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MSC President Emeritus Dr. Clyde Kindell receives award from Ethiopian Crown Council

4/18/2018

Murray State College President Emeritus Dr. Clyde Kindell, a long-time resident of Denison, Texas, was presented with a Grand Officership award by Ethiopia’s Crown Council in cooperation with the School of Global Studies and Partnerships at Oklahoma State University. The April 17 award ceremony was held at Stillwater’s Wes Watkins Center, N Washington St & W Hall of Fame Ave. 

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, president of the Crown Council, presented awards to Kindell and other former and current OSU employees for their roles in OSU’s 60 years of service to Ethiopia.  The Crown Council of Ethiopia focuses on cultural preservation, development and humanitarian efforts. The April 17 event also marked the 64th anniversary of the first visit to Stillwater in 1954 by Emperor Haile Selassie, grandfather of Prince Ermias.  To date, Selassie’s trip was the only visit of a serving Ethiopian head of state to the OSU campus.

In addition to the presentation of awards, a new documentary produced by filmmaker and businessman Mel Tewahade was shown.  Tewahade, son of the late Fitwarai Tewahade Woldeyes, who was Governor of Harar and Mayor of the city of Harar during Kindell’s tenure, documents the history of America’s Point Four foreign policy and its impact in Africa and Asia. 

Prior to arriving in Tishomingo, Kindell, who served as president of Murray State College from 1967-1994, spent eight years as an education administrator in Ethiopia.  Kindell was 31-years-old, with a wife and young son, when he and his family first arrived in Jimma, Ethiopia.  Kay Kindell Neasbitt, daughter of Kindell and his late wife Joan, was born during the couple’s time there.

Kindell served for two years as Director of Instruction and Research at Jimma Agriculture Technical School before taking the helm at Alemaya (now Haramaya University) in Harar. From 1960-66, he served as president of the College of Agriculture for Haramaya University (formerly Haile Selassie I University and Alemaya University), Harar Province, Ethiopia and was the university’s last American president. Kindell reported directly to Emperor Haile Selassie who was Chancellor of the nation’s university system. 

“I have fond memories of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people.  The Emperor was like a father figure to me, and I am very honored to receive this award,” Kindell said.

Both Haramaya University and Jimma Agricultural Technical School were built in the 1950s and staffed until 1968 by OSU under the Point Four technical assistance program of United States President Harry Truman.  Oklahoma State University helped Ethiopia develop agricultural education and research to increase food supplies.

In a 1966 farewell letter to Kindell, District Governor Fitawara Tewahade Woldeyeses wrote, “I have been very happy to learn from your diligence, honesty and tact of making others work through cooperation.  I consider your departure as losing one of those highly esteemed Ethiopians, not as a foreigner going back to his own country.”

In congratulating Dr. Kindell on his designation as a Grand Officer of Ethiopia, current Murray State College President Joy McDaniel said, “Dr. Kindell is a life-long learner of the greatest kind.  He is energized by challenges in the world of education and beyond.  He seeks out knowledge wherever he goes, and his contributions to Ethiopia inspire us all.  Over almost three decades in southern Oklahoma, he invested himself in service to Murray State College, its students and residents of the Tishomingo community.  His influence definitely made a difference in the history of this college.”

Kindell, who received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from Oklahoma State University, completed post-graduate studies toward his doctorate at Pennsylvania State University and post-doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota.  Kindell, who served in Europe during World War II, retired from Murray State College in 1994 and continues to serve as a member of the board of directors for the Murray State College Foundation.  The Kindell Farm for Agricultural Studies was dedicated on the campus of Murray State College in 2009. 

He was inducted to the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 1998 and to the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame in 2016.

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