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Watkins, Fulbright and Powell honored with Bennett Fellows

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stillwater, OK -- Today at the Wes Watkins Distinguished Lectureship hosted by the OSU School of International Studies, Former U.S. Representative Wes Watkins was designated a Henry G. Bennett Fellow.  Featured speaker Ms. Harriet Mayor Fulbright, Chair of the Fulbright International Center, was designated an Honorary Henry G. Bennett Fellow.

The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellows Program provides a source of intellectual capital upon which the colleges of Oklahoma State University can draw to better understand and address global issues.  Fellows are world-renowned individuals who hold or have held high-profile positions, and have made outstanding contributions to the understanding of global issues.  Both the Bennett Fellow and the Honorary Bennett Fellow serve as intellectual assets to Oklahoma State University.

Former Congressman Watkins and Ms. Fulbright join a distinguished group of Bennett Fellows including the most recent inductee former U.S. Secretary of State, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.).  On Tuesday, March 21 General Powell gave a lecture entitled, “Leadership: Taking Charge” to audiences in Tulsa and Oklahoma City at the Tulsa Business Forums and the Oklahoma City Executive Management Briefings.  General Powell was presented with the Honorary Henry G. Bennett Fellow certificate and medallion by Dr. Greg Mosier, Interim Dean of the OSU William S. Spears School of Business.

Former U.S. Representative Wes Watkins is one of Oklahoma’s most prominent and devoted public servants.  Congressman Watkins, an OSU graduate of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, is committed to international education, trade, and economic development.  He has also been instrumental in obtaining funding for the Wes Watkins Center, the Advanced Technology Research Center at OSU and the Oklahoma Research and Technology Park in Stillwater. He has established a vocational education system, an agricultural research center and a small business finance center in southeast Oklahoma. Congressman Watkins has received the Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award, served on the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and has been president of the Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma.  He is a member of the OSU Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

Ms. Fulbright has spent much of her life working in arts education and in the promotion of international peace.  Early in her career, she taught English and art in the U.S., Korea, and Russia.  After her marriage to the late Senator William J. Fulbright of Arkansas she became Cofounder and President of the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum, speaking around the country about the importance of the arts and training teachers to incorporate arts into regular curriculum.  In 1997 she was appointed Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts.  Currently, Ms. Fulbright’s highest priority is the establishment of the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center to promote world peace and nonviolent means of resolving conflicts through international collaborations and educational programs.  She has a BA from Radcliffe College, an MFA from The George Washington University, and several honorary degrees.

The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellows Program is named for the former president of Oklahoma State University who made outstanding contributions to the University, higher education, and people worldwide.  Dr. Bennett served as President of Oklahoma A&M College, now known as Oklahoma State University, from 1928 until 1950.   

In January of 1949 U.S. President Harry S. Truman outlined a program for peace and freedom, the fourth point of which was “to embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of the underdeveloped areas.”  This idea was incorporated into what became known as the Point Four Program that provided developing nations with technical assistance in education, public health, industry, and agriculture. 

On November 4, 1950 President Truman appointed Dr. Bennett to be Assistant Secretary of State in charge of the Point Four Program.  President Bennett traveled extensively throughout the world and established more than 105 projects in 33 nations.  He died tragically in a plane crash while serving on a Point Four Program assignment in Iran in 1951.  Today the Point Four Program is known as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

In addition to Congressman Watkins, Ms. Fulbright, and General Powell; inductees of the Program include: Dr. Lawrence L. Boger, OSU Emeritus President; Dr. Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., TIAA-CREF Overseer and Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; Dr. Dell Felder, Former Provost and Vice President of Zayed University, U.A.E. and Rand Education Associate; Richard L. Boger, Chairman and CEO of Lex-Tek International, Inc.; and Dr. Duck Woo Nam, OSU Alumnus and Former Prime Minister of Korea.



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