The Oklahoma Israel Exchange recently honored Ann Hargis as the organization's 2012 recipient of the Light, Leadership and Legacy Award.
Hargis, wife of Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis, received the award Oct. 11 at an event at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.
“I am honored to be recognized by the Oklahoma Israel Exchange and am truly humbled by the Light, Leadership and Legacy Award,” Ann Hargis said. “I have taken great pride in watching the relationship flourish between OSU and OKIE to provide unique educational experiences for faculty and students.”
In 2007, Hargis and her husband traveled to Israel as part of an OKIE/OKC Jewish Federation Mission. The visit inspired her to begin envisioning an exchange between OSU programs and parallel ones in Israel.
Upon her return, Hargis discovered that OSU already had connections with Israel. The OSU Fire Protection Publications Department had established relationships with a number of safety training groups in Israel.
And not long after Ann Hargis' return, Bill Ryan, director of the OSU School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, invited well-known Israeli chef Avi Sekerel to participate in OSU's Distinguished Chef Series.
That success opened the door for Ryan to travel to Israel with OKIE Executive Director Susan Robertson, and chef Aaron Ware from the Okmulgee Technical Institute, to explore student culinary exchange between OSU and Rimonim Culinary School in Tiberias.
During that trip, arrangements were formalized for Israeli chefs Ilan Roberg and Erez Amos to travel to Stillwater to take part in November's Distinguished Chef Series.
For the last five years, the relationship between Israel and OSU has continued to grow in the area of agriculture.
In 2012, an OSU wheat researcher and a professor of agricultural economics joined an OKIE mission to Israel to attend the international Agritech Conference.
Hargis is dedicated to continuing this mutually beneficial relationship between the university and Israel. OKIE leaders said her commitment fits perfectly with the mission of OKIE, which is to promote enhanced cooperation between Oklahoma and Israel in commerce, agriculture, culture and education.