Northwestern Alumni Association announces Outstanding Graduates

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Northwestern Alumni Association announces Outstanding Graduates

NWOSU Foundation Release

The Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alumni Association will recognize four Outstanding Graduates during the annual Spring Reunion Banquet on Saturday, April 27 at 6 p.m.

The honored alumni include: Diane Kasparek-Spicer, class of 1978 and 1983, Outstanding Education Award; Joe Shirley, class of 1970 and 1978, Outstanding Business/Professional Award; Karen Sue Liese Myers, class of 1968, Outstanding Humanitarian Award; and Adam M. Steuart, class of 2007, Outstanding Arts Award.

For more information, contact Lizabeth Richey, Northwestern Alumni Association director of alumni relations, at 580-327-8594 or

Outstanding Graduates

Diane Kasparek-Spicer
Outstanding Education Award

Diane Kasparek-Spicer, Outstanding Education Award recipientOriginally from Burlington, Kasparek-Spicer graduated from Northwestern in 1978 with her bachelor’s degree in English and earned her master’s in guidance and counseling from Northwestern in 1983. She later completed additional coursework at Oklahoma State University in educational administration and higher education.

As a scholarship recipient at Northwestern, she was active in student government, her dorm council, the volleyball team, pompon squad, Biology Club and intramurals. She finished runner-up in the Miss NWOSU pageant.

In August, Kasparek-Spicer will return to her role as learning strategies facilitator for at risk students at Lawrence Public School’s Douglas County Youth Services Day School, where she has worked since 2002. She has spent much of the past year on foreign teaching leave serving as assistant principal at Nibras International School in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her education administration experience also includes acting as assistant principal and then principal of Pittsburg, Kan., High School.

Kasparek-Spicer began her teaching career instructing English at Carmen-Dacoma High School and then Chisholm High School. She later served Chisholm as a counselor. For Enid Public Schools, she worked as a counselor and administrative assistant at Cherokee Park Special Education School and as director of guidance at Enid High School. She has also taught as a virtual school instructor for Lawrence Virtual School and adjunct instructor for the Washburn University Psychology Department.

Her work as both a teacher and principal has been recognized with a number of awards, and she has been named a 1998 and 2000 Kansas Master Teacher nominee, a 2000 Kansas MetLife Principal of the Year nominee and 2002 Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals Area II Principal of the Year.

Her greatest challenge and success was raising her two children as a single parent and ensuring they had a quality education and skills to be happy, productive adults, Kasparek-Spicer said.

“Other than that, I hope I have made a positive impact on students and have worked to mentor and support others entering the profession of education,” she said.

Kasparek-Spicer lives in Lawrence, Kan., and has two children, Brooke and Blaire, and one grandchild, Smyth.

Joe Shirley
Outstanding Business/Professional Award

Joe Shirley, Outstanding Business/Professional Award recipientAn Alva native, Shirley earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 1970 and his master’s degree in education in 1978 both from Northwestern.

While at Northwestern, he was a member of Science Club, Student Senate and Disciples of Student Fellowship. His favorite memory of Northwestern was playing French horn in the band for four years, especially playing in the orchestra for “Camelot” and “Brigadoon.”

Following graduation, Shirley taught English and journalism at Blackwell High School for four years and then junior high English at Waynoka for three years. Later, he taught all junior and senior high English at Freedom while serving as the librarian and advisor to the annual staff and even directing the school play in ’85-’86.

Since 1974, he has farmed and ranched in the Alva area. A charter member of Oklahoma Genetics, which promotes and protects Oklahoma wheat varieties, he has served as president of both Woods County Wheat Growers and Oklahoma Crop Improvement Association. In the early ‘80s, he edited Wheat News, the largest publication in Oklahoma, and as a member of the Class II Oklahoma Ag Leadership, he traveled to Brazil where he studied farming practices.

Shirley said one of his greatest successes is developing Shirley Farms into one of the largest certified seed dealers in Oklahoma.

Active in his community and church, he has served on the Alva School Board, the Woods County Fair Board, the First Christian Church Board and the State Christian Church Foundation Board. He has also guided the Lt. Governor’s Turkey Hunt.

Shirley and his wife, Ann, live in Alva and have two children, Biron and Brandi, and five grandchildren.

Karen Sue Liese Myers
Outstanding Humanitarian Award

Karen Sue Liese Myers, Outstanding Humanitarian Award recipientOriginally from Guymon, Myers graduated from Northwestern in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry before earning her medical doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 1972.

She was a member of the Rangerettes and choir and served as pianist for the Baptist Student Union and organist for the First Baptist Church of Alva. She also represented the BSU as a Ranger Queen candidate.

Her fondest memories include making friends, working for Dr. Jack Phelps, the head of the math department, and learning from Dr. Anna B. Fisher, who influenced her and her fellow premed students.

A physician, Myers began a general private practice in Alva before doing an OB-GYN residency in Tulsa. She later practiced shortly in Tulsa before moving her private OB-GYN practice to Oklahoma City in 1979, where she retired in 2009.

Locally, Myers has served as a Sunday school teacher at Quail Springs Baptist Church and Edmond First Baptist for 25 years, a Whiz Kids tutor for 12 years and a pianist for an Oklahoma City retirement center for eight years. Internationally, she has done mission work in Mexico City, and she traveled to Armenia in 2010 and 2011 on medical missions.

Myers said her greatest success was delivering babies for 35 years.

“I had a wonderful medical practice and wonderful employees all those years and believe God blessed my efforts and as a result I was very blessed,” she said.

Myers and her husband, Jim, live in Edmond. She has three children, David, Kyle and Misty, and two grandchildren.

Adam M. Steuart
Outstanding Arts Award

Adam Steuart, Outstanding Arts Award recipientA Woodward native, Steuart received his bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education in 2007. While at Northwestern, he was active in marching band, concert band, jazz band, pep band and Phi Delta Music Society.

From 2007 until May 2009, Steuart directed the bands of Springfield Public Schools in Springfield, Colo. He has also worked as a percussion instructor at Northwestern and a drum line tech for the Garden City High School Band in Garden City, Kan., where he taught marching and playing techniques.

In his current role as director of bands for Hennessey Public Schools, Steuart leads the marching band, concert band and pep band, as well as the recorder class and elementary music.

His bands have received top honors at the Valero Alamo Bowl parade and field show competition and achieved Best in Parade at Washington D.C.’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. In 2011 and 2012, his bands were named Class 2A Oklahoma Bandmasters Champions.

Steuart was named the 2010 Favorite Teacher of Kingfisher County and the 2010 Teacher of the Year for Hennessey. In 2012, he was recognized as one of School Band and Orchestra’s 50 Directors Who Make a Difference.

To honor a former Ranger band member and colleague, Steuart organized the Bradley Gilbert Memorial Band Day in 2012 in memory of the 2007 Northwestern graduate and former assistant band director of Hennessey High School.
Steuart said one of his greatest successes is shaping the lives of students.

He and his wife, Nicole, live in Enid with their Great Dane, Lyric Ann.