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Oklahoma State University

OSU senior breaks barriers and inspires others to chase their dreams

Mon, October 03, 2016
Tiffany Thurmond

Ask Tiffany Thurmond about her experience at Oklahoma State University and she will describe it in one word: breathtaking.

Thurmond is a senior double major, studying marketing and business management, from Edmond. She has a passion for helping people and mentoring freshmen, something she discovered her sophomore year helping with the Retention Initiative for Student Excellence program at OSU.

“If I can help other people get motivated and spark that fire within themselves, then I am satisfied,” Thurmond said.

Thurmond serves as president of the African American Student Association, vice president of the Theta Mu chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and also works in the OSU President’s Office.

She has been through a lot of growth and development in her four years at OSU, but her biggest challenge came when her father died while Thurmond was interning one summer.

“That was the hardest thing I had to go through,” Thurmond said. “He was my superhero, my best friend and waking up every morning, I wanted to call him and tell him what was going on.”

Relying on her faith and family, the difficult times allowed her to grow. Though returning to OSU her junior year was hard, the Cowboy family, including the love and the support of her friends, helped.

“They were there for me every step of the way,” Thurmond said. “It made me sit back and realize I was here for a reason. I was here for a purpose and, without a doubt, I was in the right place at the right time with the right people.”

Thurmond’s father motivated her decisions for the future and the accomplishments she hopes to fulfill. She aspires to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and dreams about starting her own nonprofit organization one day.

“I want to focus on the people who do not have the support they need for their dreams,” Thurmond said. “Whether that is helping financially or helping them work out their plans, I want to do that.”

Growing up, Thurmond was driven and determined to make a difference.

“Ever since she was a little girl, I would call her my little CEO,” said Gayla Thurmond, Tiffany’s mother. “In my heart, I know she is going to do it.”

Thurmond also has a great passion for inspiring people. One of her goals for the future is to be a motivational speaker and write books.

Her proudest moment was speaking at the freshmen convocation this year. The opportunity gave her the audience she always wanted to reach, she said.

Thurmond spoke about coming to college with a blank book and the importance of “coloring your pages” with experiences while here.

“I wanted my senior year to be the year I left my imprint (on OSU),” Thurmond said. “That was a highlight.”

Thurmond’s mother calls the convocation speech her proudest moment for her daughter, too.

“When she spoke, it showed me that her dad and I had done our job,” Gayla said.

Thurmond wants to break barriers and stereotypes and leave a legacy on the world. She wants to pave the way for people who come after her.

“Whenever I leave this earth, I aim to make sure they saw I had an indomitable spirit,” Thurmond said. “I did not hold back, but chased my dreams.”

Story by Sage Watson