Cherokee Nation citizens honored with NSU’s Centurion Award

March 11, 2016

Carol Ann Barkley was presented the Centurion Award by NSU President Steve Turner at a luncheon on March 4.

Award recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to community

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation citizens were recently honored for their outstanding leadership skills and commitment to the community.

Janice Randall, executive director of the Cherokee Nation Foundation; Anna Knight, executive director of commerce for Cherokee Nation; Carol Ann Barkley, retired educator and student activist; and the late Dr. Isabel Cobb, a physician and NSU faculty member, were recognized by Northeastern State University with the annual Centurion Award.

Recipients were honored at a luncheon on March 4 at NSU’s University Center.

“I am so proud to have these recipients added to the rolls of the NSU Centurions,” NSU President Dr. Steve Turner said. “Since their graduation from NSU they have devoted their lives to making a difference in our community, and it was an honor to present them with 2016 Centurion medallions.”

The award was established in 2009 to recognize alumni, faculty, staff and students who have positively impacted the university community or the public at large. As part of NSU’s annual Founders Day, 10 names are added to the distinguished list each year.

“I have always had a passion for helping others and feel incredibly blessed that my education and experiences at NSU helped me cultivate a career that allows me to do just that,” said Randall. “I truly believe that our kids are our future, and I work hard every day to ensure we are doing all we can to help them succeed.”

Randall graduated from NSU in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in education and business and has maintained a commitment to community throughout her career. She served 32 years supporting Tahlequah Public Schools and Indian Education and another 10 with the Cherokee County Boys and Girls Club before joining the Cherokee Nation Foundation in 2014.

Randall is well known throughout the community for her strong work ethic, positive attitude and ability to connect students to opportunities that help them reach their full potential.

Anna Knight is a 1986 and 1993 alumna with a bachelor’s in accounting and a master’s in business administration. She is currently the executive director of commerce for Cherokee Nation and has dedicated her career to developing the regional economy in northeastern Oklahoma and helping Cherokee Nation citizens build and manage their financial assets.

Knight will celebrate 23 years of service to the tribe this summer.

“I am humbled beyond belief to share this award with the other Centurions, past and present,” said Knight. “This award represents a number of things, but most importantly, it recognizes our passion for improving the quality of life for others. The work we do energizes our communities and creates new opportunities for Cherokee Nation citizens and those living in northeast Oklahoma.”

Carol Ann Barkley is a 1978 alumna with a bachelor’s in education. She spent 32 years as an educator in Inola Public Schools and is active in numerous community projects. Barkley is currently serving on the board of directors for the NSU Alumni Association and as the board secretary for the NSU Athletic Association.

Barkley’s passion for education is evident in her tireless efforts of advocating for student scholarship opportunities.

“It has always been my goal to make a difference in the lives of others, especially students,” said Barkley. “There is a quote on the back of the fountain located in front of Dobbins Fieldhouse that says, ‘Be the Change,’ and I take that message to heart. Being included in this exceptional group is an honor that I will always cherish, and I hope to continue to be a vessel of change for others, creating opportunities for students to achieve greatness and then pay it forward.”

NSU also recognized Dr. Isabel Cobb, who died in 1947. Cobb was an 1879 graduate of the Cherokee National Female Seminary and former member of the NSU faculty. She was known as the first woman physician in Indian Territory and primarily cared for women and children.