Tuesday marked the 2009 Higher Education Day at the State Capitol.  It is a day for administrators, faculty, staff, students and supporters to come visit legislators about the importance of the higher education institutions in Oklahoma.

Of course Northeastern Oklahoma A&M was well represented at the Capitol.  

“It was a pleasure to welcome new NEO president Dr. Jeffery Hale,” said Senator Charles Wyrick. “I know his leadership, experience and energy are going to help our college, which already has a national reputation in many areas, move forward by leaps and bounds.”

Wyrick said NEO is helping Oklahoma meet an important goal to produce a more educated workforce. 

“There is a direct correlation with the amount of education a person has and their potential for earning greater income,” said Wyrick. “Education remains one of the best economic development tools we have and NEO is providing a brighter future to thousands of Oklahomans.”

In addition to serving in the State Senate, Wyrick is a dairy farmer. 

“I can tell you that the Agriculture Department at our college has a national reputation that draws students from throughout the United States—in fact students have come from as far away as Hawaii to study agriculture at NEO,” said Wyrick.

NEO offers four degree programs, including Equine and Ranch Management, Agriculture, Natural Resources Ecology Management and Pre-Veterinary Science.

The National Resource Ecology Management program is one of only a few in the nation that provides a "Red Card" certification to students,

which allows them to fight wildfires, helping save lives and property. 

Many renovations and expansions are planned or currently underway at NEO that will further enhance the quality of education our students receive.

The Health Sciences Building now has expanded classrooms, an updated skills lab and more computers for student use.  The gymnasium is now home to a brand new volleyball and basketball court, with classroom and office space.  Commons Hall is the new location for the NEO Music Department and with acoustically practice rooms, ample classroom space and a 120-seat auditorium.  In addition, the NEO Development Foundation has raised $50,000 for the construction of the Charles Banks Wilson Art Building. Founder of the NEO Art Department, Wilson is responsible for some of the most famous artwork in Oklahoma, with portraits of Jim Thorpe, Carl Albert, Robert Kerr, Will Rogers and Sequoyah proudly displayed at the State Capitol.  The $6.9 million Charles Banks Wilson facility will include a student gallery, classrooms, studio space, a graphic design studio and more.

“These are just a few of the exciting things happening at NEO which also has a national reputation for its athletic department,” said Wyrick. “We are fortunate to have this vital college, which continues to enhance our economy and is helping create a better future for our students and for all of Oklahoma.”