Distinguished Alumni Awards

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An Honorable Tradition

For more than 50 years, UCO has honored its most outstanding alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award. The prestigious award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in education, arts and sciences, business/professions, community service or university service.

For more information, contact the UCO Alumni Association at (405) 974-2421.

Distinguished Alumni Nomination FormFormer Distinguished Alumni Recipients

2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

The seven recipients include Erin Clemons, Peggy Kates, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Kashif Rathore, Sheila and Preston Stinson and Gloria Torres.

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Image of 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Erin ClemonsErin Clemons - Emerging leader

Clemons, an actor and singer best known for her critically-acclaimed work as Eliza Hamilton in Broadway’s “Hamilton,” is being recognized with the Emerging Leader Distinguished Alumni Award. Her Broadway credits include playing Éponine in “Les Misérables” and “Hamilton,” where she covered the roles of Angelica, Eliza and Peggy/Maria. She is also known for her work on the national tour of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and the international tour of “Prince of Broadway.”

Clemons graduated from Central in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in music theatre. She continues to hone her craft at the Jen Waldman Studio in New York City.

Image of 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Peggy KatesPeggy Kates

Kates graduated from Central in 1972 with a degree in biology and chemistry. She currently serves on many nonprofit boards including Allied Arts, Circle of Red, GiveSmart OKC, Infant Crisis Services, Oklahoma Christian School, Oklahoma Zoological Society, Science Museum of Oklahoma, UCO Foundation Board of Trustees and YWCA Oklahoma City.

Prior to starting Midwest Wrecking Company, alongside her husband, in 1976, where she served as financial officer, Kates worked at Central as an academic adviser and a teacher for Edmond Public Schools. The success of their company allowed Kates to give back to her alma mater and support other students by establishing several scholarships honoring UCO professors.

Image of 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Madhu KrishnamurthyMadhu Krishnamurthy

Krishnamurthy is the diversity editor and an assistant weekend editor for Chicago’s "Daily Herald," where she covers suburban K-12 school districts and higher education. Before joining the Herald, she worked at "The Edmond Sun" as a writer, copy editor and paginator. Additionally, Krishnamurthy is immediate past president of the Chicago Headline Club, the nation’s largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her goals include helping Chicago-area newsrooms improve coverage of communities of color and employment of minorities, and promoting partnerships with higher education journalism programs.

Krishnamurthy graduated from Central with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 1998.

Image of 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Kashif RathoreKashif Rathore

Rathore currently serves as senior vice president for digital business at CareDx, a leading precision medicine solutions company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of clinically differentiated, high-value health care solutions for transplant patients and caregivers. Rathore held various senior leadership roles within the company including serving as vice president of interoperability and in the consulting and technology lines.

Rathore earned his bachelor’s degree in management information systems in 1997. He also holds a master’s degree in executive business administration from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Punjab, Pakistan.

Image of 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Shiela and Preston StinsonSheila and Preston Stinson - distinguished couple

Sheila and Preston Stinson are being recognized as a Distinguished Alumni couple. Sheila is an appointed district judge for Oklahoma County. She is an experienced civil litigator and trial attorney who has resolved hundreds of disputes on the family and domestic docket in Oklahoma County since assuming her post in June 2017. Preston is the owner of Stinson Development Company, a steel erection company specializing in commercial signs and billboards across the state of Oklahoma. He also serves as state representative for District 96.

Sheila earned a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from Central in 1999 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Preston graduated from Central in 1998 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and earned an MBA from Oklahoma Christian University.

Image of 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Gloria TorresGloria Torres

Torres currently serves as executive director of Calle Dos Cinco, a community nonprofit that helps uplift local businesses and shares the Latino culture of south Oklahoma City to build connections with the city.Torres made history by being the first Latina elected to the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education, where she represents District 6. As a public servant and community liaison to the predominantly Latino parts of Oklahoma City, Torres has built connections across the city.

Torres earned a Bachelor of Arts in modern language from Central in 1996 and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Texas Women’s University.

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