Alumni set to lead Cameron’s 2008 Convocation

Three Cameron University alumni will serve as the keynote speakers during the 2008 Academic Convocation, an annual celebration of the university's dedication to academic excellence. The event, which is highlighted by musical performances and colorful pageantry, will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 26, at the Fine Arts Courtyard and is open to the public. Sanjit Bhattacharya, Kay Morris and State Representative T. W. Shannon will each speak about their CU experience and the impact attending CU has had on their lives. CU students Kevin Akers of Lawton, Miranda Josey of Elgin, and Kyle Cunningham of Lawton will introduce the speakers.

"Convocation is a wonderful venue to celebrate our students and faculty," says John McArthur, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs. "This ceremony provides us with an opportunity to recognize achievement by our students and alumni as we continue to celebrate Cameron's Centennial."

Following tradition, an academic procession of faculty and staff in academic regalia will arrive behind a banner depicting their respective disciplines. The banners are proudly carried by honor students selected from each discipline.

CU's student body is always the focal point of Convocation. Honors and scholarship students will receive special recognition for their academic achievements.

Following are brief biographies of each of the alumni speakers:

Sanjit Bhattcharya, B.B.A., Business Administration, 2000

Sanjit Bhattacharya was born in Bangalore, India, coming to the United States with his parents in 1985. Following graduation from Eisenhower High School at the age of 16, he joined the circulation department of The Lawton Constitution and began his college career at Cameron in the fall of 1994. Within two years, even as he met his added collegiate responsibilities as a PLUS scholar, he moved into a position as a Regional Director with a phone service provider.

Bhattacharya graduated from Cameron in 2000 with a marketing specialization in Business Administration. While in school, he started his own construction company, initially remodeling and selling homes, and subsequently became a builder and developer. In 2006, exhibiting his entrepreneurial prowess,  he formed an oil and gas exploration company and now has drilling operations in North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Generously giving back to his alma mater, Bhattacharya recently endowed a lectureship for Excellence in Research at Cameron.

Kay Morris,  B.S., Chemistry, 2004

Kay Morris began her collegiate studies at Cameron University in August 2000, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. She was actively involved in many campus organizations and activities. As the 2003-04 Student Government Association president, she and the other officers supported the construction of new on-campus housing, known today as Cameron Village. Encouraged by faculty, she began her research career on the Cameron campus with Dr. Clinton Bryan and Dr. Danny McGuire.

After graduating in May 2004, she began doctoral studies at Texas A&M University. Continuing her campus involvement at Texas A&M, she has served as Vice President for the Graduate Student Association in Chemistry and as a board member for Women in Science and Engineering. She currently holds three Fellowships, has made numerous local and national presentations, and has co-authored several publications in major Chemistry journals. Her research focuses on the preparation of natural products which have been shown to possess anti-cancer/tumor and anti-diabetic activity.

T.W. Shannon, B.A., Communications, 2000

Representative T. W. Shannon has been a familiar face on the Cameron University campus since he began taking classes in 1996, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in the Fall of 2000. He continued on to obtain his Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University and returned to visit Cameron's campus as a staff member for Congressman J. C. Watts. Later Shannon accompanied Congressman Tom Cole to the university as his Field Representative. He was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2006.

Representative Shannon is a true southwest Oklahoman, growing up in Lawton and attending Lawton High School. He now serves as the Assistant Majority Whip, Vice Chair of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, and holds membership on the Aerospace and Technology Committee as well as the Transportation Committee.

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Sept 24, 2008

PR#08-143