Orange Pride: Ron Knight
With a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s in counseling, Ron Knight has just the combination of experience and education needed to successfully provide guidance to engineering students.
As academic coordinator for College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology at OSU-Tulsa, he has found that 12 years of experience in the aerospace engineering industry provides an understanding of the particular needs of engineering students.
“I really enjoyed engineering, but I wanted to do more to help people,” Knight said. “Engineering students are a different breed. By and large, they want to be advised by people with experience in the field.”
On Friday, OSU-Tulsa President Howard Barnett presented Knight with the Orange Pride Award, which recognizes employees who go above and beyond their normal job duties in services to the university.
Knight said working at OSU-Tulsa has been rewarding.
“I think I am able to provide valuable advice to students about curriculum and the courses they need to help them carry the load,” Knight said. “My goal is to help them succeed and it is extremely fulfilling.”
Knight noted that many OSU-Tulsa students work full time and take classes at night. He helps provide balance to their lives as they earn their degree by helping them schedule classes so they are not overloaded with work and school.
“I would say about 50 percent of the students are traditional students and 50 percent are non-traditional,” he said.
When Knight first started out in the industry about 24 years ago, he worked in Seattle at Boeing. Six years later, he moved back to his native Tulsa and worked full-time for another six years at a local aerospace engineering firm while earning his counseling degree.
“I’m a Tulsa homeboy,” Knight said. “I was so happy to be home. I missed people with drawls and that Southern hospitality.”
He has been an OSU-Tulsa employee for 12 years, where he is known for his passion in handcrafting wooden bowls.
“I like to throw people for a curve,” Knight said. “I learned to make the bowls in 8th grade wood shop then dropped it for 30 years. I picked it back up a few years ago. I wanted that outlet.”
He is proud to be part of OSU-Tulsa and its mission to provide a path to undergraduate and graduate degrees to people who live in the area.
“We are part of history. We are the public four-year access for people who cannot make Stillwater work for them,” Knight said. “I know that if OSU-Tulsa had existed when I began my undergraduate degree, I would never have left Tulsa. I would have earned my degree right here.”
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