Claremore Daily Progress

March 17, 2013

Chief Justice Tom Colbert challenges RSU supporters

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Rogers State University held its annual scholarship banquet Thursday evening, honoring the university’s private donors, scholarship recipients, faculty and staff. Dinner was provided as President Dr. Larry Rice and keynote speaker Chief Justice Tom Colbert took to the podium.

“There’s no doubt financial assistance is a necessity for students,” said Rice. “Without these scholarships from our donors, some students would not have had the opportunity to succeed.”
Last year, RSU’s scholarship donors provided more than $300,000 to qualified students. Collectively with the state and federal aid, RSU will award more than $4 million worth of scholarships, said Rice.
“We couldn’t do it without our private partners.”
During the banquet RSU faculty and staff not only celebrated the scholar-donor relationship but also one of Oklahoma’s favorite sons, Supreme Court Justice Tome Colbert.
Colbert said he takes his influence and power on society very seriously. 
“Don’t be reckless with the gifts you’ve been given. Take what you do and how you live your life seriously,” he said. “it is that sense of purpose that I face everyday as a supreme court justice.” 
Colbert said obtaining a college degree will provide the key which will open a gate of possibilities, an access to power and influence in society.
“I am pleased with the support Rogers State University has to offer students,” he said. “RSU offers a high quality, low cost alternative for students who want a solid start toward their four year degree.”
Colbert presented a list of recommendations for scholars.
“Always call your counselors, parents and elders. They have your best interest at heart,” he said. “Surround yourself with the most educated, disciplined individuals. This wll automatically challenge you and elevate you to think intellectually a creatively.”
Colbert said he urges students to study the past, learn from the good and bring people from all countries and races together. 
“Never give up or lose faith in yourself.”
He ended by congratulating the scholarship honorees for all of their hard work and dedication in receiving the scholarship awards.
Chief Justice Colbert holds the distinction of being the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, as well as the court’s first African American chief justice following his Jan. 4 swearing in ceremony.
Colbert is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Tulsa County Bar Association.