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Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) announced Dr. Maxine Cornwell as the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Retired Faculty honoree. Cornwell will be formally honored during the Alumni Awards luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 7, at noon in the Calcagno Family Ballroom. All alumni and friends of the college are invited to attend. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under, and may be purchased by contacting the NEO Development Foundation office at 918-540-6115. NEO’s “Peace, Love, and Homecoming” festivities will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. In 1971, NEO invited then Mrs. Maxine Edwards to help establish childcare lab school as part of a state home economics grant. Over the next twenty-two years, Dr. Cornwell continued her own education while guiding hundreds of students through their education at the NEO Child Lab School, which is still in operation. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University and later continued work with a professor who had moved to the University of Nebraska, where she completed her doctoral degree. Cornwell had been raising her children until she followed her mother’s example and began teaching home economics at Commerce High School at age 36. Education, especially childhood education, was important to Dr. Cornwell. Her father taught her to read before she entered school and both her mother and aunt taught home economics.

While at NEO, the success of the lab school program was based on the trust that the Miami community placed in NEO, Dr. Cornwell, and her students. “The people in Miami were gracious and generous. But that also made working with each of those children so memorable. I still remember the cute things the toddlers said and did.”

Many of those children, now adults with children of their own, still keep in regular contact with Dr. Cornwell. She also noted that the close ties she made with her fellow faculty and staff members and the support she received during the tenure of Dr. D. Dayle Creech made working at NEO a wonderful experience.

Cornwell married NEO Maintenance retiree Marvin Cornwell following her retirement from NEO. The couple remained in the Miami area until Marvin’s passing. She now lives in Magnolia, Texas, with her daughter and after a brief adjustment to Texas culture, became involved in several social groups. Along with being an avid reader – which she identifies as the key to childhood development – Cornwell took up quilting and meets with a group each week. “It is a privilege to honor Dr. Cornwell with the Outstanding Retired Faculty Award,” said Jennifer Walker executive director of the NEO Development Foundation. “Because of her foresight, the lab school program she established nearly 50 years ago remains strong today and continues to help get young children off to a good educational start in life.” For more information, contact Jordan Adams at Jordan.m.adams@neo.edu.

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