OC Honors Nomination Form


Odessa College wants to honor individuals and businesses who have made or continue to make significant contributions to the field of education. Honorees will be recognized at the annual 2019 Odessa College Honors Luncheon on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 11:30 AM at the Odessa Marriott Hotel & Conference Center 305 East Fifth Street, Odessa.

Sponsor a Table

For more information, to sponsor a table, or to purchase individual tickets call the Odessa College Foundation 432-335-6648 or email foundation@odessa.edu

Current Sponsors - Sponsorship Deadline October 25, 2019

First Basin Credit Union
Wells Fargo
Complex Community Federal Credit Union
Medical Center Health System
Odessa Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Odessa Regional Medical Center
SIW Pipe & Supply
Attorney Robert White
Liberty Fishing & Rental Tools
Shafer, Davis, O’Leary & Stoker
Sondra & Toby Eoff
Southwest Bank
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The Wilkins Family
University of Texas Permian Basin
Rep. Brooks Landgraff
Dr. Tara Deaver


Keynote Speaker for OC Honors - Erin Gruwell

Erin Gruwell started college expecting to become a lawyer; however, following the Rodney King verdict and the subsequent LA Riots, Gruwell realized that her calling was not in a courtroom, but a classroom. Gruwell began her tenure as an English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA. Her students were considered unteachable, and the educational system had all but forgotten about them. Despite school administrators and other staff doubting that these students would ever achieve anything, Gruwell pressed on, believing that any child can succeed. 

After intercepting a racist caricature depicting one of her students, Gruwell told her students that it was drawings like that which led to the Holocaust. When one of her students asked her what was ‘the Holocaust?’ She was met by uncomprehending looks -- none of her students had heard of one of the defining moments of the 20th century. So she rebooted her entire curriculum, using treasured books like Anne Frank's diary as her guide to combat intolerance and misunderstanding. Her students began recording their thoughts and feelings in their own diaries, eventually dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers." Their stories became The Freedom Writers Diary which quickly climbed to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list.

By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her students’ lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, reconsider their own daily decisions, and ultimately, re-chart their future. With Gruwell’s support, they chose to forego teenage pregnancy, drugs, and violence in order to become aspiring college students, published writers, and citizens for change. 

Erin Gruwell continues to fight for equality in education as a professor of practice with Bay Path University, as a Chapman University fellow, and by sharing her teaching practices with educators from around the world via Freedom Writer Teacher training institutes though the Freedom Writers Foundation. Gruwell and her students’ story became the basis for the 2007 feature film, Freedom Writers, and the documentary, Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart, which aired nationally on PBS in 2019. In September of 2019, The Freedom Writers Diary was republished with twenty new stories to celebrate the book’s twentieth anniversary.

Past OC Honors Recipients:

Outstanding Educator
2008 – Veta Pickering-Reese
2009 – Margie Martinez
2010 – James Johnston
2011 – John Tucker
2012 – Dr. Lois Hale
2013 – Lynn Whisenhunt
2014 – Dr. Jennifer Myers
2015 – Robin Gutierrez
2016 – Dr. David Watts
2017 – Steve Goff
2018 – Clovis Stacey

Outstanding Individual
2008 – Dr. Lee Buice
2009 – Sondra Eoff
2011 – Collin Sewell
2013 – Craig Van Amburgh
2014 – Renee’ Henderson-Earls
2015 – Tryon Lewis
2016 – Lorraine Perryman
2017 – Willie Taylor
2018 – Chris Stanley

Outstanding Business
2008 – Pemco
2011 – ICA Properties
2012 – H&S Valve
2013 – Chevron
2014 – Bobby Cox Companies
2015 – H-E-B
2016 – Saulsbury Industries
2017 – Complex Community Federal Credit Union
2018 – SouthWest Bank
Outstanding Non-Profit
2007 – OC Foundation Board
2012 – Wood Family Foundation
2014 – Grow Odessa
2015 – Education Foundation
2016 – United Way of Odessa
2017 – West Texas Food Bank
2018 – Permian Basin International Oil Show
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