Alumni Updates

OKWU on the Move

1. Dr. Jerry Pence (‘75) retired after 51 years of pastoring. The former General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church and most recently 10-year pastor of Brooksville Wesleyan moved to Bartlesville with his wife, Calene (Mueller ‘75).  

When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines with Persecuted Christians, written by Todd Nettleton (’92), was recently announced as winner of the 2022 Christian Book Award in the category of Biography and Memoir. The book shares 40 stories from persecuted Christians Todd has met in 20+ years serving at The Voice of the Martyrs.  

2. Emily Balliviero (‘21) is currently serving as a new grad pediatric nurse in Little Rock, Arkansas, on a cardiovascular intensive care unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

3. Chris (‘10) and Whitney (White, ‘10) Breiland have moved to Tulsa and are now serving at Wright Christian Academy. Whitney serves as the school counselor and Chris is the high school principal, coordinating chapel as well. They have a 4-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and recently welcomed boy/girl twins, Shepherd and Caroline. 

4. Larissa Hale (‘20) teaches 5th grade at Wilson Elementary School, and was selected by Bartlesville Public Schools as Rookie Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023, receiving her award at the District Teacher of the Year celebration. Her husband, Anthony (‘19), is a Management Trainee at Bargain Center. They have a 3-year-old Border Collie, Daisy, and a 5-year-old Bombay cat, Jade.

5. Shane (‘15 & ‘17) and Krista (‘16 & ‘19) Grate welcomed their firstborn son, Isaiah, on November 20, 2021. Shane works for The Voice of the Martyrs and Krista is a 3rd grade teacher at Richard Kane Elementary School. 

6. Don (‘54) and Naomi (Ireland, ‘58) Mueller are celebrating a wonderful life of service to the Lord. They have been married for 64 years. Both taught for a time at preceding OKWU institutions, while Naomi served for decades on the OKWU Board of Trustees, receiving the President’s Award in 2012. This May, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Dr. Dunn at commencement.

7. Stevan (’10) and Sladjana (’19) Djukic welcomed a beautiful daughter, Senna, to their family on April 29, 2022. Stevan serves as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer program and campus safety director at OKWU.

8. Clay (‘73) and Sherlene (‘70) Gibbs celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December 2021. They are retired and live near Nashville, close to their two children and six grandchildren. Their retirement comes after careers in the pastorate and engineering field for Clay and a career in guidance counseling for Sherlene.  

9. Rebecka Peterson (‘10) was named the 2022 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year in March 2022. As Teacher of the Year, Peterson will spend one year on hiatus, working as an ambassador for teachers in the state public school system.

Amber (Mitchell, ‘05) Stewart and her husband recently purchased the Jarrett Farms property, between Bartlesville and Tulsa. They will renovate the property and use it to host community events, outreach opportunities, weddings, leadership retreats, and so much more, and ask for prayers as they embark on this new journey of the Lord.  

10. Tommy and Sarah (Kingery ‘07) Blain welcomed twin boys, Lucas, and Lane, on February 25, 2022. Twice the cuteness!

11. Alex (’19) and Megan (’19) Young welcomed their firstborn son, Ezra, on April 14, 2022. They both serve on the Student Development team at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

Jake Good (‘15) teaches 6th and 7th grade science at Central Middle School in Bartlesville. He and his wife have been married for seven years and have one daughter together. They are expecting another child in October. In December of 2021, Jake graduated with a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, hoping to transition to school administration.

Spenser White (‘20) took a position at Waggoner’s Inc., selling pew cushions to churches and gathering places around the country. He and his wife, Billie (’19), live in Hutchinson, Kansas.

12. Don Daake (‘71) is a professor emeritus at Olivet Nazarene University. During his career, he has written or co-written over 350 columns for the Kankakee Illinois Daily Journal on such topics as positive psychology, emotional intelligence, leadership, and marketing—all from a Christian perspective. Several columns have been picked up by organizations such as the Associated Press and CBS online. Much of his writing is available online at his website.

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