Donor Spotlight


Vickie Swindler Sanborn

VickieSanborn1Vickie Swindler Sanborn started her college studies as an art major at Oklahoma State University in the fall of 1972. Her passion for music led her to join the Cowboy Marching Band, play with the concert and pep bands, and serve as a student worker for the band program. There, she crossed paths with Professor Paul Montemurro, known affectionately as “Prof.” Vickie is one of many donors who jointly contributed to name a space after him in the new Greenwood School of Music.

Studying under Prof transformed the Cowboy experience for Vickie and her peers. She fondly recalled how Prof expertly leveraged the strengths of the band members. He recognized Vickie’s talent as a visual artist and found ways for her to contribute beyond playing her instrument. “One time, he asked me to design and paint three huge circus animals to be used on the field during a halftime show. He was always sure I could do whatever he asked of me. His confidence in me helped bring me out of my shell and do whatever needed to be done for the band.”

Prof knew that Vickie always had her camera on-hand, which was very fortunate during the OSU-Colorado football game in 1974. Vickie quickly captured a photo of soon-to-be-Governor David Boren unexpectedly borrowing a saxophone and playing along with the Cowboy Marching Band in the stands! This image, which features Prof clapping along, appeared in the next edition of the Daily O’Collegian. 

prof photo1Vickie’s path took her to Iowa, where she raised a family and worked as a professional photographer. She is retired now and resides in Tulsa. Like so many, Vickie recognized the importance of the music program to the overall Cowboy Family. Though she ultimately graduated with a humanities degree, her experience with music as a non-major exemplifies how this program fosters student success at OSU.  

''Band members are extra-committed and truly love what they do. I would have been totally lost on OSU’s huge campus if I hadn't been in the band. I pretty much lived and breathed band: it was the best thing about going to OSU.''

Oklahoma State University is thankful to Vickie and all the donors contributing to ensure that Paul Montemurro’s legacy is honored in the new building.

The Greenwood School of Music is under construction and slated to open in 2021. Please contact Laura Ketchum at if you or someone you know is interested in getting involved or learning about opportunities to honor a loved one.

Yearbook Photo Showing Vickie Swindler Sanborn, Paul Montemurro, and Hiram Henry

Edited Vickie Swindler


Barbara George and Bob Gabriel

Calvin Gabriel1Inside the Greenwood School of Music, students will soon sharpen their craft within the Calvin C. Gabriel Flute Studio. Barbara George and her brother, Bob Gabriel, named the space to honor their beloved father. 

“We are so happy to do this — it feels like the right thing to do,” Barbara said.

Calvin Gabriel was born in Nowata, Oklahoma in 1913. He had a lot of responsibility at a young age because his father passed away immediately after Calvin graduated from high school.

Calvin joined ROTC to help pay his way through college. He was a music major at Oklahoma A&M College during the Depression and Dust Bowl years. Calvin was involved in Phi Eta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi during his time in Stillwater.

Calvin Gabriel Graduation1

In the spring of 1935, his senior year, he was the featured flute soloist with the OSU Symphony Orchestra. He also served as the Drum Major of the campus military band, which was the precursor to the Cowboy Marching Band. Calvin was an excellent student, graduating summa cum laude.

After graduating, Calvin taught in Blackwell, Oklahoma as the school district’s only music teacher. Because he did not own a car, he walked to work, leaving home at 5 o’clock every morning. He also walked to and from all of the district’s school buildings as part of his teaching schedule. During his first year teaching, Calvin’s Blackwell band won a national competition where the famous bandmaster John Philip Sousa was a judge.

Calvin’s next stop was a position with the Civil Aeronautics Authority in Washington, DC. After a few years there, he and his wife Ruth moved their young family to Southern California, where the couple lived for the rest of their lives. (Ruth and Calvin met in Stillwater and were married on campus, in Gardiner Hall.) 

Calvin and Ruth Wedding1For 35 years, he served as the business manager for the Oceanside-Carlsbad Union High School and College District. He enjoyed volunteering, was a 57-year member of Rotary International, and a proud performer with the Cuesta College Wind Ensemble. Calvin continued playing the flute throughout his life. Bob recalled that his father was preparing for a flute recital even three days before his passing at age 87 in 2000.

While his career transported him away from both teaching music and the state of Oklahoma, Calvin successfully instilled a love for both in his four children: Nancy, Barbara, Calvin Jr., and Bob. Calvin Jr. and Bob both studied music in college. Bob joked that he played his trombone until just recently, when he “slid out of it.” Barbara came from California to attend OSU as an elementary education major, graduating in 1963.

George1Barbara said she recognized the importance of the new music building for students, faculty,and all Cowboys who appreciate music. She’s also glad the Greenwood School of Music will directly connect to The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. Both will transform the performing arts at OSU.

“Our dad must be bursting his buttons,” she said. “To imagine such a center even 10 years ago was not possible. It is magnificent!” 

Oklahoma State University is thankful to these generous siblings for memorializing the incredible legacy of Calvin C. Gabriel, a loyal and true Cowboy, 85 years after his graduation. 

Sissy, Bob, Ruth, and Calvin Gabriel


The Greenwood School of Music is under construction and slated to open in 2021. Please contact Laura Ketchum at if you or someone you know is interested in getting involved or learning about opportunities to honor a loved one.

Letter to Calvin C. Gabriel from Oklahoma A&M College President Henry G. Bennett

President Bennett Letter to Calvin 1