Mikaleh Offerman, News Editor

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Courtesy Photo / Dr. Vickie Ellis 

“A servant leader with guts and determination, who is determined to make contributions that matter,” Dr. Vickie Ellis, division chair of Communications, said of Austin Manger, an alumnus of OBU.

It was recently announced that Manger is a winner of the NextGen Under 30 Award in the category of policy and public service.

“I’m not at all surprised that he was ranked one of the top 30 under 30,” Ellis said. “It’s what I’ve known since he was in my classes, so I’m just glad everyone else figured it out.”

Manger graduated from OBU in 2014 with a degree in communication studies, but left a lasting impression on his professors and peers.

“I always enjoyed him [in class],” communication studies professor Dr. Kaylene Barbe said. “He’s really good with people. He was always trying to connect with people, and he was never afraid to approach people. I always admired him for that.”

Manger currently works as a field representative for Senator James Lankford.

He is grateful and humbled to receive this award.

“So many of the other award recipients are people that I professionally admire and look up to, so to be mentioned in the same arena is very exciting for me,”     Manger said.

While Manger accepts this award with humility, his professors from OBU are excited to praise him for his accomplishments.

“He was always a top scholar in our discipline,” Ellis said. “I remember in class, we conducted research on the Chickasaw United We Stand campaign. Austin was able to connect with people until he got interviews with the top tribal leaders. We were even able to set up a focus group in the Chickasaw nation in Ada one day.”

For Manger, it was never just a matter of personal success.

“He made contacts to help other student’s research projects,” Ellis said. “So if another student was having a hard time getting an interview or making contacts or getting a plan, Austin would help them and when he couldn’t, he would find somebody in his network who would help them,” she said. “And if that wasn’t a possibility, then he would do what he could to help them.”

His servant leadership and willingness to help others is a characteristic that Ellis admires in Manger.

“For Austin, a victory on Bison Hill was a victory for everyone,” Ellis said. “It was a victory for his discipline, for the growth of his peers and scholars and for OBU. And that’s what made him, in part, incredibly special.”

The NextGen Under 30 Award focuses on young professionals in Oklahoma who “demonstrate talent, drive and service to their communities,” according to the NextGen Under 30 website. Manger will receive the award Nov. 18, at the awards ceremony which will be hosted at the OKC Cox Convention Center.

Manger recognizes the part OBU has played in his success.

“OBU has with out a doubt contributed a great deal to my life and I couldn’t be more grateful,” Manger said. “My education challenged me to be a lifelong learner and to focus on doing the little tasks well and with great effort.”

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