Friends and colleagues from around the state and local vicinity gathered at the NEO Student Union Ballroom Tuesday afternoon for a reception/roast honoring NEO A&M Vice President Tom Poole. Poole is retiring from the college after 27 years of service.

NEO President Dr. Jeff Hale was the master of ceremonies as dignitaries such as Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield (NEO '78); Former State Represenative Larry Roberts (NEO '67); Dr. Doug Wilson, OSU A&M Board of Regents; Te Nona Kuhn (NEO '84), President NEO Faculty Senate; Cecil Strande, Director of Internal Auditing for OSU A&M System; Bob Walker, NEO Vice President for Student Affairs; Dr. David Bosserman, Vice President OSU Admissions; Alisen Gore, Current NEO student body president; and Edie Ingram (NEO '83), NEO Foundation Development Board, addressed Poole, his family, and assembled well-wishers, guests, and friends.

Easy laughs gave way to serious sentiment as each speaker praised the long time administrator and more than a few tears were shed.

Among the various honors and gifts Poole and his wife Judy received at the reception was a decree by the Miami city council declaring the day as “Tom Poole Day” for the city, a citation of appreciation from the State of Oklahoma legislature, a special and exclusive acknowledgment of service plaque from the OSU Board of Regents, and the founding of a Tom and Judy Poole Scholarship from the Development Foundation Board.

In keeping with the spirit of the gathering Poole's “coffee club” buddies gave him a special award as well.

In his concluding remarks at the assembly Poole gave thanks to many friends, family members, and co-workers. The educator stressed that the best part of his years of service was to have been afforded the opportunity to help influence and shape the lives and future of young people.