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March 11, 2014

Former Speaker Shannon to Speak at RSU Scholarship Banquet

T.W. ShannonRep. T.W. Shannon, former speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, will be the keynote speaker at the Rogers State University Foundation's 2014 Scholarship Banquet on March 13. Baker Hughes and the Claremore Daily Progress are this year's presenting sponsors.

The RSU Foundation hosts the annual banquet for the sole purpose of thanking those who make scholarship opportunities available. Students receiving RSU Foundation scholarships are given the opportunity to meet their benefactors and express their appreciation to those who are helping them earn a degree at RSU.

A sixth-generation Oklahoman and third-generation Lawton resident, Shannon holds the distinction of being the youngest Speaker of the House in Oklahoma history as well as the first African-American to hold the post.

The Republican National Committee recently named Shannon as a GOP "Rising Star," and the conservative group GOPAC honored him by adding Shannon to their advisory board. He also has participated in the Pro-Family Legislators Conference, sponsored by historian David Barton's WallBuilders organization.

He was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2006 and was sworn in as Speaker of the House in January 2013. He stepped down as Speaker earlier this year to concentrate on his bid for U.S. Senate.

Shannon earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Cameron University and his juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University Law School. He worked as a field representative for former Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. a decade ago, and served in the same position for Congressman Tom Cole after Watts retired.

He has been married to his college sweetheart, Devon, for 12 years and they have two children, Audrey Grace and T.W. II. The Shannon family members are enrolled members of the Chickasaw Nation and reside in Lawton.

Scholarships are critically important at RSU, where more than 70 percent of entering students receive some sort of financial assistance and more than 80 percent work their way through school. Gifts to the RSU Foundation make possible educational opportunities for area students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to begin or complete a college degree at RSU.

Katie Navarro, a recent RSU graduate and a current staff member with RSU's Educational Opportunity Center, will speak at the banquet to share how the endowed scholarship she received helped make a college degree a reality for her.

For more information about supporting RSU scholarships, contact Tonni Harrald at the RSU Foundation at 918-343-7767 or tharrald@rsu.edu.