Northwestern Outstanding Graduates to be honored April 24 at Alumni Reunion

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Northwestern Outstanding Graduates to be honored April 24 at Alumni Reunion

NWOSU Foundation Release

April 6, 2010

Spring Reunion
Day Schedule

The Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alumni Association will honor five Outstanding Graduates during its annual Spring Reunion Banquet on Saturday, April 24 at 6 p.m.

This year’s award recipients include Grant Bowen, Nicolle Rubenstein Campbell, Rodney R. Dunkin, Jack E. Kippenberger and Jane Hobbs McDermott.

The banquet in the Student Center Ballroom is open to the public, but reservations are required by April 15. The cost is $15 per person. For more information or to make reservations, contact Lizabeth Richey, Alumni Association director, at 580-327-8594 or

Outstanding Graduates

Grant Bowen
Outstanding Recognition Award

Grant BowenAn Alva native, Bowen graduated from Northwestern in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and theatre and a minor in history. After receiving his degree, he worked as associate technical director and scene and lighting designer for performances at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. Then, as a year-round carpenter, he built scenery for Santa Fe Opera productions such as Handel’s “Radamisto” and Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.”

In 2008, Bowen ventured to New York City working first as production manager for “The Cyclone” at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and then Off-Broadway as deck crew chief and automation technician at the Atlantic Theatre Company, a highly acclaimed company founded by William H. Macy and David Mamet. While working at the Atlantic Theatre Company, he was involved in productions of Ethan Coen’s “Offices,” Martin McDonaugh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” and Beau Willimon’s “Farragut North,” as well as the company’s Stage 2 production of “Make Me.”

Bowen is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree in the newly formed Dynamic Stage Environment Studies program in theatre at the University of Illinois, where he holds an assistantship as the facilities manager of a student-run experimental campus theatre, Armory Free Theatre. In the fall of 2009, he designed and implemented his own curriculum, which seeks to bridge the gap between artistic conception and modern technology. Bowen expects to complete his master’s in 2012.

He is the son of Dr. James and Jane Bowen of Alva.

Nicolle Rubenstein Campbell
Outstanding Arts Award
Nicolle Rubenstein CampbellA 1993 graduate originally from Enid, Campbell earned her Bachelor of Arts in speech and drama and mass communications. Active on campus during her time at Northwestern, she was involved in speech team, Castle Players, Alpha Psi Omega, band, Northwestern News, the TV and radio stations, and Student Government among other activities.

After receiving her degree, Campbell worked as an actress appearing in a number of commercial and film projects prior to using her skills as training director for John Robert Powers, an acting and modeling school, from 1999 to 2003.

In 2003, she established The Actor’s Scene, her own acting school in Buford, Ga. Campbell specializes in training children, teens and adults and placing students in the entertainment field locally, regionally and nationally. In addition to teaching techniques and methods, the training programs focus on building confidence and self-esteem in students.

Since opening, the studio has seen more than 100 success stories with students appearing and performing on Broadway, film, TV, commercials, print and in the music industry. The studio has experienced growth each year since its founding.

As owner and operator of The Actor’s Scene, Campbell manages all aspects of her business, including marketing and program development. She has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Actors Models and Talent for Christ, a prestigious national competition.

Campbell and her husband, Mark, whom she met and first dated when he attended Northwestern, live in Tallahassee, Fla., with her stepson.

Rodney R. Dunkin
Outstanding Education Award
Rod DunkinDunkin earned his Bachelor of Education degree from Northwestern in 1963 after graduating from Barnsdall High School in 1959. During his time at Northwestern, he enrolled in Bess Chapell’s introduction to art class, and he credits her for his appreciation of art and its history to this day.

Dunkin began his career at Hennessey High School where he developed both the art curriculum and the art department for Hennessey Public Schools. In 1966, he was drafted, and his teaching career was interrupted by two years spent on Okinawa as company clerk for the #412 Transportation Company. When he returned, he began working as a part-time art instructor for Alva Public Schools while working on his master’s degree in guidance and counseling at Northwestern, which he completed in 1971.

“His lessons in light and its effect on art have been carried with me through the years,” Connie Moore, a former student of Dunkin and Northwestern alumna class of 1984, said. “I see the world differently because of his teachings.”

For the next 34 years, Dunkin developed and directed the art program at Alva High School, organizing field trips to exhibits, beginning an Annual Student Art Show, supervising the painting of murals in the hallways of Alva High and directing students as they entered art contests and shows. He also served as golf coach for both the Alva girls and boys teams.

Throughout his career, Dunkin continued to acquire professional skills and has served on the board of the Alva Mural Society since its inception in 1997. Today, he still enjoys classroom teaching as an adjunct art professor at Northwestern.

He and his wife, Cecie, have been married for 25 years, and he has two adult children, Kellie and Ryan, and one grandchild, Cole Ryan Dunkin.

Jack E. Kippenberger
Outstanding Humanitarian Award

Jack KippenbergerOriginally from Thomas, Kippenberger attended St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kan., before transferring to Northwestern in January 1962. A football player while at Northwestern, he was elected co-captain of the football team and voted Outstanding Lineman in 1963 before serving as a student assistant football coach in 1964.

He graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education and began his career teaching in Medicine Lodge, Kan., Topeka, Kan., and Overland Park, Kan. Prior to being drafted into the U.S. Army, he briefly attended Washburn University Law School and worked as a deputy sheriff at the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office in Topeka.

In January 1968, Kippenberger was appointed as a special agent in the United States Secret Service and remained active on several tours across the country for the next 30 years until his retirement in 1998. He spent three tours in Washington, D.C., first assigned to the White House during the Nixon and Ford administrations, followed by tours as congressional liaison and deputy assistant director of Secret Service Headquarters. The final 12 years of his career were spent in Miami, Fla., as a special agent in charge of secret service operations in south Florida, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Since his retirement, Kippenberger has worked with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, coordinating logistics and arrangements for the Graham family crusades. After Sept. 11, Kippenberger served as an independent contractor for the Department of Defense assigned to duties in Yemen, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

He and his wife of 42 years, Linda, currently reside in Palm Beach, Fla., and have two daughters, Heather Ciampini and Heidi Hemstreet, and six grandchildren.

Jane Hobbs McDermott
Outstanding Business/Professional Award
Jane McDermottMcDermott, who grew up in Lamont, graduated from Northwestern in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in library science and physical education. While at Northwestern, she played for the Lady Rangers basketball team and ran track. She also completed her Master of Education degree in secondary curriculum and instruction at Northwestern in 1991.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, McDermott began her career as owner and general manager of Colonial House Inc. In 1984, she began working for Community National Bank in Alva as a new accounts director, a general ledger accountant and IRA consultant. She returned to her alma mater in 1987 to work as the executive director of the Northwestern Foundation and Alumni Association.

“She brought a level of integrity and success to that organization, which enabled it to develop and thrive under her leadership,” Linda Tutwiler, a Northwestern alumna class of 1992 and 1998, said. “She always represented the university in a positive fashion and brought many new donors into the Northwestern family.”

McDermott joined her husband in 2005 as co-owner of deVine Water and McDermott Insurance Company. She is a licensed agent with American National Insurance Company, specializing in all types of insurance and financial related services.

Active in a number of civic and community organizations, McDermott serves as president of Wheatland Republican Women and Delta Zeta Sorority Alumni, and she is past president of the Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma, Alva Youth Council and Northwest Family Services. She was recognized as Alva’s Citizen of the Year in 1984 by the Alva Chamber of Commerce, and in 2007, the NWOSU Chapter of the American Association for University Women honored her with the Economic Development Award.

McDermott and her husband of 35 years, Max, currently live in Alva and have a son, Dustin McDermott, a daughter, Alyson Penco, and five grandchildren.