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Lou Watkins

Lou Watkins

2022 Hall of Fame

M.A. Secondary Education '66

Lou Watkins has spent her entire life in academia. Watkins grew up in Cushing, Oklahoma, and attended Missouri’s Park University and The American University in Washington, D.C. She then married Wes Watkins and transferred back to Oklahoma State University for her senior year, graduating in political science in 1964. She taught American Federal Government at OSU as she completed her master’s in secondary teaching, and then taught two years at Wilburton High School in southeast Oklahoma. 


While raising daughter Martha, son Wade and daughter Sally (who was adopted through Oklahoma’s foster care program), Lou became a lifelong advocate for foster care, youth and family shelters, developmental day care, public education, honest civic leadership and the land-grant mission of service. 


Lou was a 23-year member of the Board of Regents for the OSU system and the A&M colleges in Oklahoma, chairing the board three times. She was inducted into her hometown Hall of Fame; named Distinguished Political Scientist of Oklahoma; was selected ECU’s “Distinguished Former Faculty” for 2019; and was the 2021 inductee for OSU’s College of Education and Human Sciences Hall of Fame.  


She was on the founding boards for both Leadership Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Academy of State Goals, taking both from urban-based programs to state wide/rural participation. She is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association. Lou and Wes have permanently endowed 16 academic and service scholarships and funded a chair in international studies. She served on many state and regional boards and two national boards for her church, as well as her political party.  

She successfully chaired capital fund campaigns for Dwight Mission and has chaired fundraising drives for many other good causes, candidates and office holders.  


Even after celebrating her 80th birthday last May, she serves on eight volunteer boards, including her 10th year as chair of the Board of Trustees of Fairlawn Cemetery (Stillwater’s oldest historical landmark); her fifth year locally chairing Wreaths Across America; serving as an officer on the Residents’ Council for Stillwater’s new Legacy Village; and serving on the Church Council for Stillwater’s First United Methodist Church, and numerous others.  


In the spring of 2022, the atrium at the Wes Watkins Center was named in her honor as the Lou Rogers Watkins International Courtyard. She and Wes are honorary chairs this year for Stillwater’s United Way Campaign. 


Most of all, she rejoices in every opportunity to share time, holidays and everyday meals with Wes, their family and extended family (including their cat, Muffin), especially their “perfect” grandchildren. She is deeply grateful for the values exhibited in the lives of her children and grandchildren.  

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