You don’t even have to say her last name. Reba’s impressive entertainment career spans 40 years in music, television, books and film. She is one of the most successful female recording artists in history, selling more than 56 million albums worldwide and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. She has won more than 50 national entertainment awards including: 15 American Music Awards; 13 Academy of Country Music Awards; 2 GRAMMY Awards; and is one of only four entertainers in history to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress.
Even at a young age, when it was evident that McEntire was destined for the limelight, her mother made sure she got a college education. “Mama knew you had to have your education to get ahead in life,” McEntire explained. “When I graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. My mama quickly replied, ‘You are going to college.’”
McEntire attended Southeastern, about an hour from her hometown of Chockie. She continued performing and was a member of a campus singing and dancing group called the Chorvettes. She graduated in 1976 with a degree in elementary education and a minor in music.
McEntire was discovered by cowboy singing star Red Steagall while singing the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974. She signed to Nashville’s Mercury / PolyGram Records nearly a year later. Her first Number One song, "Can't Even Get the Blues," appeared in 1983.
McEntire has applied her talent to many forms of entertainment. Her other accomplishments include several film roles, a Broadway portrayal of Annie Oakley, and Reba, a television comedy, and an autobiography.
She attributes her success to growing up in rural Oklahoma, her family’s strong work ethic and her mama’s insistence that she get a college degree. “My Oklahoma roots run through Southeastern Oklahoma State University. This institution of learning and living is an important piece of the foundation of young lives, including my own.”