MESA Founder to Deliver Commencement Address at April 20 Graduation

Commencement speaker Terry May and student respondent Ashley Barton.

Terry May, founder of Tulsa-based company MESA and supporter of OSU Institute of Technology’s Pipeline Integrity Technology program, will deliver the commencement address to the 209th graduating class on April 20.

The graduation ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in Covelle Hall on the OSUIT campus, 1801 E. 4th St., in Okmulgee.

May founded MESA in 1979 and has overseen the company’s growth from a one-man operation to a nationwide provider of corrosion control solutions. MESA works to provide corrosion control systems for pipelines, storage tanks, refineries and water treatment facilities.

MESA’s primarily connection with OSUIT has been through the Pipeline Integrity program, May said.

“We’ve supported that program over the past few years as it has developed into a major industry resource of capable and talented young graduates,” he said. “Several years ago we began an intern program which has led to our hiring multiple graduates. We look forward to continuing that in the future.”

That continued partnership and support is what led to May being asked to speak at this spring’s graduation ceremony.

“I’m a little nervous. This is the first commencement address I’ve ever done,” he said. “Obviously I’m very honored to be invited and I just hope I can avoid tripping on my gown. It would be a plus if I can pass on something of value to the graduates.”

Ashley Barton will serve as the student respondent. Barton is graduating with a Bachelors of Technology in Information Technology, with an emphasis in Software Development and Information Assurance and Forensics.

Before earning her bachelor’s degree, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from OSUIT with an Associate in Applied Science and Associate in Science and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

“OSUIT was different from most other higher education colleges or universities offering degree programs in the IT or computer science field,” Barton said. “OSUIT offered hands-on experience over theoretical work, with an excellent job placement rate.”

One reason for her success, Barton said, was the dedication of instructors and staff that helped her along the way.

“My overall educational experience at OSUIT has been amazing. The faculty and staff genuinely want students to succeed and thrive. I have found that instructors and staff will usually do their best to help any student who seeks it,” she said. “Throughout my tenure at OSUIT, my instructors have been a great source of inspiration and support.”

May said on graduation day he hopes he can impart some useful words of wisdom to the graduates that they can take into their careers.

“Hopefully something meaningful without sounding like an overused cliché,” he said. “Things like ‘this will open doors but it will be up to you to go through them,’ or ‘you’re going to spend the next 30 or 40 years working at something so make sure it’s something you enjoy,’ can sound cliché but they really are meaningful and true.”

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