Childhood lesson leads Hannaford


Bo Hannaford
Bo Hannaford

When he was 15 years old, Bo Hannaford learned dedication and passion from playing summer baseball and almost advanced to the World Series.

That dedication and passion has stuck with Hannaford ever since then and it has helped him reach the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Hannaford is completely his first year as the Vice President of Academic Affairs this year but it is not the first time he has ever been on or held a position at Northwestern. Before he became the vice president, Hannaford held the position of dean of professional studies and business and he was always on campus as a child.

Hannaford has fond memories of spending time on campus with his grandfathers who were a professor and maintenance man. His passion for Northwestern began on those days that he spent on campus. That passion continued to grow as Hannaford got older.

His passion for watching and playing sports led him to play sports throughout most of his life. The sport he had the most passion for was football. Hannaford played football for 17 years, four of those years played at Northwestern.

One person who saw the passion Hannaford had for sports was Karen Koehn, former Alva High School guidance counselor. “ Bo was a great athlete,” Koehn said. Hannaford continued his love of football after college by coaching.

But sports aren’t the only things that Hannaford has been passionate about. “Being a lifelong learner is something I am passionate about,” Hannaford said. After graduating from Northwestern, Hannaford was the principal and coach at Ponca City Public School while trying to receive his doctorate.

Hannaford was initially receiving his doctorate from Oklahoma State University. But seeing as he was a principal, coach and dealing with family matters while he was attending school, he decided to receive his degree another way.

He transferred to Walden University and received his doctorate through online classes. It was easier for Hannaford to get his degree online because of everything that was going on in his life. Once he got his doctorate, Hannaford decided he wanted to come back home and work at the school that he had known his whole life.

The passion Hannaford has for Northwestern and the city of Alva led him to come back so he could raise his son. When Hannaford came back, he received the job of dean of professional studies and business. He was the dean for six years.

As the dean, Hannaford oversaw everything that went on in the professional studies and business departments. One of his coworkers while he was dean was Dr. James Bell, Associate Vice President of Academics. “Dr. Hannaford always kept me on my toes,” Bell said.

While he was the dean, Hannaford helped Northwestern get their first doctoral program. Hannaford understands the shortage of doctors in rural Oklahoma and that is one reason he was so involved in getting the Doctor of Nursing Practice program started.

Another reason Hannaford worked so hard on this project is that he wants to see the students succeed. Hannaford says he loves to see students succeed. When the students succeed, Hannaford feels as if he has succeed.

“Bo has a big heart and sees the good in everyone,” Koehn said. With having a big heart, Hannaford enjoys seeing people happy because of what they have done. As you can tell, Hannaford has a large passion for seeing Northwestern and its students succeed.

Anyone that has worked with Hannaford can tell you about his passion for this school. Dr. Janet Cunningham, President of Northwestern, has praised Hannaford for his work at Northwestern. “He has an excellent work ethic and falls in the category of senior staff,” Cunningham said.

Another person who sees how hard Hannaford works is Debbie Skinner, Administrative Assistant to Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Dr. Hannaford is a great boss and he cares about the university, students and his community,” Skinner said. He likes to see students get involved in clubs and organizations that Northwestern has to offer.

Hannaford works to separate Northwestern from any other college. Hannaford works around the clock to help in anyway that he can. But that isn’t only working for Northwestern.

He is also very involved in his community. Hannaford helps his community by being a member of the city council. He wants to help make Alva a place where people want to raise their children.

Hannaford wants people to love this town as much as he does. He considers not only Alva but Northwestern a part of his family. Hannaford is a family oriented man and those two things are a part of his family.

That’s why he works so hard to make sure that they succeed. Hannaford said he wants to see his community and Northwestern succeed because they have been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. No matter where he is, Alva and Northwestern are his home.

Koehn said that Hannaford was a common guy who wants to see his home succeed. He has a drive that pushes him to do great things. But he doesn’t do all of these things for recognition.

Hannaford knows what needs to be done and does them in a quick but effective way. Cunningham said that Hannaford is a problem solver and can figure out ways to get what is needed done.

Bell described Hannaford as someone who is analytical and takes things that happen at the school personally. Hannaford takes his jobs very seriously and gets his work done ahead of schedule.

When people talk about Hannaford, they describe him as a quiet but confident man. Koehn said that even though he has a doctorate Hannaford is still a kind hearted person.

Hannaford knows how to treat people and shows them by helping out in any way that he can. He works with people every day to try and help them reach their goals. When Hannaford puts his mind toward something, nothing can stop him.

But sometimes he has to step back and look at a situation from a different point of view. With his position, Hannaford has to make tough decisions but he makes them to where everyone can benefit from the results. His passion for the school helps him make those tough decisions.

Hannaford has a passion for Northwestern and Alva that will never go away. He loves everything Northwestern stands for and can’t wait to see what is in store for the school.

He works hard to help push Northwestern to be the best school that it can possibly be. This includes finding donors for the new doctoral program and making sure the accreditation is to the standards it should be at.

Hannaford may have learned about dedication and passion through baseball but it has grown to love Northwestern and his community since then. He is glad to be back home doing what he loves and helping people along the way. For the past seven years, he has been working at Northwestern. But in his heart he has always been a Ranger.

“I love Northwestern and am so glad I get to be a part of this amazing school,” Hannaford said.