A Distinguished Honor – Peggy Kates

Distinguished Alumni

Peggy Kates, Bachelor of Science in Biology, 1972

Peggy Kates

Renowned civic leader Peggy Kates has made a name for herself in the community. At her core, education has always been something important to her and is what drew her to Central. She graduated from Central State University in 1972 with a double major in biology and chemistry.

Following her graduation, she worked as an academic adviser on campus and a teacher in Edmond Public Schools. In 1976, Kates and her husband, Ben, began Midwest Wrecking Company where she served as financial officer.

After seeing success in their family business, Kates was compelled to pay it forward and has begun several giving initiatives at UCO. Several of the scholarships honor some of her favorite professors who made a profound impact on her education.

Anne Holzberlein, former vice president for UCO advancement, first met Kates when they were both serving on the UCO Foundation Board of Trustees. The pair instantly bonded over their passion for giving back.

“Peggy cares deeply about UCO,” Holzberlein said. “She feels that part of what she’s attained in her life is due to the education and to the friendships and to everything that developed at UCO.”

Kates’ diligent community involvement stems from her passion of giving back. She has served on a multitude of boards and a variety of organizations.

“She’s very involved with the Oklahoma City community. She’s been engaged and has helped in nonprofits across the state,” Holzberlein says. “She took what she learned and has applied it to make this state a better place to live.”

A Look Back: Peggy’s Time at Central State University

What clubs were you involved with on campus?

Chemistry Club, Association of Women Students and the Bronze Key Honor Society

What were your favorite CSU events?

Basketball games

Where was your favorite place to be on campus?

Hanging out in the dorm with girlfriends.

Did you have a standout professor who impacted you?

I had several outstanding teachers – Dr. Warren Smith and Dr. Ethel Derrick in the Biology Department and Dr. Terrill Smith, Dr. Verline Richardson and Dr. Hamm in the Chemistry Department. They were all tough teachers but I learned so much!

What was your favorite film or TV show?

Don’t remember watching much television during my years at UCO. I was either working, studying or hanging out with friends.

What was your favorite song/band?

I liked all kinds of music; Neil Diamond and The Rolling Stones were a couple of my favorites.