TCC Degree: Liberal Arts
Before coming to Tulsa Junior College, now Tulsa Community College, Trudy had a bicycle accident that left her with serious injuries and using a cane to walk. The single mother, who had used her bicycle to get to work, had to quit her job and ended up in a homeless shelter. “It was then that she applied to TJC to try to better her life and the life of her son,” said her nominator, Barbara Slagle. Trudy enrolled in college with the help of financial aid and was very active, serving as Phi Theta Kappa President and Student Government Association President. She also maintained a 4.0 GPA.
“Her first year at TJC, Trudy walked with a cane, refused accessible parking, and parked in the back lot to test her strength,” said Barbara. “Her goal was to wear heels by the end of the year. At our awards dinner in May, she walked in heels to the podium to receive various recognitions, including a top academic award.”
The Broken Arrow native graduated with an associate degree and went on to study geography information systems. She had parlayed a student internship into a part-time job at the Water Resources Board Building across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. On April 19, 1995, she was killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing. She was survived by her then 11-year-old son, Jonmichael Rigney.
In her memory, a tree was planted outside the Southeast Campus Student Center. “Every year on the anniversary of the bombing, students and staff gather at Trudy’s tree to honor her memory,” said Barbara. “Courage, determination, and intellect helped her achieve many honors, but TCC gave her the vehicle to make her dreams come true.” She was also posthumously recognized as a Best of TCC Distinguished Alumni in 2005.