on the OSU Foundation Board of Governors.

Hudecki and her husband, Norm, have one daughter, Stacy Herriage.

ROBERT F. SHERRER
of Claremore, grew up in Snow, Oklahoma and graduated from Antlers High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from OSU in agronomy in 1967. Sherrer is a retired chairman of the Tom James Company, the world’s largest retailer of custom clothing.

While at OSU, Sherrer was a member of the Army ROTC, Soils Judging Team, Agronomy Club and Southwestern Executive Sales Club.

After graduation, Sherrer served in the United States Army as a commanding officer. He was awarded the Expert Infantryman Badge and the U.S. Army Commendation Medal for his service. Sherrer joined the Tom James Company in 1970 immediately following his military service. He served as a regional vice president, division president and company president before being elected to chairman and Tom James Retail president in 1997. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 2011.

Sherrer has established several scholarships including the Cordell Sherrer President’s Distinguished Scholarship and Cordell Sherrer Memorial Scholarship at OSU, the Sherrer Family Scholarship at Oklahoma Baptist University, and Robert F. and Virginia A. Sherrer Scholarship Endowment at Rogers State University.

He formed “Sherrer Success,” a sales and leadership training consulting firm, as a philanthropic organization to help new and younger sales professionals who are building careers in sales and sales leadership.

Sherrer is a member of the Rogers State University Foundation, board of visitors and served as the student dining center campaign chairman. He served on the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center campaign committee and the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is a member of POSSE and the Heritage Foundation and is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.

Sherrer is married to Virginia A. Sherrer, who graduated from OSU in 1966. They have one son, Ben, who graduated from OSU in 1991.

LYNDON C. TAYLOR of Oklahoma City, Okla., graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and management in 1981. Taylor is the executive vice president and general counsel of Devon Energy Corporation, a leading independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company.

During his time at OSU, Taylor served as president of the Student Government Association and Blue Key Honor Society. Taylor was named a Top Ten Senior and awarded the St. Patrick’s Award given to the top five engineering seniors. He was recognized by Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and as an Outstanding Young Man of America.

After graduating from OSU, Taylor earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1984. He worked for the international law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP for 20 years, first as an associate attorney in Washington, D.C. and then as the managing partner of the firm’s Houston office. While in private practice with the firm, Taylor was consistently recognized by Chambers Global in “The World’s Leading Lawyers.” Taylor joined Devon in 2005 and was promoted to executive vice president and general counsel in 2007. Taylor has received various honors and awards related to his legal work, including the Eugene Kuntz Award for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Resources Law and Policy.

Taylor serves as chairman of the American Petroleum Institute’s Law Committee and is a member of the Mountain States Legal Foundation Board of Directors, the Economic Club of Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Society. He serves as a member of the Boy Scouts of America Last Frontier Council Executive Board of Directors, the John Rex Charter Elementary School Board of Directors, and the OKC Quality Schools Board of Directors. Taylor is currently serving as the vice chair of the OSU Foundation’s Board of Trustees. He is a member of the OSU Foundation Board of Governors and a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.

Taylor and his wife, Pam, have three children, Lauren, Kristen and Preston.
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