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Dr. Tom Cowger (second from left), and Samantha Smith hold a memento recognizing the establishment of the Dr. Tom Cowger Centennial Native American Studies Scholarship at East Central University. Smith, one of Cowger's students, encouraged her parents, Wilburn (far left) and Carol Smith (right) of Ada, to establish the scholarship in his honor. It will be awarded this academic year to an ECU junior or senior performing at a high academic level with a major or minor in Native American Studies. Cowger, an ECU professor of history, holds the Chickasaw Nation Endowed Chair and is the director of the Native American Studies Program.
Dr. Diana Watson-Maile (center) and her mother, Barbara Watson (right), stand with Phyllis Kunze, executive director of the East Central University Foundation Inc., after establishing the Watson Family Centennial Family and Consumer Sciences Education Scholarship. Watson-Maile, chair of ECU's Family and Consumer Sciences Department, is a graduate of the department and has taught at ECU since 1989. "My family decided to start this scholarship in honor of my father, M.L. Watson, who always reinforced to me that education is important to success, and it's something that no one can ever take away," she said. "He was a wise man, and my family feels it is important to encourage family and consumer sciences to be taught in the public school system so that students will be exposed to life skills." The first scholarship will be awarded for the 2010-11 academic year.
Dr. Marvin Kroeker, retired professor of history at East Central University, establishes the "Dr. Marvin Kroeker Annual Best Historical Research Paper Award" through the ECU Foundation Inc. with executive director Phyllis Kunze. The cash award will be presented to the ECU student who prepares the best paper in history and/or Native American studies. Kroeker taught at ECU from 1966 to 1993 and developed ECU's first Native American studies courses, which led to the development of the current Native American Studies program. "A great honor was paid to me by the installation of a bench in my name," Kroeker said, "and this was the impetus for me to establish this award." The first award will be made next spring to a student selected by a committee from the History and Native American Studies Department.