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Michele Smith Inducted to OSU Alumni Hall of Fame


March - Orange Bytes (OSU Alumni Publication)

Stillwater OK

A champion, a pioneer, a visionary and an explorer were the words used to describe four new members of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Hall of Fame.

Gene Batchelder, John A. Clerico, Lew Meibergen and Michele Smith were all recognized by the OSU Alumni Association at an induction ceremony Friday evening at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center.

Nearly 300 friends and supporters were in attendance, including OSU alumnus and Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, former OSU president and Oklahoma State Senator Jim Halligan, retired U.S. Army General Tommy Franks, OSU alumna and emcee Jenifer Reynolds and numerous OSU dignitaries.

“These inductees have done a tremendous amount for our university,” said OSU President Burns Hargis at the ceremony. “They represent our university everywhere they go. It’s not hard to find people who deserve the Hall of Fame honor but I can assure you the four we’re honoring tonight deserve it as much as anybody ever could.”

Induction into the OSU Alumni Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the OSU Alumni Association. It recognizes alumni and former students with outstanding lifetime achievements in society and professional life.

A Visionary
Gene Batchelder of Houston, Texas, graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for ConocoPhillips in Houston, Texas. He serves on both the company’s Management Committee and Strategy Committee.

While at OSU, Batchelder was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After graduating from OSU and serving in the U.S. Army, Batchelder went to work for Ford Motor Company. He joined Phillips Petroleum Company in 1972 and has held numerous positions throughout his almost 40 year career at ConocoPhillips, including President of Phillips Driscopipe, Inc., Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of GPM Gas Corporation and Chief Information Officer.

“As a very proud Oklahoma State graduate, I am deeply honored,” Batchelder said after his induction. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

An Explorer
John A. Clerico of Tulsa, Okla., graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in general business. He is currently the Chairman and owner of ChartMark Investments, Inc., an independent advisory firm that manages equity funds for individuals and small pension funds, based in Tulsa, Okla. He co-founded the firm in 2000, and, in addition to his role as chairman, he serves as the registered financial adviser, where he leads the everyday portfolio management and strategic direction of the firm.

While a student at OSU, Clerico was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He completed his postgraduate studies at the University of Missouri and University of Colorado. Clerico went on to work as the Financial Officer for Conoco, Inc. & Phillips Petroleum Company from 1965 to 1983. He then became the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for Union Carbide Corp. Finally, before co-founding ChartMark, Clerico worked for Praxair, Inc., where he held several positions, including the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director.

“It’s an important honor to me to be named to the OSU Alumni Hall of Fame,” said Clerico following his induction. “I’ve received much more from Oklahoma State than I’m ever going to be able to give back.”

A Pioneer
Lew Meibergen of Enid, Okla., graduated from Oklahoma A&M in 1953 with his bachelor’s degree in animal science. Meibergen is Chairman of the Board and President of Johnston Enterprises, Incorporated in Enid, Okla. Johnston Enterprises is the sole owner of W.B. Johnston Grain Company, Johnston’s Seed Company and Johnston’s Port 33.

Meibergen purchased Johnston Enterprises from his family in 1976. Meibergen’s business is the largest independent grain company in Oklahoma. Johnston Enterprises has grain operations consisting of 22 elevators in Oklahoma and Texas. Johnston Seed Company operates primarily in Oklahoma and works closely with OSU in developing turf grasses. The company just completed a $10 million added processing facility in Shattuck, Okla., to supply mill ready wheat for Californian & Mexican millers. Johnston’s Port 33 operates ports in Oklahoma, Louisiana and West Virginia. In 2010, the Port completed construction of additional docks in Waggoner County, Oklahoma.

“I can’t express myself how much Oklahoma A&M has meant to me,” Meibergen said after his induction. “I owe them a great gratitude and thanks for all they have done and taught me.”

A Champion
Michele Smith graduated from OSU in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness. As a pitcher for the Cowgirls softball team, she set eight OSU records and was a three-time All-Big Eight selection, a two-time All-Big Eight Academic selection and a two-time All-American. She now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she has taken up training for triathlons and long-distance biking.

After graduating from OSU, Smith went on to win two U.S. Olympic Softball Gold Medals, three World Championships and two Pan American Games. She followed up her U.S. National Team success with a record setting eight championships during her unprecedented 16-year career in the Japan Professional Softball League. She now serves as a softball commentator for ESPN and a worldwide humanitarian representative for Musco Lighting.

“The best decision I ever made was coming here to Oklahoma State University,” Smith said following her induction. “This is a very special moment for me and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.”

Photos taken by OK Party Pix at the event can be purchased online at under "OSU HALL OF FAME - 2.18.2011".

For more information about the OSU Alumni Association's alumni awards program or to submit a nomination, visit or contact Melissa Mourer at 405.744.3388.

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