February 1, 2023

Evelyn Schaefer (left) and Dr. Mautra Staley Jones (right). Photo by Christian Brown

"In all seriousness, the first pitch was a fun experience. And so again, all for the sake of raising awareness about OCCC and what we do," Dr. Jones states.

On Saturday, June 25, 2022, the proud President of OCCC threw the first pitch at the OKC Dodgers game, representing the OCCC Alumni Association and the Foundation of OCCC. Although OKC lost 8-3, this was still a special moment for the crowd and the members of O-trip. 

Occurring at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, OKC Dodgers vs Round Rock. But before the game starts O-trip’s proud President, Dr. Mautra Staley Jones is throwing the first pitch to start off the game to bring awareness to the OCCC community. 

“The special occasion is a convening of our alumni. We, the Foundation, worked alongside the Office of the President and the Alumni Association to put together an event that would allow the campus community to come together. We invited faculty, staff, and we invited the entire campus community to come out and fellowship. Fellowship together and re-engage those who maybe haven’t been involved with the institution. And we all went out for a wonderful evening of fellowship and celebrating OCCC,” Jones states. 

Alongside Dr. Jones, the brains behind this event, Evelyn Schaefer has worked with the Foundation and partnered with the Alumni Association to get together at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark to watch the President of OCCC throw the first pitch and gather with the O-trip community to watch the Dodgers and Round Rock play ball. 

“We wanted to take this time to reach out to our alumni, and not just invite them back to our campus, but invite them into the community to be a part of all we do. You know, we aren’t just South Oklahoma City. We’re all of Oklahoma City and many metro areas beyond that. And so we gave our alumni and their families a chance to come out to the ballpark, do something fun, and watch the President throw out the first pitch. And it’s just all a part of our effort to once again, create that vibrant community at OCCC,” Schaefer explains

After throwing the first pitch, Dr. Jones realized she may “need to stick to higher education.” But this moment has allowed the community to grow and raise awareness of the school’s motives.

“I feel like I need to stick to higher education. In all seriousness, the first pitch was a fun experience. And so again, all for the sake of raising awareness about OCCC and what we do. And they mentioned that we are celebrating our 50th year, so certainly proud of that fact. But it was great. It was exhilarating,” Jones expresses. 

As an observer, Schaefer was ecstatic to see Jones start off Saturday’s game. 

“For one, I don’t know anyone who’s ever thrown out the first pitch. So, I feel like I’m with a celebrity. And then just having a chance to meet with 100 alumni, faculty, staff and their families sharing an evening with them. So, it’s special and we love it,” she states.  

“The excitement is in the air” as the game begins and the players line up. While foul balls made it into the stands, providing souvenirs for fans, and the runners hit their bases, the OKC Dodgers had fans on their toes all night. 

Khi Davis (left) and Dr. Mautra Staley Jones (right). Photo by Christian Brown

Schaefer is excited about the adrenaline running through the crowd. She looks forward to cherishing this moment with the community. 

“I love the Dodgers game. And even though I may not know the players, I love the whole atmosphere surrounding it, you see everything from little babies, to grandparents, with their kids and their grandkids. And it’s just such a fun atmosphere. And it’s a fun thing for our OCCC community to do, to bring their families out for this,” she explains. 

Ready to beat the heat, Dr. Jones has brought out her family to join the OCCC community and watch the game together. 

“We are all excited. The excitement is in the air, even though it is hot out here. The announcers say it’s one of the hottest days right now for you know, the start of the summer…we are gathered to celebrate OCCC to just connect and find out what’s going on in each other’s lives. And hopefully people want to continue to engage with the institution. The Foundation staff worked really hard with the Alumni Association. And so we are going to have an amazing evening, catching up and visiting…there are so many things to celebrate. And this evening is really again, just a way to do that together,” she expresses. 

As each inning passes, and as the night goes on, the Dodgers sadly take a loss to Round Rock, final score being 8-3. But this doesn’t take away from the symbolism it holds for OCCC, as Dr. Jones is the first President of color on this campus, taking her step up during the school’s 50th year of being open. This moment is worth remembering and carrying into the new era of OCCC. Cheers to 50 years, and let’s go, Dodgers.

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