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 five Outstanding Graduates during the annual Spring Reunion Banquet on Saturday, April 26, at 6 p.m.

The honored alumni include: Marvin Wiebener, class of 1968, Outstanding Arts Award; Chad Moore, class of 2001, Outstanding Business/Professional Award; James “Jim” Rodgers, class of 1975, Outstanding Education Award; Linda Ybarra-Kotich, class of 1964, Outstanding Humanitarian Award; and, J. Stewart Arthurs, class of 1962, Outstanding Ranger Recognition Award.

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

Outstanding Graduates

Marvin WiebenerMarvin Wiebener
Outstanding Arts Award

Originally from Alva, Marvin Wiebener graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1968. Wiebener went on to earn a Master of Social Work degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

While a student at Northwestern, Wiebener’s athletics career was cut short when he was hurt in his first football game and never played again. Yet the lessons learned in and out of the classroom were immeasurable.

“The most significant event in my time at NSC occurred during the winter semester. Dr. Marie Arthurs took me aside and told me I wasn’t going to pass and that I needed to mature. She said, ‘I will give you a D grade if you join the military.’ That moment was the beginning of my true education.”

After a three-year stint in the United States Marine Corps, Wiebener returned to Alva and finished his undergraduate degree.

Wiebener has spent most of his career in the social work field, from working directly with delinquent youth to providing strong administrative leadership for agencies and programs in the social work field.

Wiebener’s life and career changed in February 2002, but the same tenacity that served him earlier in his life helped him to find, again, success with change. He was diagnosed with primary lateral sclerosis, a disorder of the central nervous system. He and his wife moved from Tulsa to Thomas, Oklahoma. After settling into their country home, Wiebener refocused his energies and talents and wrote The Margin and The Moriah Ruse, two novels of mystery and espionage.

Wiebener and his wife, Peggy, enjoy their children – Erik, Erin, Tamara and Tyler – and seven grandchildren.

Chad MooreChad Moore
Outstanding Business/Professional Award

A native of Enid, Chad Moore graduated from Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2001. While still in school, a professor suggested an internship with BKD, LLP, a national CPA and advisory firm. After his internship, Moore was asked to join the firm after graduation and, in 2013, he became its youngest partner.

At Northwestern, Moore played football during his freshman year. Although studies and work consumed a lot of his time, Moore’s fond memories of Northwestern include the friends he made and the people he met. His fondest memory is meeting his future bride, Kim, in speech class during his freshman year and following her career in college basketball.

Moore has more than 13 years’ experience in audit and consulting services for electric utilities, manufacturers, state and local governments and not-for-profit organizations. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Oklahoma Society of CPAs, Government Finance Officers Association and the National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives.

Moore was named the 2013 Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants Trailblazer recipient, being nominated by his peers based on his professional work and for developing future young leaders. In that same year, he was named YMCA Volunteer of the Year.

“I am blessed with a beautiful family,” Moore said. “They have supported my endeavors, moves, long hours away from home and travel. Without them, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have today.”

Moore and his wife, Kim, and children, A.J. and Ragan, live in Edmond.

Jim RodgersJames “Jim” Rodgers
Outstanding Education Award

A native of Gore, James “Jim” Rodgers graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1975. He went on to receive both a Master’s and his Doctorate of Arts in Political Science from Idaho State University.

While at Northwestern, Rodgers was president of Ament Hall, member and parliamentarian of the student senate, student body president and a college council member. In addition, he was a member of both Pi Sigma Alpha and Blue Key. He also served as political science tutor for international students.

Early in his career, Rodgers taught at Idaho State University, Saint Mary’s Junior College and Saint Mary’s Graduate School. In 1981, he began as assistant professor at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and was promoted to full professor in 1998. He has taught numerous political science courses, including Political Theory, Public Administration, International Politics and Comparative Politics.

In addition to his time in the classroom, Rodgers has served the faculty in a number of capacities, including chair of the faculty body and education policies committee member. He has authored a number of publications, including three books in political science. A fourth book is in the works.

Outside of academia, Rodgers is active in his church, and has been involved in local PTA, Human Rights Commission and political boards.

Rodgers resides in Winona, Minnesota. He is proud of his three “wonderful and beautiful” children, and remains grateful for the years of teaching many excellent students.

Linda Ybarra-KotichLinda Ybarra-Kotich
Outstanding Humanitarian Award

Originally from Shattuck, Linda Ybarra-Kotich graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1964. Ybarra-Kotich was active in student senate and Delta Zeta Sorority, and was secretary for both her junior class and the state chapter of Student Education Association.

Her fondest memory of Northwestern is meeting A.J., her husband of 41 years. She also remembers the wonderful homecoming parades and games.

“My years at Northwestern gave me the confidence and educational foundation to become the teacher that I was and will continue to be,” said Ybarra-Kotich.

Ybarra-Kotich’s teaching career began in elementary schools, teaching third through seventh grades at various times. Her role as an educator also found her teaching high school students, as well as training middle and high school reading teachers – particularly teachers of English Language Learners (ELL) students. She was responsible for implementation of the ELL program at Topeka High School.

A number of awards and honors marked Ybarra-Kotich’s passion for both literacy and opportunities for students, including her induction into the Kansas Teacher’s Hall of Fame in 2010. But her impact continues to go beyond the classroom.

Ybarra-Kotich mentored Hispanic students after school, helped begin a program for Hispanic teens involving social workers and she worked to educate Hispanic students and parents about diabetes. She volunteers with her church and works on an as-needed basis with Hispanic families to learn English. She is presently serving as education technical advisor on the Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission. Yet, she feels her greatest accomplishments are being the mother of “five wonderful children” along with being given the opportunity “to teach many incredible young people.”

Ybarra-Kotich and her husband, A.J. (Business/Professional Outstanding Graduate, 1996) reside in Topeka, KS.

Stewart ArthursJ. Stewart Arthurs
Outstanding Ranger Recognition Award

Originally from Bristow, J. Stewart Arthurs graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor of Arts in 1962. He received a Certificate of Completion from the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, England, in 1963. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma in 1966.

The leadership for which he is known today was evident during his college career. Arthurs served as president of his freshman class, Vinson Hall and Student Senate. He was listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and universities, and was on both the President’s and Dean’s honor rolls throughout his academic career.

A triple-sport athlete, he lettered all four years in football, basketball and track, and was named the Small College All American in Football in 1960. He also was named Academic All-American in Football in 1960 and 1961. Arthurs was inducted into the Northwestern Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

Arthurs has practiced law in Cushing since 1966, and remains city attorney since 1970. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Oklahoma; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit; U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Oklahoma; Oklahoma Supreme Court; and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. Arthurs has served on the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association and as a Trustee of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. He is a retired colonel, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Army Reserves.

“My favorite memories of Northwestern include the quality of education and the friendliness of the students, faculty and university staff,” said Arthurs.

Over the years, Arthurs has remained active in a number of capacities with Northwestern. He is currently serving his second term as a Foundation trustee, having spent the last two years as Chair of the Executive Committee. He also is active in Cushing Lions Club, Cushing United Fund and the First United Methodist Church.

He and his wife, Cheryl, live in Cushing. They have six children – Dawn Arthurs, Stephanie Arthurs, Jamie Ward, Adrienne Love, Todd Adrian and Julie Smith – and eight grandchildren.