Adams among select graduates featured in alumni’s 100th year

CHICKASHA, Okla. – Brenda (Pettigrew) Adams is among select graduates of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma to be recognized as “100 Alumni You Should Know.”

The USAO Alumni Association is marking its 100th year with a year-long celebration, in which the association is featuring 100 alumni who have represented the university with distinction through their professional and civic activities.

Adams is currently publisher for The Southwest Times.

In a recent profile of Adams, author Khassandra Hameg highlighted Adams’ reputation in the newspaper industry – even during a time when the field was male-dominated. During her career, Adams often served as the first woman in advertising, advertising management, general manager, publisher and group publisher at the newspapers she served.

Adams graduated from USAO in 1976 with a degree in communication. She’s held top management positions at newspapers in Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia. Adams became publisher of The Southwest Times in 2014. She began her newspaper career at the Chickasha Daily Express as an intern while attending USAO.

Adams has earned more than 100 awards in better newspaper contests in Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Ohio and Virgnia, including the top award from the Associated Press for best special section and winning sweepstakes as the top honor from the South Texas Press Association.

Adams not only received a degree from USAO, but a spouse as well – eventually. “I met the love of my life at USAO, broke up with him and 22 years later married him at the chapel at USAO,” Adams says. “I also was on the first squad of cheerleaders, and my husband, Lynn Adams, was on the first basketball team at USAO.

“My education from USAO was the best. Small classes, caring instructors and independent study prepared me for life and my career. I also had real-life experiences that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” she says.

Adams’ daughter, Kristin Haney Lamar, also graduated from USAO. Adams has three children and four grandchildren.

In addition to the newspaper business, Adams has pioneered two highly successful jazz and rib events in two states.

USAO was founded in May 1908 as Oklahoma Industrial Institute and College for Girls. In 1912, the school’s authorities renamed the school Oklahoma College for Women. The Oklahoma legislature made the school coeducational in 1965, and the school was renamed Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts. In 1975, OCLA received its current name, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

In 2001, the National Park Service approved the listing of the entire campus as a National Historic District, the only educational institution in Oklahoma to hold such an distinction.

USAO has been ranked as one of the best public comprehensive baccalaureate colleges in the western half of the U.S. for five of the past six years by U.S. News and World Report, and the only public college in Oklahoma to make the journal’s Best Values list. In 2015, USAO was ranked 65th on Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges list. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni gave USAO an A rating as part of its “What Will They Learn?” initiative, the only school in Oklahoma and one of only 23 schools nationwide to receive an A rating based on the comprehensiveness of their core curricula.

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