The University of Central Oklahoma has named five students as Class Marshals of their respective colleges, recognizing them for their academic excellence during Central’s fall 2015 commencement ceremonies Dec. 11 and 12 at the university’s Hamilton Field House.

Students earn the title of Class Marshal for achieving the highest academic records within their colleges during their time at Central.

Jackson Edge, a studio art/drawing major from Edmond, will represent the College of Fine Arts and Design as Class Marshal with a 3.97 GPA. A self-described curious and ever-evolving artist, Edge hopes to aid in developing a strong alternative comics community in Oklahoma.

“The faculty in UCO's College of Fine Arts and Design are amazing. Every faculty member  — whether I had a class with them or not — were fully supportive and helped me exponentially grow into a relevant artist and a culturally sensitive and aware person. I honestly feel that I received a world-class education,” Edge said.         

Edge, a Westmoore High School graduate originally from Oklahoma City, is a member of the Student Art Association and was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards while at Central.           

Ryon Fields, a finance major from Edmond, will represent the College of Business as Class Marshal with a 3.97 GPA. Fields also received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from UCO in Spring 2015 and following graduation will begin his career with Ernst & Young in Seattle. He is a graduate of Edmond North High School.

“The faculty in UCO's College of Business have created an incredible learning environment for their students. We have been provided with ample opportunities to succeed. The small class sizes, open-door policy and connections the faculty have built with employers allows any willing student in the College of Business to become successful,” Fields said.

Fields is a member of the UCO Accounting Club, was named as an Outstanding Accounting Student by both the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants and the UCO College of Business, and received the Financial Executives and Business Excellence scholarships.   

Tara Licastro, an elementary education major from Yukon, will represent the College of Education and Professional Studies with a 4.0 GPA. A graduate of Putnam City High School, following graduation Licastro will join Yukon Public Schools as a fourth grade math and science teacher.

“My professors at UCO stretched my awareness of what it takes and capacity to become a truly great educator. I will always be grateful for the guidance, encouragement, challenges, resources and compassion that have been extended to me,” Licastro said.

“Their desire to see every student grow, develop, succeed and contribute

to the community is apparent in all that they do. Their love of learning, appreciation for diversity, devotion to reflection and belief in the power of collaboration is evident not only in their words but also in their actions.”         

Licastro received numerous scholarships while at Central, including the Alice Adele Way Elementary Education, Betty B. Wetterstrom Endowed, Delta Kappa Gamma Beta Phi Chapter Future Teacher, Guthrie Scottish Rite Charitable and Educational Foundation, and Teacher Education scholarships.   

Hunter Porter, a biology and psychology major from Edmond, will represent the College of Mathematics and Science with a 4.0 GPA. A graduate of Deer Creek High School, Porter plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, joining his dual-major interest in the mind and body.       

“UCO is my home and I could not have chosen a better university. My academic family makes my daily life worth living and has shaped me into a professional who loves learning and life more than I ever thought possible. The people at UCO are what make it so great, be they friends or faculty,” Porter said.

“I would not be who I am today without the guidance and support from the people at this university.”

Porter is a member of the TriBeta Biology Honor Society, Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society, Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, Biology Club and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. He received numerous scholarships and grants while at Central.

Santinka Taylor, a sociology - human services major, will represent the College of Liberal Arts with a 4.0 GPA. A native of Elk City and a graduate of Lone Grove High School, Taylor now lives in The Village and plans to pursue a graduate degree in sociology and work in the research field with a goal of minimizing social inequality.

“The University of Central Oklahoma has challenged me to explore my potential both academically as well as personally. The cultural awareness, professional skills and leadership I have gained have become an integral part of who I am. This has truly been a dynamic learning experience,” said Taylor.

Taylor is a member of Delta Epsilon Iota and the Golden Key International Honor Society. She was named as both an Outstanding Sociological Research Student and an Outstanding Sociology-Human Services Scholar while at Central.

First presented in 1994, the Class Marshal title has become a proud Central tradition. Each of the honorees will wear a bronze graduation gown and a special stole during the fall commencement ceremonies, signifying the highest degree of academic excellence.

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