Potts Award of Excellence
Lt. General William E. Potts, a native of Heavener, Okla attended the Oklahoma Military Academy with distinction and honor from 1937-1941. Upon graduation, he entered the armed forces of the United States in service to his country and in the course of his service suffered grievous wounds in battle. Potts participated in 15 campaigns, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Although he was 19 when he completed his military training, he was commissioned as a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant within six weeks of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Bill Ramsay '61
2023 Potts Award Recipient
For Bill Ramsay, receiving the Lt. Gen. William E. Potts Award of Excellence closes a circle that began nearly 40 years ago, when the award’s namesake returned to Claremore to be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Academy Hall of Fame. “I think that’s the first OMA reunion I went to,” says Ramsay. I saw General Potts then, found out who he was, and learned about him. I know that his service to the country was enormous; it’s humbling and rewarding to get an award that’s named after him.”
Ramsay believes that he’s been to every reunion since then, “except one or two, when my granddaughters were born.” Along the way, he’s been one of the most active of all former cadets, serving two terms as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and working for many years with the OMA Museum, most recently as the volunteer leader for its extensive renovation. His dedication to the academy and its people is reflected in his being named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2014 and a Hall of Fame inductee in 2018.
When asked about his continued devotion to OMA, Ramsay notes that he’s far from the only one. “Ten thousand people went to school here,” he says. “It’s been over 50 years since the last graduation. And here we are, still involved. Why is that? “Well, for me, coming up here to take my junior year of high school over really turned my life around. I learned discipline. I learned study habits. I learned what the world was all about at a young age, which gave me a leg up when I went out into the real world.”
For Ramsay, the real world – following high school graduation from OMA and a business management degree from the University of Tulsa -- included a 40-year career in telecommunications at Southwestern Bell, AT&T, and WilTel, where he received the WilTel Presidents Club Award on five separate occasions. When he retired in 2007, he was Director of Global Wholesale Accounts for Verizon.
One of the first wave of teenage Tulsa rock ‘n’ rollers, Ramsay continued to perform as a musician as well, something he’d been able to do even as a cadet. “I met some other guys [at OMA] who played, and they did let us play a little rock ‘n’ roll music,” he recalls with a chuckle. “That was a redeeming factor, I thought, and we had fun doing it.”
While pursuing his telecommunications career, Ramsay also devoted time and energy to such volunteer efforts and organizations as the United Way, Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Junior Achievement, and the Adopt-A-School program, in addition to the OMA Alumni Association – including, for the past few years, his work with the museum.“Getting involved in the museum was a major deal,” he says. “At the time, I didn’t know how much I was going to be involved. Luckily, I had the right skills at the right place at the right time.
“That labor,” he adds, “has been well-rewarding to me, to see what’s come out of it and to see the people who are enjoying it. It’s not just alumni, either. They’re important, but it’s also important that as time moves on, people are interested in seeing what was accomplished here by the cadets. We’ve had hundreds of visitors in the museum since we reopened in late September, and we’re running the RSU freshman orientation classes through. The youngsters seem to enjoy seeing it.”
And Bill Ramsay enjoys knowing that he had something to do with preserving and perpetuating the images of life on the Hill that he and his thousands of fellow cadets experienced. His continued involvement with OMA, he believes, is a way of acknowledging its profound and lasting impact on him. “OMA played a part in just about everything I did afterwards,” he says. “The two years I spent at OMA molded my life.”
Randy Vierling '63
2022 Potts Award Recipient
Randy Vierling attended high school and junior college at OMA. He graduated in 1963 and then attended the University of Oklahoma. He participated in many activities while at OMA and received an Outstanding Cadet Identification Disc Merit Ribbon, an Athletic Ribbon, and was the Secretary/Treasurer of his junior college sophomore class.
Vierling was a professional pilot for 32 years and retired from American Airlines as an Instructor Captain. Following his retirement, he remained an active pilot serving a number of companies and individuals, including Dorchester Capital and the owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. He has served as an accident prevention counselor for the Federal Aviation Administration. He has logged more than 27,000 accident-free hours during his more than four decades of flying.
Vierling served as past President of the OMA Alumni Association and has served on the OMA Alumni Board of Directors for many years.
Mr. Phil Goldfarb, '69
2021 Potts Award Recipient
While a President and Dean's honor roll student at OMA, he was awarded the Outstanding Cadet Identification Disk, selected for Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges, held the Academic Achievement Wreath, Military Proficiency Ribbon, member of the Judges Bench, Honor Court Committee, Platoon Leader of the Best Drilled Platoon, Best Drilled Company, Cheerleader, Cadet Capers, Chevron Society, New Cadet Detail, and was the Secretary-Treasurer of the Saber Society as well as his Junior College Sophomore Class.
He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences followed by graduate school at the University of Oklahoma where he majored in Pharmacy and Business. After Pharmacy School, he fulfilled his active military commitment at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas in the Medical Service Corps where he was an Administrative Officer at Brooke Army Medical Center, retiring as a Captain, USAR.
In 1975 he began his business career with Bristol Myers, where after five years he became the youngest District Manager in the Company's history at that time with sales and marketing responsibilities over four States. In 1988 he started with a small medical communications company and in a 10 year period; help build it from sales of $5 million to $250 million before assisting in taking the company public. After five years as a public company, it was bought by Cardinal Health, a Fortune 19 company where he worked for five additional years before retiring as Vice President of Operations.
After his early retirement, Phil started his own healthcare consulting company, was the founding and current president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Tulsa, as well as being a board member and officer of the Sherwin Miller Museum of Art. In 2013, he assisted the new Military History Museum in Broken Arrow, OK with their opening as the Preparator and Curator. He has written articles and lectured extensively on various topics in genealogy and in 2014 published his first book in a series titled A Page of History: Passport Applications 1851-1914.
As a Board Member, Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and President-elect of the OMA Alumni Association, he spearheaded the "Finding Lost Alumni Project" which has resulted to date in the location of over 1,300 living alumni who were "lost" and in addition has found over 950 "lost alumni" who were deceased. Phil has also been on the Hall of Fame/Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee for seven years and was the Chairman for three years. Phil and his wife of over 38 years Lisa, have two children and two grandchildren.
Mr. Bruce Dougherty, ‘61 (Posthumously)
2019 Potts Award Recipient
While at OMA, Bruce held the rank of Captain and also was part of the Chevron Society, Merit Ribbon, Cadet Capers, and Saber Society.
Bruce eventually moved to Dallas where he passed away on November 30, 1987.
Mr. James R. Elder, ‘67
2019 Potts Award Recipient
James R. Elder retired from active law practice in 2017 after 45 years of trials all over northeastern Oklahoma. He worked in the areas of civil liability, business and corporate law, personal injury, and workers’ compensation.
He received a law degree from the University of Tulsa and bachelor’s degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and was admitted to practice law before the Oklahoma Court of Appeals, Oklahoma Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
His tenure as an OMA cadet resulted in a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Upon graduation from law school, he fulfilled his active duty obligation and returned to the U.S. Army Reserves until 1979, when he was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain.
Mr. Barry Grabel, ‘64
2019 Potts Award Recipient
While at OMA, Barry Grabel was awarded the Outstanding Cadet ID Disc, was Assistant Band Commander, Doogie and Pep Band Commander, top 10% military, Honor Committee, Saber Society, and was a Cadet 1LT.
After OMA, he graduated Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in May 1966 and received his commission as a 2LT on May 27, 1966.
After attending Armor Officer Basic Course at Ft. Knox, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, 3rd Recon Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry in Schweinfurt, Germany where his assignments included Cavalry Platoon Leader, Squadron Adjutant, Troop Commander and Squadron S-3.
Upon returning to the States, he completed the Armor Officer Advanced Course, Army Reserve Recruiting School as well as the Command and General Staff College. He has held numerous Command positions including Assistant Commandant 4th Army NCO Academy; Commander 215th Supply Company, Battalion Commander 1st Bn, 89th Regt, 402 Bde; Battalion Commander 2nd Bn, 379th Regt. 1st Bde, 95th Division. In his civilian position, he was a Recruiting Specialist, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion.
In May 1990, he was promoted to a full Colonel and assigned to the Tulsa Area Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as Director of Military Operation and retired from the military in May 1996 after a 30-year career.
A car and racing enthusiast, Barry has collected and built classic cars for more than 50 years. In 2002, he was the General Manager of the Tulsa Speedway and has owned and promoted the Oil Capital Racing series from 2004-2018.
Lt. Col. Edwin Price Ramsey ‘37 (Posthumously)
2017 Potts Award Recipient
Colonel Edwin P. Ramsey comes from the heart of America. Born in Illinois and raised in Kansas, he graduated from the Oklahoma Military Academy. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Calvary Reserve in May of 1938, he entered active service in February of 1941 with the famous 11th Cavalry Regiment at Campo, California.
In June of 1941, he volunteered for service in the Philippines with the elite 26th Cavalry Regiment of the famous Philippine Scouts. Then came that fateful day in December and the following invasion of the Philippines. Fighting desperate rear guard actions he was personally awarded the Silver Star for gallantry by General Johnathan Wainwright for leading the last ever US Army Horse Cavalry charge at the village of Morong, Bataan, on January 16, 1942.
Escaping after the surrender of Bataan, he formed the guerilla forces in Central Luzon, then came three years of agonizing guerilla warfare, waged by courageous Americans and Filipinos on Luzon Island, to prepare the way for the return of General MacArthur. Three years of death and disease were his constant companions at every bend of the jungle trail. Using his cavalry background of shock and mobility, he also based his guerilla tactics of “Farmers by day and Warriors by night,” on the writings of Mao Tse Tung. Fighting both the Imperial Japanese Army and the Communist Huk guerillas he sent reams of critical intelligence information to General MacArthur to prepare for his liberation of the Philippines. His leadership was crucial during this time. In June of 1945, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur personally awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross in Manila.
His awards from the United States include: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and three President Unit Citations. His awards from the Philippines include: the Distinguished Conduct Star, the Distinguished Service Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Gold Cross, the Legion of Honor (Degree of Commander) the Cross of Valor and the Wounded Personnel Medal. Because of his years of experience in Unconventional Warfare, on July 16th of 2001, he was honored by being made the newest Officer of the Special Forces and given the Green Beret. He received the OMA Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1992 and Hall of Fame in 1994.
In his distinguished business career, Colonel Ramsey has served as President of Ralph M. Parson Electronics, President of R & R International of Manila & Hong Kong, President of Ramsey Industries of Taiwan, Vice President of Hughes Aircraft International in the Far East and Director of Hughes International Satellite Communications Ground Systems.
Colonel Ramsey is the author of Lieutenant Ramsey’s War, published by Brassey’s Incorporated. Daily Variety, in its, January 9, 2002 issue, reported that “Ramsey’s War” was scheduled to be made into a movie. Ed’s documentary: “Never Surrender: The Ed Ramsey Story” had its World Premiere on November 13, 2016 at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California. Colonel Ramsey’s wife, Raquel, currently resides in Los Angeles.
Jim Morrison '52
2016 Potts Award Recipient
Jim Morrison ’52 has been instrumental in defining the OMA legacy for future generations by selflessly giving back his time and talents. From hardscrabble roots, Morrison was able to attend OMA and then flourish at the rigorously demanding school, eventually graduating from junior college in 1952. He went on to attend the University of Oklahoma on an athletic scholarship and participating in ROTC. After graduation, he served two years of active duty in the Army and served three decades with the U.S. Army Reserves, retiring as a colonel.
In his business career, he began working as an industrial engineer with Colgate Palmolive Co., and later as a sales engineer with the Universal Atlas Cerement Division of United States Steel Corp., which was the first step in his long and distinguished career overseeing concrete companies.
He has been passionate about continuing the OMA legacy through the work of its alumni association, serving for many years on its board of directors and faithfully participating in OMA events over the years. He was selected as an OMA Distinguished Alumnus in 1990 and OMA Hall of Fame in 1996. A passionate believer in the power of education, he also has given back to OMA’s legacy institutions, with service to the schools’ governing boards and foundation. Morrison and his wife have established the Jim and Norma Morrison Scholarship Endowment at RSU, as well as supporting initiatives both small and large on campus, including the establishment of the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s GOLD program at RSU.
Whenever there has been a need, Jim has stood on the front line, ready and willing to carry on the OMA legacy while strengthening educational opportunities for all Oklahomans.
2013 Potts Award Recipient
Dr. Richard Mosier, RSU President Emeritus
2012 Potts Award Recipient
Richard Mosier was born and raised on his parent’s wheat and cattle ranch in Sheridan County in far Northwest Kansas. The initial purchase of the headquarters of his birthplace was made by his great grandparents in 1884. He is the representative of the fourth generation of his family to be entrusted with the management of the ranch.
In 1972, Mosier came to Claremore from the founding presidency of Colby Community College to assume the responsibility for affecting the change of the Oklahoma Military Academy to a comprehensive, state assisted community college, Claremore Junior College. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1996 having served as a vocational agriculture instructor, science and mathematics instructor, Assistant Principal, Principal/Superintendent of Sheridan County Community High School, Assistant Superintendent of the Dodge City Public Schools and President at Colby and Claremore during his career in education.
He and his wife Mary are the parents of five children and grandparents to eight. They live in Claremore where they maintain a small herd of purebred Angus cattle in cooperation with three of their sons and their wives. Mosier is a three time past club president and long time member of Rotary. He and Mary along with two of their sons are Paul Harris Fellows.
Mosier maintains his more than 50-year membership in the Hoxie Masonic Lodge and his membership in the Scottish Rite of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Mosier was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also inducted as an Honorary OMA Hall of Fame member in 1997 and awarded the Lt. General William E. Potts Award of Excellence in 2012. He later was inducted into the Claremore Hall of Fame in 2017.
Reciel Eugene Little '56
2011 Potts Award Recipient
Gene Little arrived at the OMA Campus in fall 1951 and he went on to complete three years in High School and two years at OMA Junior College before graduating in 1956. During his time on ‘The Hill,’ he received numerous honors including Best Drilled Platoon, Best Drilled Company and Best Drilled Cadet, Distinguished Military Student, Outstanding Cadet Identification Disk and was OMA Marching Band Commander. He also was selected as Battalion Commander for War Board.
He went on to attend Oklahoma A&M College and the University of Tulsa, before enlisting in the U.S. Navy after he was offered a spot in its “A” School, where he earned a Special Electronics Technician rating. He said his five years at OMA made the Navy boot camp experience “a breeze” and he earned the American Spirit Honor Award at Final Parade.
His first duty station was at the Naval Air Station Alameda in California, where he was assigned to a P2V “sub hunter” squadron. The following year, he was assigned to a new AWACS squadron in Hawaii. These “Super Connies” would routinely fly from Midway Island to Alaska, which was a 15-hour flight. During these flights, they would serve as “the Pacific Barrier” for any aircraft coming from Russia. Two years later, he was assigned to the radar shop on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state.
After his Navy service, he worked for Teledyne Semiconductor designing and building integrated circuits for 17 years, then joined Philips Semiconductor as a fabrication planning manager for the U.S. plant in Orem, Utah. He also served at fabrication facilities in Caen, France and the Netherlands. After 21 years with the company, he retired in 2001.
In 2003, he moved back to Oklahoma, and shortly afterwards was asked if he would like to take over as Curator of the OMA Museum at Rogers State University. His work with the museum has been transformative, as he has helped renovate the Museum from top to bottom to best display OMA memorabilia, including items donated by alumni. Little also has been instrumental in efforts to provide frames for photos of all OMA students who were killed during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, as well as the displays for Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame honorees.
2007 Potts Award Recipients
- Dr. Danette Boyle
- Colonel John Horne
About Lt. General William E. Potts, ‘41
After a promotion by Gen. George Patton, he became the youngest field grade officer to lead a battalion in Europe. He commanded an armored cavalry unit responsible for the East-West German border, the Fulda Gap, and the Frankfurt-Berlin autobahn. He served on the Army General Staff, the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the office of the Secretary of Defense, in joint, combined and Allied staff positions, and as the Army representative in the U.S. National Intelligence Community.
During his 33 years of military service, his gallantry, dedication and devotion to duty were recognized by the awarding of fifty decorations from seven nations. His lifetime of dedicated and selfless service has brought distinction, not only to himself, but also to Rogers State University and to the legacy and memory of the Oklahoma Military Academy.
In recognition of and appreciation for this lifetime of service, Lt. General William E. Potts was selected as the first inductee into the Oklahoma Military Academy Hall of Fame and was inducted on June 16, 1984. Potts was the highest ranking alumnus from OMA.
General Potts passed away on August 17, 2005 and shortly after that time the OMA Alumni Association and RSU established the prestigious Lt. General William E. Potts Award of Excellence