Cameron University remembering late first black professor

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Dr. Valree Wynn, a retired Cameron University professor who passed away last week, was laid to rest on Friday at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Lawton.

Dr. Wynn opened doors for many minorities as she became the first black woman or person to do several things in Lawton and throughout the state.

Wynn was the first one to teach at Lawton High School and Cameron University.

The first to earn a master’s and doctorate in English at Oklahoma State University and to chair the Board of Regents for Oklahoma Schools.

Her accomplishments helped her get into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.

Vice President for University Advancement Albert Johnson Jr. said. Wynn impacted his life in many ways.

“I think in some ways a friend, someone I looked up to, someone who had some major accomplishments in what she was in the first that she had. She’s had so many firsts throughout her career. Somebody, I would say in some ways modeled after just trying to be as committed as she was to doing what’s right,” Johnson said.

Johnson was able to learn so much from Wynn because she and his dad worked together back in the day.

“She was a part of that process when Douglass was desegregated, and my dad was that principal who desegregated those schools, so there’s this unique bond of what was happening in our nation, and what was happening in education. Dr. Wynn as well as my dad were educators focused on students, and it didn’t matter their color they were focused on those students and what they did,” Johnson said.

Cameron President Dr. John McArthur says he’s had the honor to interact with Wynn on several occasions, usually around the springtime when a pageant that’s named after her is getting ready to begin.

“The other name it goes by is the Miss. Black CU pageant. It’s a scholarship pageant for our students they don’t have to be associated with the black student association, but to help those student’s be recognized for their work and provides a scholarship for them for the next year. She had a primary leadership role in developing that pageant and seeing it through its informative years,” McArthur said.

Johnson said he’ll always remember Wynn as a person who was committed to stepping up to the plate and making a difference in her life and others.

“She doesn’t reflect back on the negative stuff that happened in her life. She reflected on what she could do, and she hoped her legacy would be that people would see her as a lifelong learner and someone that had an impact on student lives and no doubt she did,” Johnson said.

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