OSU Institute of Technology will celebrate the 226th graduating class in Covelle Hall on Friday, December 15, 2023, at 5 p.m.
With an impressive professional background, Chris Benge, interim Vice President of Operations at OSUIT, will be the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremony. In his role, Benge leads the campus and provides strategic vision for OSUIT.
Benge's diverse background includes working alongside his father in a family-owned painting and construction business before dedicating 12 years to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in critical roles such as Chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee and Speaker of the House.
After his House term, Benge assumed advisory roles for Mayor Dewey Bartlett before becoming Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Tulsa Regional Chamber. Later, he was appointed as Oklahoma's Secretary of Native American Affairs before transitioning to Chief of Staff for Governor Mary Fallin.
Benge's commitment to public service led him to the OSU Center for Health Sciences and, in 2023, to his current role as interim Vice President of Operations at OSUIT.
"As our graduates prepare to begin their career, they do so with the understanding that they are shaping the landscape of Oklahoma's growing workforce," shared former Speaker Benge.
Kiki Davis, a native of Dallas, Texas, will serve as the student speaker for the graduation ceremony. She is graduating from the School of Arts, Sciences & Health with an Associate in Science in Pre-Professional Studies.
"When I considered joining the MPower program and met with Katie Quillin, I did it to check off a box; it was my last stop before giving up," shared Davis. "But what I found here was the one thing I needed the most. I found the one person who believed in me."
In 2019, Davis began her journey at OSUIT through the Workforce & Economic Development program MPower, a grant program available to TANF participants that allows single parents access to training and certifications, providing them with the job skills needed to secure a job that can financially support their family. Through MPower, Davis has obtained her CNA, Medical Office Assistant certification, and Medical Billing and Coding certificate. She is a National Society of Leadership and Success member and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
She is passionate about giving back and being the support that she once needed.
"It is an honor to to be able to represent my class, myself, and the program as the student speaker. Upon graduation, I plan to begin my career as a Family Services Specialist with Oklahoma DHS before continuing to earn my bachelor's degree. I have been there, I know what it is like, I've been there, and I want to encourage others to believe in themselves, too."
For more information or updates regarding the 226th commencement ceremonies, please visit osuit.edu/commencement.