Booze learns from leaders, becomes example himself
Friday, February 26, 2021
Caileb Booze did not have a traditional college experience and yet he has been able to make a visible, positive impact on the Oklahoma State University community, most recently speaking at the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” he said about what it meant to speak at the celebration. “I believe that this event signified a marker stone moment that we will be able to look back on with confidence and know that as a University and as a city, we took a step forward in unity. I am very grateful to have been entrusted with a small piece of that.”
To prepare for his speech, the sociology senior spent weeks going through all of King’s letters and speeches, familiarizing himself with his beliefs and legacy. He watched documentaries and dug into commentaries, all to get as complete of an understanding of the civil rights icon as possible.
“One of my biggest takeaways was learning about how dynamic of a leader Dr. King was,” Booze said. “He had the ability to cast vision in a way that inspired people to chase after a better tomorrow, while simultaneously taking ownership of today and the methodical steps it will take to make the hope of tomorrow a reality. A healthy balance between the big picture and the details. I admire the way Dr. King held fast to his convictions, regardless of the opposition that invariably followed him. These are all areas that I strive to emulate and grow in.”
Leadership has played a huge role in Booze’s life. As a first-generation college student, he got heavily involved with leadership during his first two years at OSU, including serving on the Interfraternity Council, among many other capacities. After his sophomore year, he decided that to take some time off of school and pursue other endeavors, one of which was a nine-month leadership development program.
“The program stretched me in ways I did not know I needed stretching,” Booze said. “It felt like a nine-month incubation period filled with dense theoretical and practical knowledge aimed to refine my leadership acumen which has equipped me in a variety of different ways to make a positive impact on my sphere of influence. Throughout my time in the program I had the opportunity to travel internationally and around the country to understand the complexities of cultural leadership and identify consistent themes illustrated throughout.”
After returning to OSU in fall 2019, Booze jumped right back into leadership, going straight for the top. He was elected the first African American IFC president and recently finished his term at the end of 2020. During that time, he was able to able to put into practice many of the lessons he learned in his leadership program as well as from King.
“Dr. King taught me so much about what it looks like to be a leader with integrity, respect and courage,” Booze said. “Those are the qualities and traits that I aspire to continue to cultivate.”
He has indeed cultivated those skills and was able to inspire countless people at the MLK Day celebration.
“I heard Caileb speak at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, and I was so proud that he was a representative of OSU, CAS and the Department of Sociology,” said Glen Krutz, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He spoke eloquently about racial reconciliation and the pragmatic path forward, skillfully weaving in quotes from Martin Luther King.”
Booze studies sociology with a love for people and development. He wants to be able to serve as a leader and lead by example, often going the extra mile to help those who are unheard and underrepresented. To continue to be able to enact change, Booze plans to pursue law school.
“I have aspirations to go to law school and learn more about how sociology interacts with the law and even forms a lot of the legislation that we are seeing today,” Booze said. “Ultimately, my goal is to become a federal judge and then enter into the political arena because I believe that our nation benefits when people with integrity and a passion to serve people lead the way.