After almost 12 glorious years as either a student or employee, this is my last week at NSU. This campus and community has shaped me in so many ways, and the journey down this path has been so much fun. As Jerry Cook told me way back in the Fall of 2001, it is not about the destination, but the journey.
I don’t know if I have had more fun at this institution than others, but my guess is that I hold some sort of record for the best memories. I am going to try to formulate a list of my top 10 moments at NSU, and I am starting with the honorable mentions. I had so much fun, that I couldn’t narrow it down to a top 10 list.
1. Life At The White House
There is a space in Tahlequah between the BT building and the CCF that is now a commuter parking lot, but in the early 2000s it reigned campus as the White House. In 2002, Chris Adney, Ryan Fenska, Jerrod Murr, and Andy Andris got the opportunity to move into the White House, which was technically owned by campus. Because NSU owned the house, their PLC scholarships covered rent, lawn care, meal plans, and even house repairs.
The unusual thing about the White House, however, is that it didn’t seem to have any on-campus rules. No opposite sex curfew (which we had then), no real party rules, and no noise complaints. I will keep most of the White House stories off of the internet, because the men who lived and visited there are now very successful with families, but know we had a great time. I was part of one of the great marshmallow fights that happened there, and of course we taped BFred to a tree in the front yard. My good old friends Matt Pack, Danny Points, Casey Loper, BFred, and Scott Weatherman had a ton of fun in the underground Delta Club during that one special week of 2002.
2. Raging Red Wasps
I attended my first RBC in 2001, and I immediately knew I wanted to be a volunteer. That next year I was selected by the directors to be a part of the Raging Red Wasps. Of all my years observing RBC, there has never been more of a stacked group. Emeritus was Wes Ledbetter, and the volunteers were:
Andrea Knoten (Also known as BTA)
Of the 12 volunteers, 11 went on to become either Emeritus or Director. Needless to say we dominated that year. We even had all-star rookies: Heather Adney, Jill Webster, Whitney Collins, Jessica Grayson, amongst others. If there was ever an all-star group, this was it. RBC taught me so many invaluable lessons, especially during volunteer Have You Ever.
3. Dancing with Miss America
In the Fall of 2005, I was approached by the University to host the Miss NSU pageant. I was in my 5th year at NSU due to my academic redshirt, and was celebrating my victory lap. Of course I wanted to host the pageant. Matt Eaton accompanied me backstage as I got the crowd rolling. To this day, the Miss NSU pageant was the largest group I have ever spoke in front of (around 1000 people).
Every year Miss Oklahoma attends the Miss NSU pageant and performs her talent. Jennifer Berry was the reigning Miss OK, and her talent was dance. A few years prior my personal assistant, Jerrod Murr, had somehow contrived to have Miss OK come on stage and dance with him. I was impressed by his courage, and challenged Miss Berry to dance with me.
She gladly joined me on stage, taught me how to dance ballet, and ended up falling in love with me (that’s how I tell the story – don’t judge). Just a few short weeks later she went on to win the Miss America crown, and I assume most of the credit goes to me. That very next year I hosted Miss NSU again, and once again I got Miss OK to come on stage with me, and once again she won Miss America. You are welcome Oklahoma.
4. RBC in Colorado
Most of my stories happened during my undergrad, but this one happened as an employee. The lovely Sarah Johnson asked if could drive the NSU short bus to Pike’s Peak and facilitate leadership and team-building activities with the RBC Emeritus. Of course I signed up!
I drove that short bus full of 18 people (so what it fit 14) to the top of Pike’s Peak, camped at the base of the Royal Gorge,went white water rafting, facilitated activities with the mountains in the backdrop, and of course rode the Royal Gorge Skycoaster. I even helped hook up Matt Reece and Allyson Hall (I’ll take credit for this as well).
5. Catching the Tool Shed on Fire
I never liked that people called my house in south Tahlequah the Tool Shed, but a name is a name. I am guessing they named it that for our array of impressive tools in the garage, not as an indictment on our personalities. However, I had some great times at this house. I had 7 roommates in less than 2 years, and we had 4 dogs…we lost every single one of those dogs.
It wasn’t long into our tenure there that Matt McDonald wanted to start a fire in the fireplace. It was a cold night and I was notoriously cheap, and didn’t allow the heater to be on even though it was snowing outside. Matt was having some trouble starting the fire, so he decided to throw a little bit of gasoline on the fire to get it going. This was a bad idea. The fire exploded and caught the floor, couch, coffee table, and recliners on fire.
Kristin and I were in my bedroom, and we heard a loud boom and then yelling by Matt and our other roommate Ryan Kirk. Kristin and I thought that an intruder had broken down the door and started to fight the fellas. I was surprised to see Matt and Ryan trying to put the fire out with their bare hands.
It was mass hysteria as the fire alarm started to go off. Cousin Austin was asleep in his room and he came out in his underwear confused and half-asleep. The only reason the entire house didn’t burn down was because of Ryan Kirk. He dragged the recliner to the front yard, put out the fire on the coffee table, and stopped the carpet fire from spreading. If only one of those guys would have ended up a firefighter, the damage wouldn’t have been so bad. (Surprisingly, I have no pictures from my time at the Tool Shed, so instead, here is a picture of me and Cousin Austin in our Tacky Sweaters at the White House)
I have so many great memories from over the past 12 years. Keep tuned in as I share the Top 10…we have stories about rolling down a hill in a septic tank, shoe ball, 9/11, Lambda Chi Alpha, ETS, and of course May 13, 2006.