Alumna plans inauguration events

By Susannah Waite, Associate Editor

Elizabeth Newton

As the big day gets closer, Elizabeth Newton’s life gets busier.

Newton is planning President Robert Henry’s inauguration in April.

Beginning planning stages began in September for the event, and Newton was brought on in January to help with the plans.

Newton has worked with Art and Sandy Cotton for the past year and a half.

“They saw my work ethic and work that I have done around campus,” she said. “They offered me the position as inauguration manager.”

Save the dates were sent out in December.

“In January, after I was brought on, I got acclimated to the job and went to meetings,” Newton said. “We also began ironing out all the details.”

The next step will be to send out invitations, which people will begin receiving in a couple weeks.

“We first made a list with President Henry’s friends and family, important people in Oklahoma and people important to the university,” she said. “We also encourage students to attend as well.”

There will be no school on April 6, to encourage student participation at the ceremony.

There are about 3400 in total, on the invite list, Newton said.

Newton has been working on planning events for the first week of April, surrounding the inauguration.

“We have nailed down the specifics now. We know which students will be performing on Tuesday, April 5,” she said. “We had a food tasting to see what types of food we will serve at the performances.”

The performances and exhibits will take place at various locations across the campus and Newton has been ironing out these details.

Newton also has been working with President Henry to ensure that his input is taken into account for the events.

“He is especially interested in the symposia, which will be on the day of the installation ceremony,” Newton said. “He has also given me specific requests for types of performances and specifically things that center around the theme.”

The theme of week is “Make Our Garden Grow.”

“A President’s inauguration isn’t about he president, its about the school,” President Robert Henry said.

The song ‘Make Our Garden Grow’ is about life, community and family he said.

“My hope is that the events celebrate the university,” Henry said. “It is our OCU buffet.”

Newton does not do all the planning on her own; there are committees and sub-committees that do much of the planning.

“I serve as a liaison between the sub-committees,” she said. “I have meetings with all of them and make sure that information is disseminated.”

With the event less than two months away, the normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job will start to become more of a 24/7 job Newton said.

“I have butterflies,” she said. “But it’s really exciting, it’s going to be a great event.”


Elizabeth is a fabulous lady. She will do a great job on these events. President Henry is a lucky guy to have her in the driver's seat on such an important day!

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