Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) announced Dr. Shannon Cunningham as the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Alumna from the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. Cunningham 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. Cunningham graduated from NEO in 2000 with an Associate of Science in Agriculture. While at NEO, Cunningham was heavily involved in student agriculture organizations, judging on the equine judging team and participating in the Aggie Society. She would later complete her bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University (OSU) before returning to NEO as an instructor in 2003. She earned a master’s degree at the University of Arkansas and a Ph.D. from OSU. Cunningham also received her Oklahoma Honorary FFA Degree in 2012 and her National Honorary FFA Degree in 2014.
While at NEO as an instructor, Cunningham taught the equine science courses and coached the horse judging team. During her coaching career, she earned five American Quarter Horse Association World Championships and three All-American Quarter Horse Congress titles. As an instructor, she quickly made her mark and was named the Agriculture Department Chair in 2008.
During her tenure as the Agriculture Department Chair, Dr. Cunningham developed the Aggie Alumni and Friends Association, this outreach group connected current students to Aggie alumni around the nation and allowed the department to initiate the “Building on Tradition” fundraising campaign. The campaign has brought in nearly $2 million, and includes the upgraded and expanded stalling barn and the recently completed Animal Science Lab. After serving as Department Chair, she later became the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs until 2015.
Cunningham currently serves as the Northern Oklahoma College (NOC) Vice President for NOC Stillwater. Among her many duties as the administrator on site, she administers the NOC/OSU Gateway Program. This program is a guided path from NOC to OSU for students who may not be ready for full-time college coursework at OSU, but want the opportunity to begin college in Stillwater. While most of Cunningham’s family is located on the East Coast, she is dedicated to agriculture education and plans to remain in higher education, with roles that continually support student success. Since 2003, she has been actively involved administratively in the National FFA and has served as the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and Committee Member of the National FFA Horse Career Development Event. She was also named a member of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program and the Top 10 Emerging Leaders Under 40 in Stillwater, Okla.
In her free time, she is a voracious reader, enjoys running and the outdoors, and traveling whenever she can. “It is an honor to recognize Dr. Shannon Cunningham as this year’s Outstanding Alumnus for the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences,” said Jennifer Walker, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation. “Dr. Cunningham is well regarded within the Ag community and has a work ethic that is second to none. Her passion for education began as an instructor in the NEO Ag Department and today she serves as one of the State’s most valued leaders in higher education.” For more information, contact Jordan Adams at Jordan.email@example.com.