Commencement Speakers

Spring 2017 Undergraduate Commencement Speakers

First Ceremony (9:00am)

Mr. Larry Bryce

Mr. Larry Bryce

President of Kohler Power Systems

Larry Bryce joined Kohler Power Systems as President in 2011. In this position, Bryce is responsible for strategic direction and business results for Kohler Power Systems.
 
Prior to joining Kohler, Bryce was with the Manitowoc Company where he most recently served as the Executive Vice President of Manitowoc Foodservice. The commercial food and beverage equipment division is responsible for 26 facilities and 6,500 foodservice professionals. The majority of his tenure with the Manitowoc Company was within the Crane business that serves the global construction industry.
 
Bryce served as Executive Vice President for the customer service organization called Manitowoc Crane CARE with global responsibility including five – 24/7 call centers, 31 logistics locations, ten refurbishment facilities and over 1,000 aftermarket professionals located in six continents. Prior to Crane CARE, Bryce was the Vice President of Worldwide Marketing followed by Vice President of Acquisitions. Bryce also served as Global Sales Manager for all John Deere Engines and Drive Train components for both internal and external customers as well as service in EMEA and Asia. Prior to John Deere, Larry was with Schneider Electric in Global Accounts, Engineering Solutions Sales and Global Service. He also was involved in opening up China including the startup of eight joint ventures and running operations in Guangzhou, China; Manila, Philippines; and Bangkok, Thailand. Bryce has spent over eight years in overseas positions including France and China.
 
Bryce holds an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University; is a registered Professional Engineer and has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Larry and his wife, Linda, have two children and live in Kohler, Wisconsin.
 

Second Ceremony (12:00pm)

Dr. Bob L. Blackburn

Dr. Bob L. Blackburn

Executive Director, Oklahoma Historical Society

Dr. Bob L. Blackburn, a native Oklahoman, has served as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society since 1999. He joined the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1980 as editor of The Chronicles of Oklahoma and became deputy director for agency operations in 1989.
 
He earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in History from Oklahoma State University. Bob published several articles and his first book while still in graduate school. Bob has since written or co-authored 21 books and numerous articles, journal entries, and screen plays.
 
He is a steady source of historical information to the media and he has appeared numerous times on the History Channel. He was instrumental in planning and building the Oklahoma History Center, a 215,000 square foot museum and research center with a budget of $61 million. Bob has served on numerous national and regional boards and committees, including the Western History Association, the Oklahoma Association of Professional Historians, the AIA, and Leadership Oklahoma City. His hobbies are reading, running, carpentry, landscaping, and golf. Bob is married to former State Representative, Debbie Blackburn, and they have one son, Beau, who is a professional photographer in Denver, Colorado.
 

Third Ceremony (3:00pm)

Mr. Joseph Eastin

Mr. Joseph Eastin

President and CEO, ISN

Joe Eastin is President & Chief Executive Officer of ISN. He has been with the company since its beginning in 2001. During his tenure, ISN has been ranked as one of Inc. magazine’s 5,000 fastest-growing, privately owned companies for the past ten years.
 
Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University (OSU) and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management.
 
Among his many distinctions, Joe has been inducted into OSU’s Spears School of Business Hall of Fame, recognized as part of the Spears School Tributes: 100 For 100, honored with the OSU Distinguished Alumni award and has been instrumental in establishing the OSU Eastin/ISN Center for Talent Development.
 
He currently serves on several boards with OSU including the board for the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Lone Star Chapter, Lamplighter School and the Americas Board at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
 
He currently lives in Dallas with his wife, Monica, and their four children.
 
 

Fourth Ceremony (6:00pm)

Mr. Piyush Patel

Mr. Piyush Patel

Entrepreneur, Napa, California

As an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience, Piyush Patel became an innovator in corporate culture as he grew his company, Digital-Tutors, into a leader throughout the world of online training. The company is credited with educating over 1.5 million students around the globe.
 
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with Middle School Math and Science endorsements and a Master of Science in Adult Education. While a student at OSU he developed, the I Wonder Fair, which inspired 5,000 fifth graders to learn about the sciences.
 
Piyush is an avid member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Oklahoma, sits as an Advisory Board Member of Regent Bank and The Trust Company of Oklahoma, and continues to advise and speak at local universities and companies around the country. He has won numerous awards acknowledging his entrepreneurship as a trend-setter in our community.
 
When he’s not mentoring new entrepreneurs, you can find him playing video games with his son, Nick, cooking something delicious in the kitchen or planning a fresh adventure with his wife, Lisa.
 
For now, Piyush’s current business journey takes him to wine country in California where he and Lisa are proud owners of Conclusion Wines in Napa. Every bottle of their wine makes a difference to Oklahoma nonprofits.
 
His hope is to leave a positive, lasting mark on those who cross his path.