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NOC to honor distinguished alums March 26

Joe KregerTara Vaughn

Northern Oklahoma College alumni Joe R. Kreger and Tara Tucker Vaughn will be inducted into the NOC Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame March 26.

Joe Kreger, Class of 1959, and Tara Tucker Vaughn, Class of 1989, will be honored in ceremonies taking place during the NOC Alumni and Friends Reunion Dinner in the Renfro Center at NOC Tonkawa at 5:30 p.m.

The public is invited to the event and all NOC Alumni and Friends of the college are encouraged to attend, according to Kayla Wooderson, director of alumni and community relations. The deadline for reservations is March 7.  Reservations are required; the $20 payment for the dinner event may be paid in advance or at the March 26 event.

Also, the Classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 will be honored at the event.

For reservations or for more information, contact Wooderson at 580-628-6473 or e-mail To make reservations online, visit and then click on “Alumni and Friends Reunion Form”.

Joe R. Kreger, a native of Tonkawa, received his Associate of Science degree from Northern Oklahoma College in 1959 and his Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University in 1961.

Following his tenure at NOC and Oklahoma State University, Kreger worked in administrative support positions in the purchasing and geophysics departments of Continental Oil Company while continuing to raise cattle.

Kreger left Continental Oil in the early seventies to establish Kreger Equipment, a state-wide wholesale livestock equipment business which he operated until 2001.  Since that time, his efforts have been devoted to the cattle ranching enterprise.

At age 56, he began writing poetry born of life experiences. Often referred to as “Cowboy Poetry,” his works were passed around, and requests for performances started to come in from farm and ranch organizations, schools and churches. This developed into a heavy speaking schedule that required travel from Texas to Nebraska and Iowa. For a number of years, Joe authored a poetry column in the “High Plains Journal.” His work has also been displayed in numerous other periodicals.

In 1988 Joe was appointed “Poet Laureate of Oklahoma” by Governor Frank Keating. He continued to perform poetry presentations for a number of years, but with the constraints of ranching and advancing age, he became somewhat inactive in poetry activities.

Then, in 2021, Governor Kevin Stitt appointed Joe to the Laureate position once more, making him the first poet to have received this appointment twice, and by two different governors. Now, Joe is traveling across the state once more.

Kreger has been active in Christian Life Church for most of his life. He has taught Sunday School most of the time for a span of around fifty years and has served as Deacon, Elder and Trustee to the present time.

A graduate of Tonkawa High School, Vaughn earned her Associate Degree in Business Administration from Northern Oklahoma College in 1989.    She went on to earn her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing at the University of Central Oklahoma and then earned a Master of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Vaughn has practiced as a registered nurse for over 20 years and has served in the U.S. Army Reserve for over 28 years.  Shortly after joining the Army Reserve in 1993, she attended nursing school, eventually earning her PhD in Nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2019.  Dr. Vaughn currently serves as a registered nurse at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System working in the area of Community Care.  She is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve where she is currently serving as a Public Health Nurse with the 350th Civil Affairs Command.  She is board certified in Advanced Public Health Nursing.

Vaughn has taught in higher education as a Nursing Instructor for Delmar College ADN program and adjunct nursing faculty for Texas A&M Corpus Christi.  Dr. Vaughn has also served as a full-time Clinical Assistant Professor and Interim Director of Nursing for University of Houston at Victoria where she awarded the Johnson Foundation Endowed Professorship.

Vaughn currently resides in Centennial, Colorado.  She is married to Cory Vaughn of 28 years and they have four amazing daughters: Madelyn, Sophia, Sarah, and Jaclyn.  Her mother, Marion Tucker, served as a Vice President for Information Technology at NOC and currently resides in Blackwell, Oklahoma.

The event registration and mixer will be held from 5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. in the Renfro Center lobby with dinner at 5:30 p.m. in the banquet room.  The NOC Roustabouts will provide entertainment.

Northern Oklahoma College, the state’s first public two-year community college, is a multi-campus, land-grant institution that provides high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services.  NOC serves nearly 4,000 students through the home campus in Tonkawa, branch in Enid, and NOC/OSU Gateway Program in Stillwater.  Of these students about 80% receive financial aid and/or scholarships. 75% of NOC students complete their degree with zero debt. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers associate degrees in three general areas: Arts, Science and Applied Science; the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs; and the Accreditation Commission for Education and Nursing.