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Alumni celebrated at first-ever event at Oklahoma State University

Monday, September 28, 2015

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University recently selected its 2015 Distinguished Alumni. This year’s recipients are Minnie Lou Bradley, James Kennamer and Robert Westerman.

“While we have an extremely supportive and accomplished alumni base, Minnie Lou, James and Robert stand apart as exceptional achievers and leaders,” said Tom Coon, vice president, dean and director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “Their professional success and continued support of the division is a testament of the relationships that are founded and built on the campus of Oklahoma State University.”

Hydro, Oklahoma native, Bradley, now of Memphis, Texas, earned her degree after becoming the first female to enroll in animal husbandry at then Oklahoma A&M in 1949.

“I might be so bold as to say my degree and the many opportunities the animal husbandry professors gave me opened my door to the world I have enjoyed for the last 66 years,” she said. “I did not know that I was the first girl to enroll in animal husbandry as a major, much less be on the judging team.”

It was her success as a member of the livestock judging team at OSU that launched her into a path of success. She won the Top Beef Cattle Collegiate Judge title at the 1952 American Royal livestock judging competition in Kansas City, Missouri and was first in sheep judging, second in horse judging and top overall collegiate judge at the Chicago International competition in 1952.

Starting with 20 cows and 3,300 acres, Bradley and her husband, Bill, started the Bradley 3 Ranch near Childress, Texas. Operated by herself, her daughter Mary Lou, and son-in-law, James Henderson, the ranch now runs about 400 registered Angus cows on a 10,000-acre spread as one of the nation’s most envied seedstock and commercial Angus operations.

Kennamer, a resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, graduated from OSU with his bachelor’s degree in 1981 and his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1986.

“In the area of technical training and critical thinking ability, the educational experience at OSU provided me a solid scientific foundation that has served me well throughout my career,” he said. “In the area of leadership and organizational skills, the life experiences I had at OSU, particularly as a student assistant in the residence halls, gave me many of the personnel management skills that I still use today.”

Fresh after earning his doctorate degree, Kennamer was sought after by some of the world’s most prestigious companies. He has held the title of chemist, research investigator, manager and director at various companies and is currently the vice president, manufacturing, of Talecris Biotherapeutics/Grifols Therapeutics in Clayton, North Carolina.

Westerman, a resident of Stillwater, Oklahoma, received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in 1961 before earning a master’s degree in plant and soil sciences in 1963. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1969 with a Ph.D. in soil fertility, Westerman was a faculty member at the University of Arizona for five years.

He joined the faculty at OSU in 1976 and had a fruitful career in the department of plant and soil sciences and DASNR administration before retiring in 2013.

“My education at OSU set the foundations for any success or accomplishments I may have received in my professional career while serving in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot, attending the University of Illinois, serving on the faculty at the University of Arizona and finally at OSU.”

The 2015 CASNR Distinguished Alumni will be recognized during the inaugural DASNR Honors night, Oct. 16 at the Wes Watkins Center in Stillwater. The ceremony will also celebrate the 2015 DASNR Champions: Linda Cline, Rita Sparks and John Williams.

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