Northwestern Foundation & Alumni announces Outstanding Graduates

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Northwestern Foundation & Alumni announces Outstanding Graduates

April 13, 2016

The Northwestern Foundation & Alumni Association will recognize five Outstanding Graduates during the annual Spring Reunion Banquet on Saturday, April 30 at 6 p.m.

The honored alumni include: Edana Caldwell, class of 1971, Arts category; Gary Sacket, class of 1981, Business/Professional category; Tom Fisher, class of 1966, Education category; Linda Tutwiler, class of 1992, Ranger Spirit category; and Dr. Reid Holland, class of 1967, Humanitarian category.

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

Edana Caldwell
Outstanding Graduate, Arts

Edana CaldwellEdana Caldwell
Outstanding Graduate, Arts

A native of Alva, Okla., Edana Caldwell attended Longfellow Elementary and Alva High School, and graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. She earned her teaching certificate in 1973.

Caldwell was an art instructor at Fairview Public Schools and Woodward Public Schools, as well as instructed college short courses and vo-tech education classes on basket weaving. She also owned and operated Artistic Printing, a commercial print shop in Fairview.

Caldwell’s artwork has been shown in several museum exhibits, including the Challenge New Mexico in Santa Fe, the Artisan 9 and 50 Penn Place Galleries in Oklahoma City and the Gallery of Fine Arts in Enid. She received numerous awards including first place at festivals such as the Kansas Wheat Festival, the Nescatunga Arts Festival and the Fairview Show of the Arts. Caldwell also won first place at the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum in Woodward in the fall of 1996.

Now retired, Caldwell collaborated with another retired art teacher, Roxy Merklin, in the summer of 2015 in an exhibit at the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum. The exhibit then moved to Graceful Arts Gallery in Alva in the fall of 2015. Their next exhibit is scheduled to appear at The Cage House in Stephenville, TX. this spring.

Caldwell resides in Woodward.


Gary Sacket
Outstanding Graduate, Business/Professional

Gary SacketGary Sacket
Outstanding Graduate, Business/Professional

Originally from Aline, Okla., Gary Sacket graduated from Northwestern in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in natural sciences. He went on to receive his Masters in natural science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1986.

After graduating from Northwestern, Sacket taught middle school math and sciences. While computer technology was advancing as a mainstay in education at the time, Sacket brainstormed ways students and teachers could benefit from its use. As a result, in 1989 Sacket was named the Oklahoma Earth Science Teacher of the Year and the Oklahoma IBM Teacher of the Year.

In 1996, Sacket wrote a successful grant for Fairview, Okla. to establish a fiber community-based WAN with cable video connection via video server, FirstClass e-mail, dial-in-access and Internet access capabilities. He then wrote a proposal and led a team that received a $5.4 million federal Technology Innovation Challenge grant funded through the U.S. Department of Education in 1997. These grants are given to projects that help meet the needs of community students and educators through technological advancements.

Sacket later established the Aurora Project, later named the Aurora Learning Community Association (ALCA), a 501c3 non-profit association based in Fairview. ALCA is a professional association dedicated to the mission of advancing the profession of teaching with an emphasis on learning for all. Sacket and his staff have worked with more than 200 Oklahoma school districts and are currently working with Northwestern on the development of an electronic-based portfolio system to be used by university staff and students.

Today, Sacket continues as the President/CEO of ALCA. He resides in Aline, Okla. with his wife, Ruth. They have three children, two of whom will graduate from Northwestern this year.


Tom Fisher
Outstanding Graduate, Education

Tom FisherTom Fisher
Outstanding Graduate, Education

Born, raised and educated in northwest Oklahoma, Tom Fisher graduated from Waynoka High School and received a Bachelor of Science Education degree in mathematics from Northwestern in 1966. In 1979 he returned to receive his Master’s degree in physics.

After graduation, Fisher worked as an educator and coach at Buffalo Public Schools. He went on to teach all levels of mathematics at Woodward Public Schools, from middle school through high school, all while coaching various sports. He served the Woodward district as Athletic Director from 1998 to 2005, and today is the Assistant Superintendent of Woodward Public Schools.

He has served on and led numerous boards, committees and organizations including seven state-level education organizations. Fisher is active in his church and community, formerly serving as Chairman of the Board at the First Christian Church, Woodward, and working with the Woodward Chamber of Commerce. He also helped lead the United Fund Drive, a local non-profit organization with the purpose to give financial assistance to agencies providing health, safety, education, youth development, senior assistance, legal services and other charitable services to Woodward and the surrounding area.

Fisher resides in Woodward with his wife, Dr. Deena Fisher, Dean of Northwestern’s Woodward campus.


Linda Tutwiler
Outstanding Graduate, Ranger Spirit

Linda Tutwiler Linda Tutwiler
Outstanding Graduate, Ranger Spirit

Born in Carbondale, Pa., Linda (Vail) Tutwiler received her executive secretarial degree from Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton, Pa. in 1964. After moving to Alva, Okla., she received both her Bachelor of Science degree in office administration in 1992 and her Master’s degree in education from Northwestern in 1998.

While working toward her degrees at Northwestern, Tutwiler raised two sons, Mark and Eric, and also was a full-time employee of the university. She served as the administrative assistant to the president for 23 years (1986-2009). She received the Thelma Crouch Staff Employee of the Year Award in 2008 and the 20-year Service Award, all while maintaining her spot on the President’s Honor Roll each semester. While at Northwestern, Tutwiler was a member of the Staff Council and the Grounds and Beautification Committee, served on Accreditation teams and taught one session of President’s Leadership Class each year. She also raises scholarship funds for Northwestern students during the annual Scholarship Drive.

After retirement from Northwestern in 2009, Tutwiler continues to remain active in her Alva community. She is a member of the Woods County Retired Educators Association and the Nescatunga Arts and Humanities Council. She assists with several events at the First Baptist Church of Alva and volunteers with the Graceful Arts Gallery.

Tutwiler resides in Alva, Okla.


Dr. Reid Holland
Outstanding Graduate, Humanitarian

Reid Holland Dr. Reid Holland
Outstanding Graduate, Humanitarian

A native of Alva, Okla., Reid Holland, Ph. D., graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He received his Master of Arts in History and Quantitative Analysis in 1969 and his Ph. D. in History in 1972, both from Oklahoma State University.

Holland’s teaching career included positions at Oklahoma City Community College, Grand Valley State University and Washburn University. In 1980 he was accepted to the International Educational Consortium at the former University of Yugoslavia. He became Vice President of Education at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC in 1987 where he spent 28 years in both boardrooms and classrooms.

Holland received many awards throughout his career, including the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award, League for Innovation in Community Colleges (2013); the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Award for Teaching Excellence (1989, 2001, 2010); and the Governor’s Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, South Carolina Governor’s Office (2008). He also served on the National Board of Directors of the Association for Continuing Higher Education.

Holland’s passion for the preservation of history speaks to his selection as Outstanding Graduate in the humanitarian category. He has authored or co-authored nine texts and manuscripts such as McGraw-Hill’s Project Connect and Major Problems in American History.

During his later career, Holland focused on the national movement of Student Learning Outcomes, receiving several grants to develop student learning outcomes measurements in history classes before retiring in the summer of 2015.

He and his wife, Dr. Venus Holland, reside in West Columbia, SC, where they support Alzheimer’s research and the no-kill Hilton Head Humane Association.