April 3, 2009
Among those in attendance to honor Margaret Manuel Larason at Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Woodward are Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president; Karen Luke, Bruce Benbrook and Sheryl Benbrook, family friends; daughter Linda Edmondson, Dr. Deena Fisher, Northwestern-Woodward dean; Attorney General Drew Edmondson; and photographer Mike Klemme. Larason is a 1932 graduate of Northwestern and an active member of the Woodward area communities.
More than 100 people attended the private ceremony honoring Margaret Manuel Larason at Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Woodward on March 31. Photography captured by Oklahoma Centennial photographer Mike Klemme was presented as a gift to the university by her family and friends.
“This gift of artwork is a truly wonderful addition to our new campus and is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Margaret Larason,” Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “We are grateful to all of the donors who chose to honor Mrs. Larason and Northwestern with these beautiful photographs.”
In total, 11 framed photography works by Klemme were donated in honor of Larason, a 1932 Northwestern alumna, by her children, daughter Linda Edmondson and her husband Attorney General Drew Edmondson, son Tim Larason, and daughter Anne Larason Schneider, and close family friends Sheryl Benbrook and her husband Bruce Benbrook, CEO of the Stock Exchange Bank, and Karen Cullen Luke.
“All the beautifully framed photos are of sites in northwest Oklahoma,” Dr. Deena Fisher, dean of Northwestern-Woodward, said. “We hope to instill in our students a sense of pride for living in northwest Oklahoma.”
“Through these photos students are able to see how beautiful the area is that they grew up in, and we hope that it inspires them to stay and work for the future of northwest Oklahoma.”
She worked as a reporter for the Northwest Oklahoman newspaper in Shattuck, where she met A.R. Bert Larason, an Ellis County state representative from Fargo, and married in 1936.
Larason taught English in the Gage and Fargo school system and eventually was hired by the Woodward public schools system as a librarian and history teacher at the junior high level.
At that time the Department of Education began to emphasize the importance of school libraries, so she began and completed the classification and cataloging of the Fargo school library. She researched the Dewey Decimal System numbering system and began a card catalogue, something the school did not have.
To further her knowledge with library work, Margaret enrolled in summer and night classes at Northwestern. In 1969, she obtained her library certificate and master’s degree in library science. She retired from teaching in 1974.
In 1975 they moved to Woodward. Larason was an avid Oklahoma history student. Since her husband was actively serving in the state legislature, much of her Oklahoma history and government knowledge came first-hand. She was co-author of a history of the Shattuck area that is included in “Pioneer History of Shattuck.” Later she wrote a history of Ellis County for a volume of county history. She also co-edited a volume of the Woodward County Histories.
To honor her connection to Northwestern and her love for Oklahoma, Larason’s husband and children established the Margaret Manuel Larason scholarship at Northwestern several years ago. The scholarship is awarded annually to high school graduates from Fargo, Gage, Shattuck, Arnett or Woodward. Recipients must meet minimum standards for admission to Northwestern’s Teacher Education program, have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average, and be entering the senior year of study at Northwestern. First preference is given to students majoring in language arts, secondary or elementary.
Posted on Wed, April 1, 2009
by Valarie Case filed under