Oklahoma’s First Lady Sarah Stitt provided the keynote address at the Women for RSU kickoff event this week on the Claremore campus of Rogers State University. A new initiative of the Rogers State University Foundation, Women for RSU seeks to advance opportunities for the institution’s increasing number of female students. Approximately 60 percent of RSU’s student population are women and more than half are first-generation college students who seek a strong female leadership influence in their lives.
Stitt spoke to the importance of modeling hope through mentorship and said programs like Women for RSU are valuable because they give young women an opportunity to spend time with adults and women who’ve overcome the same obstacles in their own lives.
“I firmly believe this program is one of the things that will bring Oklahoma and Claremore into a more hopeful and bright future in Oklahoma,” she said.
Additional speakers included RSU student Cassidy Beck and RSU advocate Amy Fortna.
(Pictured from Left) RSU First Lady Peggy Rice, Amy Fortna, Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt, RSU President Dr. Larry Rice, Ginny Morgan, Sara Wallace, Cassidy Beck.
Beck spoke to the value mentors have provided in her life and believes that the initiative will develop a culture of care and support.
“I believe that Women for RSU can and will become more than an initiative, but a family of women empowering women to become the best version of themselves,” she said. “This initiative will not only touch the lives of the students at Rogers State University, but you have the opportunity to affect the lives of tomorrow’s teachers, doctors, politicians, business owners and the list goes on.”
Fortna spoke to the value of education and the generational impact it has made in the life her family and the importance of modeling success for future generations.
“My RSU story begins as a young girl living in rural northeast Oklahoma down a dirt road with a party line phone. My mother took telecourses through RSU Public Television. She would record the lectures on VHS and watch them after my brother and I would go to bed, type her assignments in the living room on a typewriter and mail them to campus to be graded. It was her example that paved the way for my brother and I,” she recalled.
Fortna, founder and managing director of Waymark Advisors joins Ginny Morgan, chief operation officer for Hood and Associates along with Sara Wallace, Claremore entrepreneur, as founding members of Women for RSU.
Women for RSU exists to create meaningful opportunities that empower female students through building and sustaining a group of leaders who provide mentoring and networking opportunities, engaging students through unique programming opportunities, and providing annual scholarships to deserving students.
To learn more about Women for RSU, contact the RSU Office of Development by calling 918-343-8357.