On December 10, Connors State College hosted a dedication ceremony for the newly completed Agriculture Hall of Fame. In honor of his years of service to the institution, the college named the facility for Rep., or as most know him, “Coach”, Jerry McPeak, a livestock judging coach, psychology instructor and Dean of Men for Connors State.
“Jerry McPeak is, without a doubt, a man who has left a mark on this college, and deserves a permanent place on this institution,” said Dr. Ron Ramming, Interim President of Connors State College. “I hope the folks heard the reoccurring themes of teams, loyalty, mental toughness, effort – these are the things Coach taught and the way he lives. We could say thank you ‘til next week, but it would never be enough.”
The ceremony took place at the Indoor Arena and McPeak Agriculture Hall of Fame facility on the Warner, Oklahoma, campus. In addition to the more than 400 attendees, on hand to make presentations were: former Connors State College president and current president for Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Dr. Tim Faltyn; Connors alumni Blake Nelson, Karen Sneary, and Bruce Ragsdale; Steve Mullins, former general counsel for Gov. Mary Fallin; and Rep. McPeak’s legislative aide, Janice Stotts.
Nelson, Executive Vice President for the American Maine-Anjou Association, relayed that McPeak provided students with an opportunity to be a part of something, and be the best in the nation, while at Connors State College.
“You will not find a person, who believes in their kids, more than he does,” said Nelson. “There are many coaches who teach how to be successful in contests, but there are only a few who teach kids to be successful in life.”
With a tenure that began in 1978, McPeak taught courses in agriculture and psychology and began his work as coach of the livestock judging team. With an incomparable spirit and a matchless work ethic, he lead teams to countless accomplishments and unparalleled success: of 118 contests entered throughout the 1990s, Connors State ranked in the top 10 in 112 contests, top 5 in 92 contests, and won first place in 22 competitions. Teams won both the American Royal, and the North American International Livestock Exposition in 1997.
“My opportunity here was tremendous,” said McPeak on his time at Connors State College. “I got to be around the very best people in the world. We are the heart of America; the very best people in America.”
“I got to be around folks who were so good – generations of them,” continued McPeak. “Shoot, we had it made.”
Upon leaving Connors, McPeak won a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he served the residents of McIntosh, Muskogee and Wagoner counties from 2004 to 2016. The collective McPeak family has held “Be A Champ Show Cattle and Lamb Camps” at Connors State College for the past 35 years, guiding Oklahoma youth, as well as youth from 37 states and Canada, to gain confidence in the livestock show arena and in life.
In addition to the facility being named in his honor, Mullins announced that December 10, 2016, was “Jerry McPeak Day” throughout the state of Oklahoma, as proclaimed by Gov. Mary Fallin.
The newly completed agricultural historical display inside the McPeak Agriculture Hall of Fame showcases the college’s agricultural history with information on faculty and staff, teams, the farm and livestock, extension programs and more.
According to Dr. Faltyn, the reason you build halls of fame is, when you have a college that has done so many great things for so many years, you have to give people a reason to come back.
“Why you choose people is different,” said Dr. Faltyn. “You choose people because they make a difference in people’s lives, you choose them because they do the right thing, even when people are not watching, even though they won’t get credit for it.”
Gifts to expand the McPeak Agriculture Hall of Fame or to the college’s agricultural programs can be sent to the Connors Development Foundation. Contact Ryan Blanton, Director, for more details, at (918) 463-6343.