For Anna Ammons, the 2021 recipient of OKWU’s Endowed Alumni Scholarship, OKWU became personal long before she ever enrolled as a student.
Ammons—maiden name Hutchinson—grew up in Clearwater, Kansas, near Wichita, hearing stories about Bartlesville Wesleyan College from her mother, Cindy Collins Hutchinson (BWC ‘96). And the OKWU legacy goes even further than that—Ammon’s grandfather, Rev. Rodney Collins, graduated from Miltonvale Wesleyan College in 1970.
“I grew up hearing college stories from my mom about what she experienced,” Ammons said. “As a child, I actually remember coming here to hear her sing for an alumni banquet. It’s not a very vivid memory, but I remember a couple of the college girls actually walking us over to the duck pond.”
As it happens, history will repeat tonight at another OKWU alumni banquet, when Ammons will receive her official scholarship award and give a short speech about her time here on campus. And while she’s certainly excited about the award and the scholarship funds, Ammons is especially honored by the significance she sees in being chosen by the Alumni Association.
“I think it means that I’m trusted to do a good job and represent the scholarship well,” she said. “I’m very honored to accept [it]. It makes me feel like I’m seen.”
“I know being here has really allowed me to grow roots and find my identity in Christ.”
The Legacy Path
While OKWU was always in the back of Ammons’ mind, it wasn’t until her junior year of high school that she started seriously considering attending. She came on a visit and stayed in the dorms, and the experience made an impact.
“I loved it. I really felt like it could be where I could see myself living for the next four years,” she said.
Ammons’ mother was predictably excited for her daughter to follow in her footsteps, though she stressed the need for Anna to chart her own unique path. “She was really pumped for me to be able to experience what she had experienced,” Ammons said. “She had a very positive feeling.”
The journey towards a marketing degree, the major she’ll graduate with in December, was a long one. Initially, Ammons started as a nursing major, confident of her desire to help others in the field of medicine. When that turned out to be not quite right, she chose psychology, though that also failed to click. Eventually, she joined the business department, settling on marketing as her area of specialty.
Ammons points to major growth during her time at OKWU, both personally and through her classroom work. Personally, the change in circumstance is obvious and life-changing—she got married. She and her husband, Kaz, had dated in high school in Kansas, and they married after their sophomore year at OKWU.
In the classroom, Ammons is most thankful for the boldness she’s received through her OKWU instruction, her ability to think for herself and defend her ideas. “I’ve definitely changed in the amount of confidence I have in myself,” she said. “Before, I don’t think I could have challenged someone else’s idea in the way that I can now.”
“I think it means that I’m trusted to do a good job and represent the scholarship well. I’m very honored to accept it.”
Though she came to the university as a believer, Ammons said she’s still been thankful for the growth she’s experienced and the mentors who have discipled her on campus. “It’s just my ability to make my faith my own [here],” she said. “I know being here has really allowed me to grow roots and find my identity in Christ.”
Charissa Dunn, OKWU’s Alumni Relations Director, says this growth was one of the factors the Alumni Board considered most heavily. “She wrote about family members who attended BWC and MWC, the peace of God she felt when she visited campus as a high school student, and the growth she has experienced while attending here,” Dunn said. “We encourage Anna to pursue her life goal of impacting lives for the Kingdom of God.”
About that—what kind of Kingdom work comes next for the Ammons? Anna isn’t sure, but she’s confident that she and Kaz will find their calling and work faithfully at it.
“I’m not sure where the Lord will call us, but I want to say that we’re not fearful of what the future holds or what God’s plans are,” she said. “I know Kaz and I are capable of being in any situation—which could be frightening, but it’s also not. Because we have trust in the Lord.”
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