About the Founder:
My name is Tommy Ragland, oldest child of Herman and Estelle Ragland. I grew up in a small town in Southeastern Oklahoma where I graduated from high school in 1959. I was not a very good student. Even if I had been motivated to succeed as a student, it was unlikely that I could have found decent employment in the area, much less establish a career. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, there was one significant gift coming my way that would have an enormous effect on my future and provide a path to a much better life.
Somehow, my parents realized that I needed a college education if I was to avoid struggling all my life just to scrape out a living. Fortunately, they were willing to make the sacrifices required to help me get a degree.
Based solely on their insistence, I enrolled at Eastern Oklahoma State Junior College. By some fluke, I ended up in engineering classes. My expectations were not very high and the first semesters were difficult. However, I developed study habits that I lacked in high school and I was able to get adequate results. After two years, I had an Associate Degree. I then transferred to Oklahoma State University where I completed my engineering degree.
When I graduated, my prospects for the future had changed drastically. I had multiple, high-paying job offers for almost any region of the country I wanted to consider.
I am convinced that if my parents had not insisted I go to college, I would have struggled my whole life just to make a decent living. Instead, I have had a great life. I have had a rewarding career and I have never had to struggle financially. I’ve done things and seen places that I never dreamed of as a young man growing up in Southeastern Oklahoma.
There is no way I could ever repay my parents for the encouragement and support they gave me in my educational pursuit. Instead, I’m trying to create a legacy in their names. I plan to do this by providing financial assistance to students who wish to acquire a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) degree. It is my hope that this assistance will provide them with the opportunity to live more rewarding lives than they might have otherwise.