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Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) announced Jim Conard as the recipient of this year’s Award of Merit. Conard will be formally honored during the Alumni Awards luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 24, 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 “Greatest Homecoming on Earth” festivities will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.

Jim Conard grew up in Miami, where he spent his youth working at his father Odell’s Texaco service station. Conard attended the Miami First Baptist Church and as a young man, was in Dr. Bruce Carter’s Sunday School class. After attending NEO and transferring to OSU, Dr. Carter asked Conard to return and teach business courses for a 14-week engagement. 14-weeks turned into two years and in 1963, Conard left NEO to become a Texaco sales representative at the Tulsa office. After a 32-year career with Texaco/Chevron, Conard and his wife Barbara now live in Stone Mountain, Ga. After joining Texaco, Conard quickly ascended the company’s management structure and became a retail manager in 1981. Conard, his wife, and their two children, Michelle and Sherrie, travelled the United States for Texaco, living in Houston, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; New York City; Trumble, Conn.; and Atlanta, Ga.

During their travels, the Conard’s remained dedicated to public service and the improvement of NEO. Taking advantage of the Texaco matching gifts program, Conard donated to the NEO Development Foundation. His involvement with the development of the College led to him being offered a position on the Development Foundation Board. Conard spent ten years working with the Foundation Board and served as the chair of the investment committee, where he developed eight building-blocks for long-term investment. He was also instrumental in developing the Olympic display that NEO donated to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Having worked with Charles Banks Wilson, Conard received several prints, some of which now hang on the NEO campus.

In addition to his volunteer service to NEO, the Conard’s are also active in local and nationwide community service. As a Texaco retiree, Conard has developed the “Texaco Memorabilia Display” at the Dobson Museum in Miami, Okla. He also volunteered as a consultant for the “American Enterprise” exhibit in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Conard has also developed a documentary film pilot project that shares the history of Miami and Route 66. His website, route66texaco.com, is a guide to Texaco exhibits along Route 66. The Conard’s also volunteer extensively at their local Baptist Church and within their community in Stone Mountain. “It is a privilege to recognize Jim Conard with the Award of Merit honor,” says Jennifer Hessee, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation. “Jim has a longstanding history with NEO. He is not only a former faculty member, but he spent a decade serving on the NEO Development Foundation Board of Trustees raising money for student scholarships and campus programs. He has been a true ambassador for NEO.”

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