Raymond Cockrum started his formal education at age 4 in a one-room school house, which was soon consolidated with Stroud Public Schools. In 1954, he enrolled in his first Agricultural Education class and joined the FFA. His teacher, John Hopper, who later made a name for himself as superintendent of Central Technology Center, was a great source of inspiration to young Raymond. When Raymond earned his State Farmer degree a few years later, it was presented by another well-known Oklahoman, State FFA President Wes Watkins. Stroud School was destroyed by fire, so Raymond attended his last two years of high school in the FFA show barns, where he felt right at home.
Raymond finished two years of college and then joined the Air Force. Five years later, he returned to OSU, earning his Ag-Ed degree in 1970 and completing a master’s there in 1980. He taught four years at Tecumseh and five years at Guthrie before joining the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech as a district supervisor
Exceptionally gifted in motivating students, Raymond advised three National Gold Emblem chapters and one Bronze in nine years—an amazing feat considering this award is given bi-annually. His FFA chapters produced three national Ag Mechanics judging teams, two national FFA Agricultural Proficiency Award winners, the National FFA Prepared Public Speaking winner, 22 State Farmers, three State FFA Officers, and a State FFA President
Raymond helped plan and conduct the first Oklahoma FFA Alumni Camp. He also initiated the scholarship program and bus trip for Oklahoma FFA members to attend the Washington Leadership Conference.
His leadership skills were recognized by his peers who elected him president of the Oklahoma Agricultural Education Teachers Association and to two terms as Western Region Vice President of the National FFA Alumni Council He received that organization’s highest honor, the National FFA Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award. Other prestigious awards include the 1974 Oklahoma Outstanding Ag Teacher, National Land and Range Judging Honoree, Honorary State FFA Degre the National FFA Organization VIP Award and the Oklahoma FFA Association VIP Award
In retirement, he serves on the Oklahoma FFA Foundation Board, OSU’s Ag-Ed Scholarship Board of Directors, and as co-director of the State FFA Convention. He also continues as a proficiency judge and speech judge for the National FFA Convention.
Raymond married Jean Myers 49 years ago, and they have been blessed with two sons and two grandsons. They reside in Guthrie.
Mr. Cockrum was inducted to the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 2009.