School of Religion salutes Conference leader as outstanding graduate
Clergywoman Diana Northcutt was recently named the 2012 Distinguished Alumna for the Wimberly School of Religion at Oklahoma City University.
This honor was presented Nov. 3 at the annual Alumni Awards Luncheon, held in the OCU University Center, as part of Homecoming weekend festivities.
Rev. Northcutt grew up on a cattle ranch in southeast Colorado. She spent 11 years in hospital administration and received her Bachelor of Arts in social work from Southwest Missouri State in 1986. During that time, she was also using her gifts in working with youth.
Although she already had a degree, Diana knew she was being called to something more. She returned to school in 1990 and earned the Master of Religious Education from Oklahoma City University. She promptly went on to gain the Master of Divinity degree from Phillips Theological Seminary in 1995.
In the Oklahoma Conference, Diana was ordained as a United Methodist deacon in 1995 and as an elder in 1998. She drew strongly on her life experiences while pastoring rural churches for 12 years. During her time at Laverne UMC, she was instrumental in development of the Laverne Hispanic Ministry, which has become Vida En Abundancia UMC.
Diana spent more than 25 years working with youth ministry in Oklahoma, making a huge impact at the church, Conference, and jurisdictional levels. In 2004-09 she served as Conference director of Local Church Youth Ministries.
Today she is appointed in the Conference as director of Discipleship Ministries for Small Membership Churches. In this role, her focus is on revisioning work with smaller churches and assisting in deployment of the Healthy Congregations model. She also is responsible for Conference demographic work.
When presenting the award, Sharon Betsworth pointed out Diana’s passion for ministry with youth, including her role in reestablishing CYME camp and creating the Youth Workers Academy.
CYME camp has become one of the best recruitment events for the Wimberly School of Religion, said Dr. Betsworth, who is director of the school. With other designers of the Conference youth leadership camps (JEM and CYME), Diana has worked to partner the camps with Oklahoma City University, creating a scholarship program for graduating high-school seniors.
Diana reads about 300 books a year and enjoys traveling. Her favorite places include Ireland, Scotland, and Australia.
She was one of 10 Distinguished Alumni recognized by various schools within the university system. Also honored: Deborah S. Fleming, Class of ’77, a former vice president and treasurer of SemGroup Corp. and Rose Rock Midstream, Tulsa; Barry Grissom, ’81, U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas; Paul D. Fleming, ’76, chief internal auditor for BancFirst Corp.; Donald "Don" Jordan, ’80, a 35-year veteran of professional theater; Timothy Long, ’90, who has enjoyed wide success as a conductor, chamber musician, and collaborative pianist; Cindy Rauh, ’04, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Duncan Regional Hospital; Buzz Williams, ’94, coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball team since 2008; and brothers Marcel and Kevin Wilson, ’98, renowned choreographers.