For students, a visit to Gatlin Hall typically includes a trip to financial aid, and for many, a visit with Baxter Stewart, Connors State College Director of Financial Aid.
Stewart has been at CSC for the past three years and was recently promoted to director. He began his journey at CSC with a position as a financial counselor.
Stewart grew up in Fairview, Okla., a small town northwest of Oklahoma City. He lived in the country and graduated with 70 in his class.
His dream was to attend the University of Oklahoma – everything about being a Sooner excited him. After acceptance and touring campus, however, he realized OU just was not for him.
“Southwestern felt like home,” said Stewart. “I felt like I mattered. I still have the same friends from back then. In fact the friends you make in college last a lot longer than in high school.”
Stewart graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 2010 and 2011 with degrees in accounting and communications.
After graduating Stewart wanted to be closer to his then fiancé Shayla and conveniently CSC offered him a position.
Shayla was living in Tahlequah, Okla., and one afternoon he knew that the time was right to ask for her hand in marriage. Stewart drove to ask for her parents’ permission.
He then met her halfway in Warner, Okla., with no real intentions of asking her that night. As they drove around the small town and past the college, he pulled over and finally asked his fiancé for her hand in marriage.
Happily married, the couple lives in Tahlequah, Okla. When asked about his thoughts on the commute, Stewart responded with words true to his faith.
“I like my job and I like the drive,” says Stewart. “It gives me time to think before I get here, when I go home, and it gives me time to pray.”
Stewart is a man strong in his faith; he leads a ministry group at Northeastern State University called Chi Alpha.
At CSC, graduating with a degree may not be possible for students without the help of Stewart. Although Stewart may have many other responsibilities within his job, he says helping students is his number one goal.
Past the NorthFace jacket and khakis, Stewart is a man strong in his faith, married to the love of his life, who has a strong passion for the students at CSC.
By Alicia Castaneda