Chef Aaron Ware's journey with OSU Institute of Technology began long before he joined the Culinary Arts program as a faculty member; his time on campus started as a student.
After serving culinary classrooms since 2009, he's been named winner of the 2022-2023 Regents Distinguished Teaching Award for his contributions to his Culinary Arts students in the same program that launched his career over 20 years ago.
"OSUIT has been good to me. There is no better place to pour the kindness I was shown as a student than right here in Okmulgee," said Ware. "Love has carried me in so many parts of life, and when I tell my students that I love them, my classroom is a safe place to stay focused and show them kindness, consistency and grace, I truly mean it."
Chef Ware joined the OSUIT Culinary Arts program after his instructor and mentor reached out to him about an opportunity to join the faculty.
"Early in my teaching career, my mentor shared with me that to instruct well, you must aid students to graduation, not hinder them," said Ware, "I am the chef of 2nd, 3rd, and 76th chances because that is what I had. I had help, love, discipline and grace, all when needed."
At this time, Chef Ware feels he has the most to give to his students and the campus community.
"I am at a transition in life. My children are grown, my wife has an amazing career, and I have the time and opportunity to pour into my students and peers. I am hitting a stride in my career, and I love what I do. I am humbled to be able to do it here, where I started," said Ware.
Without his faith, Chef Ware states he would not be here today.
"I am excited and emotional about the chances I have been given. It is through my love and faith, self and others that got me here today. Faith is important to me and is at the core of who I am," said Ware. "I want to be the favor in someone's life. I am humbled and appreciative to wake up every day and be given the chances God has provided me."