Members of the NEO Ag department to host alumni banquet honoring Hall of Fame inductees


Miami, Oklahoma – Wednesday, May 14, 2014 – Staff members from the agriculture department at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), will make four inductions into the Aggie Hall of fame at the annual alumni banquet on Friday, June 13, 2014 at 6 p.m. The banquet will be held in the Calcagno Family Ballroom inside Bruce Carter Student Union.

“There have not been any inductions into the Ag Hall of Fame since 1988,” said Dr. Shannon Cunningham, department chair of agriculture. “This year marks the induction of a ‘super class,’ and we want to make this a special induction ceremony to honor four icons of the NEO agriculture department.”

NEO’s 2014 Aggie Hall of Fame inductees are:

Jary Douglas worked at NEO from Sept. 1969 to July 2006. Prior to working at NEO, Douglas judged livestock and graduated from NEO and Oklahoma State University (OSU). After graduating from OSU, he returned to NEO to coach the livestock judging team to numerous team championships and also served as the department chair of agriculture. He received his graduate degree from the University of Arkansas. Douglas judges many national and international livestock shows due to his expertise in the industry. Lawson Essex served as rodeo coach and farm manager at NEO from 1983-2007. Essex was a successful Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), bulldogger, who used his skills to coach hundreds of NEO rodeo team members to national qualifying standing. He was instrumental in the construction of many of the facilities and arenas at the NEO Synar Farm. Essex is loved and respected by many for his quiet and honest personality and big heart. Roger Fent worked at NEO from Aug. 1981 to June 2013. Fent taught subjects in agriculture ranging from agriculture economics to soils and everything in between. During his 32 years at NEO, Fent won Outstanding Faculty Member by the students in 2011, and the Distinguished Educator of the Year in 2009 by the Miami Area Chamber of Commerce (MACC). In 2008 he received his American Honorary FFA degree. He also won the W.W. Dobson Memorial Award in 1988 and the Dobson Faculty in Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996. He then received this award again in 2011. Pete Smith served as farm and ranch management instructor from 1978 to 2009. While at NEO, Pete was the advisor for the farm and ranch management club, was an instrumental member of many campus committees and activities. Smith was also one of the first instructors at NEO to implement distance education.

Members of the agriculture department invite everyone in honoring these four men who were instrumental in shaping the agriculture department. The cost to attend is $20 per plate if reserved before May 30 or $25 after May 30. An RSVP is recommended for availability. There is a group rate at Holiday Inn Express under “NEO Alumni block.” To reserve a room call (918) 542-7424.

Please contact Tyler Dewey at or call 918-540-6069 for banquet reservations.