STILLWATER – Jerry Ott, a humble family man who uses words like honor, respect, responsibility and service, has worn many hats over the years.
However, the educator, administrator, veteran and 1970 graduate of Oklahoma State University had on a new type of cap Dec. 16. While he completed his requirements for his bachelor’s degrees in vocational agriculture and agronomy in the fall of 1969, his opportunity to walk across the stage was taken away when learned he was going to be drafted into the military.
Ott served in the United States Army and the Oklahoma Army National Guard during the Vietnam Era from 1969 to 1979. When his classmates were participating in all their commencement activities in May 1970, Ott was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
When a family friend contacted OSU and shared the story of Ott’s missed opportunity to walk across the stage to receive his diploma, a cap and gown was shipped to the family. As Ott walked into his son’s house before church one Sunday morning, he was asked to take off his coat.
A few days after trying on his new graduation attire, Ott received a phone call from Tom Coon, vice president of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It then became official; Ott was invited to the Fall 2017 OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Commencement, a short 48 years after he graduated.
His passion for Old Glory has remained throughout his decades-long career in education. He has taught vo-ag, science and history and has been a principal and superintendent in the Ames, Drummond and Pioneer-Pleasant Vale school districts over the years.
While Ott said he does not feel deserving of all the attention, time and effort given to his day of walking across that stage, he is appreciative and proud to be an OSU Cowboy.
Loyal and true, OSU.