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alumni magazine



Fall 2011

Lee Allan Smith Martha Burger John Richels

H.E. Gene Rainbolt Stan Clark



Hall of Honor

Energized! MSB Hosts Governor’s Conference

Gov. Mary Fallin announced a new initiative launched jointly with Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado designed to increase the use of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in state automobile fleets at the 2011 Governor’s Energy Conference Nov. 9 at the Cox Center, hosted by Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business. Other states, including Wyoming and Pennsylvania, have also signed onto the agreement and additional states have been invited to join. Each participating governor signed onto a Memorandum of Understanding circulated by Fallin and Hickenlooper stating a desire to purchase functional and affordable NGVs for use in state fleets. The MOU lays the groundwork for the formation of a Multi-State Request for Proposal, where the states would prepare a formal request to automobile manufacturers to design an NGV and sell it in bulk to participating states. The goal of participating states is to target 5,000 fleet NGV purchases per year, thus establishing the demand and incentive for a car manufacturer in the U.S. to design and sell a suitable natural gas sedan that will also meet public demand. Also at the Governor’s Energy Conference, Fallin presented the “Oklahoma First” Energy Plan, a comprehensive blue print for the state’s energy future. The plan focuses on enhancing the production of traditional fossil fuels like oil and natural gas while complementing their use with renewable sources of energy like wind power. About a dozen location and national energy leaders spoke at the daylong conference addressing new technologies, natural gas supplies, infrastructure issues, energy policy, environmental implications and details on Oklahoma’s natural gas, renewable energy and smart grid developments. Featured speakers included Steven C. Agee, John Curtis, Peter Delaney, Robert Henry, Melanie Kenderdine, John Krenicki, Aubrey McClendon, C. Michael Ming, Ernest Moniz, John Richels and Stuart Solomon. The conference was sponsored by the Karl F. and June S. Martin Family Foundation and the Office of the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy.

TOP: Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming and Gov. Mary Fallin discuss the Oklahoma First Energy Plan at the Governor’s Energy Conference hosted by the Meinders School of Business. MIDDLE: Rick Gorenson and Joe Womack (left) present a donation to OCU President Robert Henry and Meinders School of Business Interim Dean Steven C. Agee to continue funding for the Karl F. and June S. Martin Family Foundation Energy Management Speaker Series at the Meinders School of Business. The series will be extended for five more years. BOTTOM: Devon Energy President and CEO John Richels speaks at the Governor’s Energy Conference.




FALL 2011





Hall of Honor

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departments 2 President’s Message

President, Oklahoma City University..................................... Robert Henry Vice President of University Advancement................................... John Hillis Director of Alumni Relations ........................ Cary Pirrong, BS ’87, JD ’90 Director of Annual Giving....................................... Mandy Heaps, BA ’03 Planned Giving Specialist ...........................................................Dale Ross President, OCU Alumni Board ..... Jackie Miller, BA ’85, MBA ’90, JD ’91 Director of Communications and Marketing . ............. Christine Eddington Editor: Leslie Berger, BA ’02 Writers: Leslie Berger Christine Eddington Rod Jones D. Lance Marsh Rich Tortorelli Art Director: Lechelle Calderwood Photographers: Leslie Berger Angela Comer Rod Jones Jeanette Schreiber

FOCUS Alumni Magazine 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave. • Oklahoma City, OK 73106-1493 Focus is produced semiannually by the Communications and Marketing and Alumni Departments for alumni, parents and friends of Oklahoma City University. E-mail alumni news to and any story ideas to Check out Oklahoma City University at

4 Epistles and Ruminations 6

University Update

12 focus on history 16 focus on people 18 Focus on Giving focus on alumni 21 class notes 24

30 office space 32 Focus on Athletics 35 In Memory

features 05

OCU Celebrates Cherokee Chief: Gloria Steinem Speaks at Tree Dedication



Oklahoma City University pledges to recruit, select and promote diversity by providing equality of opportunity in higher education for all persons, including faculty and employees with respect to hiring, continuation, promotion and tenure, applicants for admission, enrolled students, and graduates, without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

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The Vice President for Student Affairs, located in Room 205 of the Clara E. Jones Administration Building, telephone (405) 208-5831, coordinates the university’s compliance with titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

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Make Our Garden Grow: Chickasaw Warrior, Garden Added to Campus Quad Take a Bough: Jan Henry’s Christmas Trees Rooted in Celebration of History Not Your Daddy’s Greek Tragedy

Kurt Leichter’s American Dream OCU Trustee Emeritus Conquers Extraordinary Challenges

Distinguished Alumni honored Msb Adds Five to Hall of Honor

president’s messa ge

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” Matthew 2:10

In the holiday season we think of illumination—stars and candles, of lights and reflections. And at OCU, home of the Stars, we get especially excited on these starry nights. As 2011 draws to a close, let me share some of my bright spots with you! Starsky is smart, too.

dio City Music Hall, Cirque du Soleil, and more. Approximately 95 percent of dance and arts management students are from states other than Oklahoma. But, we do get to keep some of them, and when our graduates decide to make their lives in Oklahoma, they contribute to improving the quality of the arts throughout our state. Cosmic Creativity

The Kramer School of Nursing adopted a new vision to guide its future. After becoming the premier private nursing school in Oklahoma and the six contiguous states, KSN now views Earth from a star’s perspective with the goal to become the planet’s foremost model for revolutionary, transformative nursing education. KSN will give students powerful experiences that will transform them as individuals, the patients that they or their students will serve, and the profession of nursing. Many such strategies involve unconventional, crosscultural, inter-professional, and international endeavors. The theme for this academic year is “Cosmic Creativity.”

Athletics at OCU develops more than just the physical skills of our student-athletes. We help athletes achieve their academic, social, and athletic potentials. OCU student-athletes completed 18 consecutive semesters with a cumulative department-wide grade point average above a 3.0. During the same nine-year period the department has never been ranked below 12th out of about 300 in the Director’s Cup standings, which recognize overall athletic success. OCU Athletics’ commitment to leadership, sportsmanship, and community service was recognized the past two years in the NAIA Champions of Character Scorecard standings, which ranked OCU fifth in the Stellar Lineup The Petree College of Arts and Sciences nation. At 41 national championships and is on the move: OCU science majors have counting, the Stars continue to shine. earned a 95 percent acceptance rate to mediGold Stars cal school and graduate programs during the As the iconic Gold Star Building gets a past year, which is far above the national averface lift, the School of Law’s new Innocence age; the school recently entered a partnership Clinic joins several other clinics in preparing with, founded by Justice Sandra students for the practice of law and serves to Day O’Connor, to provide more meaningful free innocent people from prison who were civics education to Oklahoma middle school erroneously convicted of a crime. The law students; last year, 665 students participated school renovated a vacant building on cam- in service learning across the university with pus to house the clinic through a generous gift approximately 6,650 hours of service to the in honor of an alumna and her husband, and community; and the school received the has raised more than $1.6 million to house Presidential Community Service Honor Roll and fund the Innocence Clinic for five years. Award. Professor Tiffany Murphy leads the clinic. She Spring 2012 will feature stellar speakers injoined the law school faculty from the Uni- cluding the master teacher of ethics and poversity of Missouri at Kansas City where she litical philosophy, Michael Sandel of Harvard directed a similar clinic. University, as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series on Feb. 29. Dancing with the stars…. The Wimberly School of Religion celAlmost everyone knows of the prowess ebrates its 30th anniversary this year and of our dance performance programs, but will mark this milestone with a banquet and the arts management programs at the Ann lectures on Feb. 16 featuring Bishop Robert Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Hayes and Dr. Amy Oden, dean of Wesley Management are also a great benefit among Theological Seminary and former professor of arts and entertainment locally and nation- church history at OCU. ally. Graduates from the entertainment business and dance management programs have Star of the East worked on the management teams of Lyric The Meinders School of Business, the Theatre, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Al- eastern boundary of our campus, completed lied Arts, Oklahoma City Arts Council, two of the most successful events in its hisOklahoma City Ballet, the Thunder, New tory, hosting 600 attendees at the 2011 ComYork City Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Ra- merce and Industry Hall of Honor Luncheon 2

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and 400 attendees at the 2011 Governor’s Energy Conference. These two events, along with the announcement of the newly created Tom J. McDaniel Endowed Business Scholarship, generated approximately $177,000 in scholarship opportunities for MSB students. The Karl F. and June S. Martin Family Foundation committed to extending their funding of the MSB Energy Management Speakers Series for an additional five years, pledging $250,000. The Meinders School of Business commences its two new master’s programs in energy management and energy legal studies in January. “We are all star stuff.” – Carl Sagan

The holiday season is a starry occasion for the Wanda Bass School of Music and our School of Theatre. The Christmas Vespers added an afternoon performance as we had to turn scores of listeners away last year. The perennial favorite, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” returned with our own Professor Lance Marsh raising his Ebeneezer. (See Lance’s story on current events, the great Greek House of Atreus plays on Pg. 19.) In the new year, we look forward to hosting performances on our Distinguished Artists Series beginning with ETHEL, the postclassical string quartet, Jan. 15. The 60th anniversary season of the Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company, the nation’s oldest university program of its kind, continues with Jacques Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann” Feb. 24-26, a rare performance of the Susan B. Anthony spotlight musical “The Mother of Us All” by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson March 9-11, and Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” April 20-22. More than 400 music majors invite you to join us for these extraordinary performances. As you can see, lots of stellar activity is going on in the nebula known as OCU. Jan, Josh, Julian, Zoe, and all our family wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and the brightest of years to come. Sincerely,

Robert Henry President Oklahoma City University

pre sident’ s me ssage

President Henry at Chickasaw garden dedication with students; with Jan Henry at Diwali, sponsored by the OCU Indian Student Association and Henry; and across campus with students.

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Epis tles and Ruminati on s

Praise for Smokewood Anthology Editor’s note: Former student Nancy Blankenship sent the following letter to President Robert Henry after the publication of A Modest Profusion of Bloom, the anthology honoring former OCU English Professor Elaine Smokewood. Copies of the handmade book are available for $40. Contact Dorothy Tennery at (405) 208-5530.

Dear President Henry, I finally found out where to get A Modest Profusion of Bloom and clutched it to my heart as I walked across campus. You did such a beautiful thing putting it together and being willing to share your own emails to Elaine with the world. I thought I knew her well—we had the same birthdays and celebrated together—but I see a new side of her through your communications with her. Wow! You two are smart! I’m not sure I realized just how special she was when I was taking her classes and going to Epworth with her for several years. But I won the writing award for The Scarab in 2004, when I was in her class, and I hadn’t even known I was Elaine Smokewood supposed to have taken Composition I. The Scarlet Letter was my topic. I remember going to class one day with a flowered skirt on and she immediately gasped, “I have that skirt! Let’s plan to wear them on the same day and parade around the offices.” We did. The secretary said “When are you going to grow up?” I loved reading Brie Ann’s letter and Kristina’s poem, and cute Kenneth’s and Jennifer’s. I was in classes with all of them. Oh, and I especially loved hearing about your carrying half her wheelchair into Marsha’s. I was a little late and didn’t see that or hear her response. I never dreamed I’d miss her as much as I do. I keep up with her family and I send the dogs toys. It helps a little. Did you notice the watering can on the notepaper and on the last one I sent? They’re there to help grow your OCU garden. I love that image, and I noticed im-


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mediately when new trees were planted recently and thought of you with your symbolic watering can and smiled. Thank you for providing us with this tribute to our friend, Nancy Blankenship

Anything Can Happen If You Let It! To the Editor: My name is Tyler Foy and I’m a 2009 graduate of OCU’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Arts Management with a BPA in Dance Performance. Earlier this year, I joined the Broadway First National Tour of “Mary Poppins.” I began the tour by performing in the ensemble as well as understudying the role of Northbrook and have now been promoted within the company to a dance captain/swing, which means it’s my job to uphold the show’s integrity by keeping all of the choreography clean, running rehearsals at the beginning of new cities, teaching the choreography to new cast members and helping stage management figure out the logistics of what props and set pieces to cut when someone is out of the show due to sickness, a personal day or vacation. Everything I learned within the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management prepared me for this job. Not only did my degree teach me how to dance, sing and act, but I also learned the business side of performing. I took contract classes that taught me the ins and outs of how to read a contract, how to prepare myself for agent representation, understand what it means to work within Actor’s Equity—the professional performing arts union, how to financially plan for my future and budget money based upon a performer’s changing income. On top of that, I was also able to take pedagogy classes that taught me how to share the gift of dance by learning how to teach all levels of jazz, tap and ballet. There is no other degree program in the country that teaches dancers to be more prepared for the world of entertainment! Another very important aspect of OCU’s program is the faculty. Every professor personally cares for the success and wellbeing of each student within the program.

Not only do they teach their students the necessary components of each course, but they live as mentors who challenge each student to live life honestly, respectfully, with integrity and passion. It’s a full mind, body, spirit approach in which you’re immersed in such a focused environment that each student, no matter their path after graduation, can achieve success. Because of OCU, I am on such an incredible journey, traveling the United States and Canada performing in one of Disney’s most-treasured classics. It’s been such a life-changing opportunity. I’ve been to some wonderful cities so far. I started off in Philadelphia and then went to play Columbus, Seattle, Sacramento, Portland, San Diego, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Chicago. I will be in Toronto for two months over the holidays and New Year’s, and then finally close in Mexico City! It’s been such a blessing to travel to all of these amazing cities with such a wonderful show. I will be able to leave this tour with so many life skills. I will have known what it’s like to dance in a Broadway show eight times a week, as well as swing 13 male ensemble tracks at the drop of a hat, communicate the needs of our show’s artistic staff and artistic director, as well as to be the liaison between the cast and stage management. I also was chosen to be one of the publicity representatives for the tour in which I’ve performed on many local news channels teaching news anchors choreography from our show as well as promoting it for ticket sales. I absolutely love my job and it has affirmed in my life as one of the songs in our show says “Anything Can Happen If You Let It!” I can’t wait to get back to New York City to see what else the future may hold. Thank you OCU for allowing me to achieve me dreams! Sincerely, Tyler Foy

BPA ’09

Submit your letter to the editor by e-mailing it to or mailing it to Oklahoma City University, Attention Leslie Berger, 2501 N. Blackwelder, Oklahoma City, OK 73106.

OCU Celebrates Cherokee Chief

Gloria Steinem Speaks at Tree Dedication Gloria Steinem was the guest of honor at a tree-planting ceremony this fall at Oklahoma City University in remembrance of Wilma Pearl Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation who died last year. Steinem, members of Mankiller’s family, OCU President Robert Henry and Cherokee Nation Businesses Chairman of the Board Jay Hannah planted a Cherokee Chief Dogwood tree just north of the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel on Oct. 6. Steinem, a famous political activist and journalist who advanced women’s causes in the 1960s and ’70s, was a close friend to Mankiller and spoke at the ceremony along with Henry; Mankiller’s husband, Charlie Soap; and daughters, Felicia and Gina Olaya. Mankiller led the Cherokee Nation from December 1985 to 1995. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. She was an advocate for American Indian and women’s rights. Mankiller was instrumental in tripling the enrollment of the Cherokee tribe and opening medical clinics and a career services center. Henry and Steinem were among the honored dignitaries who spoke during Mankiller’s memorial service in April 2010. Read Steinem’s remarks online and see the video of her speech.

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Jay Hannah, chairman of the board for Cherokee Nation Businesses, speaks during the ceremony.

Charlie Soap honors his late wife, Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller.

Mankiller’s daughters, Felicia and Gina Olaya, nurture the newly planted tree with water from a spring on their great-grandfather’s allotment land, Mankiller Flats, in Adair County.

OCU President Robert Henry places a Cherokee Chief Dogwood tree in the ground at OCU, honoring Mankiller.

Gloria Steinem poses for photos with students.

Wilma Mankiller with Brad Henry and President Robert Henry

Kellen Mankiller, OCU President Robert Henry, Charlie Soap and Gina Olaya help plant a tree honoring Wilma Mankiller at Oklahoma City University.

PoliticalFA activist journalist focus L L 2and 011 5 Gloria Steinem talks about Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller.


bend it like luma: acclaimed Soccer Coach

Visits OCUReads Oklahoma City University freshmen met the subject of their first assignment when Luma Mufleh, who is featured in the national bestseller “Outcasts United,” visited the campus Aug. 18. Incoming freshmen read the Warren St. John book last summer as part of the OCUReads program, which united students by giving them a common book to read and engages them on campus through discussions and events related to the material. Mufleh is the founder of an inspirational soccer team called the Fugees—short for refugees—comprised of players from 18 war-torn countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Congo, Somalia and Sudan. An immigrant from Jordan, Mufleh formed the team after noticing a group of boys playing soccer in the street. Without some of the most basic equipment, the boys played for the enjoyment of the game and it reminded Mufleh of her home. She organized tryouts for a team and quickly realized the challenges of her team were going to be unique as the players were dealing with post-traumatic stress issues, language barriers, cultural disconnects and devastating poverty. Mufleh weaved together a community on and off the field, helping the players develop support networks for themselves and their families. She also helped found the Fugees Family, which helps child survivors of war realize their full potential and assists refugees with transitioning to life in the U.S.

Alumnus Hits Home Run, fields questions at OCU LAW

Oklahoma City University School of Law alumnus Jeff Berry hit a home run with his discussion of the ins and outs of his career as a sports agent and the co-head of CAA Sports’ baseball division this September at Sarkeys Law Center. Berry, who also served as a graduate assistant baseball coach at Oklahoma City University, represents major league all stars Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox, Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Corey Harty of the Milwaukee Brewers, 2010 national league rookie of the year Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants and several others. “Representing athletes is an extremely competitive field and it’s rare to have such one-on-one access with such a successful agent like Jeff,” said OCU Law student Andrew Eason, who serves as an Oklahoma representative of the National Sports and Entertainment Law Society. “He was extremely candid and provided insight ranging from the general, like the myth of ‘quick money’ in baseball, to the specific, like what preparations to put into a player arbitration case. We were lucky to have Jeff visit with us, and those who did made a valuable contact in the business and are certainly the better for it.” Berry played a critical role in the blockbuster trade and subsequent contract extension for Roy Halladay when Halladay was traded in 2009. Berry also negotiated the largest signing bonus in baseball draft history with Posey’s $6.2 million deal with San Francisco in 2008. He has been active in MLB contact arbitration, including presenting and winning an arbitration case for Hart against the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010. He also has lobbied major league baseball and the players union for potential rule changes regarding homeplate collisions following Posey’s season-ending injury in 2011. Berry played college baseball and spent one season as a catcher in the Red Sox organization. He earned his Juris Doctor in 1998. He is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and a certified player agent with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Let Creativity Flow: Red Earth MFA Program Sets Residency

Blakeley Knox, Emma Velez, Luma Mufleh, Ezekiel Gentle, and Leigh Smith


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The Red Earth MFA program hosted authors Matthew Quick and Lori A. May for a public lecture titled “Literary Living: Developing A Creative Career” last summer. The event focused on how the authors pursued their professional and literary careers in writing. Oklahoma City University began the Red Earth MFA program last year for those interested in learning more about writing fiction, non-fiction, poetry or screenwriting. The program is unique because it offers professional writing and pedagogy tracks. Students may choose to study with professional writers and writing instructors in online formats to learn about editing, professional communications and teaching writing. Students can also create their own concentration strand with the help of a faculty advisor. The next residency for the Red Earth MFA program is Dec. 27 through Jan. 7 in Bricktown, featuring visiting poet Peter Meinke and writer James Bernard Frost, both of whom will have an open session for the public Jan. 3. For more information, visit or contact program director Danita Berg at


Allies for Arts: Herman and LaDonna Meinders

Allied Arts hosted approximately 150 of its top donors at its annual Honorary Chair Party in February to pay tribute to this year’s campaign honorary chairs, LaDonna and Herman Meinders. The party, held at the Gaillardia home of Jill and Jim Williams, included a special tribute to the couple for their support of the arts in Central Oklahoma and their outstanding philanthropic efforts both locally and around the world. The tribute included a special performance by pianist Sergio Monteiro who performed Franz Liszt’s Etude in D-Flat Major, commonly referred to as “Un Sospiro,” the musical piece LaDonna Meinders performed as Miss Oklahoma in the 1956 Miss America Pageant. The couple was also presented with a painting of their favorite spot on their ranch in northeastern Oklahoma—Lookout Point on the Diamond H Ranch—painted by local artist Mike Larsen. The presentation was made by Allied Arts board chairwoman Ann Johnstone; Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry; and the 2011 Allied Arts campaign co-chairs Ed Martin and Brenda McDaniel. This special evening was coordinated by the Honorary Chair Party Committee, which consists of Anne Gray, Ann Johnstone, Joan Maguire, Brenda McDaniel, Charlotte Richels and Pam Shdeed. Locally, the Meinders’ charitable giving includes the Meinders Hall of Mirrors at the Civic Center, the Meinders School of Business and the Kramer School of Nursing, the Meinders Gardens at the Myriad, the Meinders Scout Shop at the Boy Scouts headquarters and the dome atop the State Capitol.

A Blooming Anthology An anthology comprised of works by the late Elaine Smokewood, a beloved English professor at Oklahoma City University, is now available. “A Modest Profusion of Bloom” was published last spring several months after she passed away and contains 10 poems by Smokewood, letters and poems from her students, her correspondence with OCU President Robert Henry and a foreword by Henry. “This thin memorial tome honors the teaching of this remarkable university in general, and clearly Elaine Smokewood’s teaching in particular,” Henry wrote. Copies of the anthology are available for $40 each and can be ordered by contacting Dorothy Tennery at (405) 208-5530 or

Frans van der Merwe in his Pterovelo

pterovelo Takes OCU Alumnus

from Coast to Coast

Alumnus Frans van der Merwe pedaled his way across the country this summer in a newly-designed vehicle he invented. van der Merwe debuted his Pterovelo human-powered vehicle as part of the Roll Over America (ROAM) tour, which kicked off July 28 in Portland, Ore. About 50 velomobile, or human-powered vehicle, riders from the United States, Europe and Canada joined the tour, which went through 15 states and finished Read this Quick Response Aug. 24 in Washington D.C. code with your smartphone van der Merwe pedaled about 125 miles per day and app for bonus materials. updated fans on his blog, which continues to include video and live tracking. “Started off with a fairly big hill this morning,” van der Merwe wrote on Aug. 8. “I was able to push fairly hard up the hill and make a good start. The rest of the day was nice and fast.” van der Merwe faced a few challenges along the way. “Blood sweat and tears today,” he wrote Aug. 4. “Crossed one more mountain. The good thing is it was pretty.” van der Merwe, a 2007 graduate of OCU, has an eclectic background as a pilot, engineer, inventor and artist of composite design. The Pterovelo is a 70-pound recumbent tricycle that features a full enclosure, LED headlights, rear lights, brake lights, turn signals, a USB port, an evaporative cooling system, a rear view camera with LCD display and storage space. The name is taken from the Greek word Ptero, meaning “wing,” and the French word “velo,” meaning bicycle. For more information, visit

Nursing School Expands Degree Opportunities

The Kramer School of Nursing has restructured its undergraduate degree programs leading to Registered Nurse licensure to give students more flexible choices. Prospective students interested in obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree can start during the fall, spring or summer on a parttime, full-time or accelerated schedule. “More opportunities for professional nurses exist now than ever before due to the worldwide shortage of Registered Nurses and their expanding roles,” said Kramer School of Nursing Dean Marvel Williamson. The school is ranked among the top 10 percent of nursing schools in the nation. KSN also offers master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing including a family nurse practitioner program and a Ph.D. degree for nurse educators and researchers. Find out more at or by calling (405) 208-5900. focus FA L L 2 0 1 1



dance school toasts melba; Gives Students a Kick

OCU professor Dennis Jowaisas (left) at the Deborah Rothe Group Home

University Partners With

Teen Assistance Organization

The Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management, which pioneered tap and American dance in higher education, brought one of the country’s leading authorities on tap history to campus in October. Melba Huber, who has owned Melba’s Dance School in McAllen, Texas, for more than 50 years, conducted a series of workshops covering tap, studio business procedures, writing for dance and music selection. Huber has coached several students that studied at OCU and went on to Broadway fame including, most recently, Gabrielle Ruiz of “In the Heights” and “My One and Only.” OCU Dance Chairwoman Jo Rowan said Huber’s visit is an example of the school’s commitment to emphasizing and promoting American dance forms. OCU was the first university to offer a degree in tap dance.

Oklahoma City University has completed its first year of a partnership with an organization that helps young women who are under Oklahoma Department of Human Services supervision due to neglect and abuse succeed in school and work. Through the partnership, OCU provides participants of the Deborah Rothe Group Home with tutoring services in math and English, invitations to lectures and concerts, and evaluation and assessment services. The Deborah Rothe Group Home, located a few blocks from the OCU campus, is a non-profit housing organization for girls who have been wards of the state for many years led by Mahogany Gaines, BA ’06. OCU psychology professor Dennis Jowaisas led the efforts to establish the partnership last year and said the university plans to continue helping the organization.

Religion Professors Speak

at Passages Exhibit

Professors from the Wimberly School of Religion participated in a lecture series at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for its Passages exhibit in August. The exhibit celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and included relics and materials relating to the production of the earliest Bibles since the Old Testament was written by Jewish scribes. The lecture featured Gordon Campbell, a professor of Renaissance studies at the University of Leicester in England. Sharon Betsworth, OCU professor and director of the Wimberly School of Religion, gave a pre-lecture welcome, and Lisa Wolfe, professor and endowed chairwoman of Hebrew Bible at OCU, presented a response after the lecture. The OCU representatives, along with President Robert and First Lady Dr. Jan Henry, took a special tour of the exhibit. Melba Huber and Jo Rowan


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Honorary Doctorates Awarded to

Butkin, Cole, Gamble, Rainbolt Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry awarded four new honorary doctorate degrees during spring commencement. Former State Treasurer Robert Butkin received an Honorary Doctor of Laws, U.S. Rep Tom Cole was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Administration and former Miss America Jane Jayroe Gamble and BancFirst Chairman H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt” were awarded Honorary Doctors of Humane Letters. Cole has served as the representative for Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District since 2003, advocating for a strong national defense, small businesses and education. He spoke to the graduating class. Butkin became an assistant attorney general in Oklahoma in 1987 was later elected state treasurer of Oklahoma. He is a professor of law at the University of Tulsa. Gamble serves on the board of trustees for the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Mercy Hospital, Oklahoma Heritage Association and the National Foundation for Evangelism. She writes and produces programming for women and has authored numerous articles and several books. Rainbolt began his professional career as an Intelligence Officer for the 981st Field Artillery Battalion in Korea where he received the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. He returned to Oklahoma following the war to begin his career in the banking business.

Robert Butkin

Tom Cole

Jane Jayroe Gamble

H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt

Music Alumnus Wins Governor’s Arts Award Rick Rogers, BM ’74 and MMus ’77, received a 2010 Gover- remarkable talents of people in this community. From 1999 to nor’s Arts Award. The prestigious honor was awarded in the Media 2003, Rogers authored a twice-monthly column called “Articuin the Arts category and Gov. Brad Henry made the presentation lations” that explored a broad range of arts-related topics, from the inner workings of classical music to discussions about various during a ceremony at the capitol. Rogers has written about fine arts at The Oklahoman since aspects of the musical theater. Among his proudest achievements are two fellowships awarded 1988. He regularly covers the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Canterbury Choral Society, Lyric Theatre, Oklahoma City Ballet and by the National Endowment for the Arts. In January 2006, Rogers Celebrity Attractions. In July 2005, he was named fine arts editor was chosen to attend the NEA Arts Institute in theater and musical theater at the University of Southern California. at The Oklahoman. In October 2006, he was selected to attend the NEA Arts InstiAs a passionate advocate for the arts, Rogers has written about many of classical music’s most distinguished artists, from Van Cli- tute in Classical Music and Opera at Columbia University. Rogers is one of only 10 U.S. journalists selected to particiburn and Yo-Yo Ma to Joshua Bell and Renee Fleming. pate in both institutes. Rogers was among a group of U.S. journalists invited In 2004, Rogers received approval from The Oklato cover the openings of Fort Worth’s Bass Performance homan to commission a newspaper march in the tradiHall in 1996 and Seattle’s Benaroya Hall in 1998. tion of John Philip Sousa’s “The Washington Post.” In the musical theater, Rogers has interviewed and Former OCU professor Ray Luke accepted the comwritten profiles about such luminaries as Stephen mission and completed “The Oklahoman” in 2005. Sondheim, Charles Strouse, Cy Coleman, Julie AnThe march was given its world premiere in Nov. 2006 drews, Carol Channing, Kelli O’Hara and Kristin Cheand has since been used in various newspaper promonoweth. He recently did an in-depth interview with Putions. litzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts of “August: Other awards Rogers has received include numerous Osage County.” citations from the Society of Professional Journalists Since April 2008, Rogers has written a weekly col(SPJ) and the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Exumn called “Backstage” that spotlights local musiecutives. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, an cians, conductors, teachers, actors, theater directors Rick Rogers honorary music fraternity. and arts professionals. The profiles showcase the

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Make Our Garden Grow

Chickasaw Warrior, Garden Added to Campus Quad

By Rod Jones

Oklahoma City University dedicated its new Chickasaw Garden, a gift from the tribe to the university, during a standing-room only ceremony Sept. 6. Located just south of the McDaniel University Center, the garden was built during the summer to provide an appropriate setting for a statue donated to the university by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. The statue, titled “Chickasaw Warrior,” was created by prominent Native American artist Senator Enoch Kelly Haney, an OCU alumnus whose statue, “The Guardian,” tops the Oklahoma State Capitol building. OCU President Robert Henry said careful planning went into the garden in the center of campus that encircles the statue. “This is a place where students and campus visitors can relax, study or just think in peace while surrounded by beauty,” Henry said. “Every little detail from the color of the walkway to the layout of the garden was carefully considered in order to create a space that is fitting for this great work of art.” The statue sits on a pedestal to raise it slightly above ground level. A walkway and other features are intended to mimic the American Indian medicine wheel with an unbroken circular form. The four quadrants within the circle represent the four cardinal directions, the four seasons of the year and the four seasons of life—birth, adolescence, adulthood and death. The garden incorporates regional materials like pink granite and sandstone along with native plants to reflect the colors and textures of Oklahoma. The dedication ceremony included a Cedar blessing by Steve Littleman of the Kiowa tribe, a prayer by Chickasaw elder Lee Frazier, a sign language dance performance and a flute performance by musician Me-Way-Seh Greenwood of the Chickasaw, Ponca and Otoe tribes. Haney, Anoatubby and Henry were among the many dignitaries who were present. Contact Rod Jones at focus e x t ra

At right, clockwise from top left: OCU President Robert Henry unveils the Chickasaw Warrior; dignitaries finish unveiling the Chickasaw Warrior on the OCU quad; OCU American Indian Scholars Victoria Korrect, Corey Belvin, Jalisa Ross and Kori Wigmann sign The Lord’s Prayer; Steve Littleman performs a cedar blessing; Me-Way-She Greenwood gives a flute performance; a crowd of students gathers around the statue during the blessing; Rev. David Wilson, superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church, landscape architect Brent Wall, designer of the Chickasaw Garden, Native American artist Senator Enoch Kelly Haney, Bud Sahmaunt, former OCU athletic director and professor and prominent member of the Kiowa tribe, Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby and President Robert Henry at the dedication. .


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A True Champion Award-Winning Athletic Director Promotes Native Americans in Education By Rod Jones

“From now on, no second place banners will go on display. We’re only putting up the first place hardware.” That was the message from the new athletic director when he took the reins at Oklahoma City University in 1987. It was time to restore OCU’s prominence in athletics, and that message was the first step. The policy apparently paid off—15 NAIA national championships from 1987 to 2000. That new athletic director wasn’t new to campus. Bud Sahmaunt ’60 transferred from Cameron in 1958 after his sophomore year of college to play basketball and study education. He took a round-about path back to OCU to become a part-time education professor in 1972, then became athletic director in 1987. All told, Sahmaunt spent 28 years on campus. But it takes more than longevity to make an impression. Actually, Sahmaunt did so his first year when he starred on the OCU’s 1958 All-College Tournament-winning team. “I can’t think of any time I didn’t enjoy what I was doing,” Sahmaunt said, reflecting on his days as a student athlete. “Early on, I wanted to teach and coach basketball. I knew that everything I did was taking me to that goal.” Sahmaunt’s road to OCU was an indirect route. After graduating from Elgin High 12

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School he went to Cameron in Lawton for junior college. He was recruited by coach Abe Lemons, but he instead accepted a spot on the roster at Kansas State University, one of the premier teams in the country at the time. Before the season started, he had a change of heart and wanted to come back to Oklahoma. His cousin, Fred Yeahquo, played for Coach Lemons, and Sahmaunt wanted to do likewise. That late in the year, however, there weren’t any scholarships available. “Coach Lemons said the only way I could come is if one of the other guys changed their minds and left the team. A couple days later that’s what happened,” he said. When Sahmaunt arrived for his junior year of college, the basketball team had no place to play on campus. They rode in an old bus to practice at one of the junior high or high schools in the area. The team had to dress for practice and shower in their dorm rooms instead of locker rooms. Games were played at the Civic Center downtown on a temporary floor that was built at stage level. “If you ran too far past the goal at one end, you could fall a few feet to the floor below. The goal at the other end was up against a wall… and there were hollow spots under the floor at certain places. When the ball bounced on one of the hollow parts, it wouldn’t return as high

as normal,” he said, describing the makeshift game-day court. Fredrickson Fieldhouse would open in time for his senior year, which was one of the highlights of his college experience. Sahmaunt was known for his quick hands and fast decision-making abilities, two traits that served him well in Coach Lemon’s style of basketball. Those advantages were particularly evident over teams that favored a slower pace, like Henry Iba’s style at Oklahoma State University and many of the teams across the country. “Most games ended with scores like 35 to 41 back then,” he said. “We would score in the 65 to 75 point range all the time. That was considered a lot of points in that era.” To illustrate his point, Sahmaunt said when they hung the four-sided scoreboard at Fredrickson Fieldhouse, the scores for each team allowed for three digits. Sports columnists at the time were saying that having room for triple-digit scores was extremely unusual, if not completely unnecessary. “We almost did that the first game we played there—98 points against Florida State. That changed their minds,” he joked. His return to OCU was just as unlikely. Sahmaunt went to Minnesota for graduate school. When he finished, he started looking

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Notable Achievements for Dr. Joseph “Bud” Sahmaunt

6 1. Bud Sahmaunt stands in front of the site where Fredrickson Fieldhouse once stood. 2. Sahmaunt poses with the All College Champion trophy in 1959. 3. From left, Eugene Tsoodle, Fred Yeahquo and Bud Sahmaunt. 4. Fred Yeahquo and Bud Sahmaunt 5. 1959-60 team photo 6. Sahmaunt, left, sits with friends in a diner during his college days.

• Named Most Outstanding Athlete of Elgin High School by the Tulsa World • MVP in the 1958 All-College Tournament • Member of The Oklahoman’s 1950s all star basketball team • Counselor in Comanche County Public Schools • Taught and coached in Mustang and Cache schools • Assistant director of Indian Education for Oklahoma Department of Education • Board member of the National Indian Education Association • Earned the Outstanding Young Man of America award • Head marshal for OCU for several years • Earned full professor status in the Education Department at OCU • OCU athletic director, 1987 to 2000 • Conducted basketball clinics in Tianjin, China • Inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978 • Inducted into the OCU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981 • Elected vice chairman of the Kiowa Tribe • Inducted into the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma Hall of Fame • Athletic director for OCU, 1987-2000

for jobs in Oklahoma. He sent letters to universities across the state. “I didn’t get much of a response at first,” he said. “I received some replies thanking me for my inquiry, but no acceptances.” On a second try, Sahmaunt received some good news from OCU’s president, Dolphus Witten Jr., who said that OCU wanted to hire a part-time education professor. His schedule also allowed him to write grants on the side, giving Sahmaunt a way to champion his cause of getting his fellow Native Americans into college. “There was a lot of federal money at that time to help American Indians who wanted to get their education,” Sahmaunt said. While attracting more than $1 million in grants, Sahmaunt was moved up to full-time status. He helped OCU establish the Hispanic, Asian and Native American Services and research program and served as dean. All told, he recruited and helped more than 200 American Indian students earn their degrees. He later became athletic director and held that position until 2000. Among his hires

were baseball coach Denney Crabaugh, men’s golf coach Kyle Blaser and softball coach Phil McSpadden. All three have won NAIA national championships for OCU. The current athletic director, Jim Abbott, was Sahmaunt’s director of athletic development and promotions. Sahmaunt returns to campus for games as much as he can to cheer on the OCU Stars. He stays busy with volunteer work and is active with the Angie Smith Memorial United Methodist Church. He is also active with his Kiowa tribe and participates in powwows. One of his hobbies is crafting beadwork for powwow dress. His children, a daughter and son, live in the state, and he spends time with his grandchildren every chance he gets. Sahmaunt is also a regular figure at OCU athletic games and special events. “Looking back, I can only say that I was truly blessed to be a part of OCU for 30 years of my life,” he said. Contact Rod Jones at

• Served as head gourd dancer for the 2011 OCU Powwow focus FA L L 2 0 1 1


Take a Bough Jan Henry’s Christmas Trees Rooted in Celebration of History

By Christine Eddington

As the holidays draw near, Oklahoma City University First Lady Dr. Jan Henry’s Christmas trees will sparkle inside Wilson House. At the presidential residence, she takes a moderate approach, at least in comparison to previous years, with three charming trees, each with its own theme: the Glass Ornament Tree; the Birds Tree; and her newest, the Stars Tree. The Glass Ornament Tree is huge. So huge, and so laden with ornaments that it is divided into regions based on theme. For Jan,

First Lady Dr. Jan Henry in front of the Glass Ornament Tree.


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each ornament is a snapshot of her life over the past 20 years or so. Jan spends hours each year decorating her trees and savors the process. “Nobody touches my ornaments,” she said, with mostly mock ferocity. “I am selfish about decorating this tree. I enjoy each memory as I unwrap each ornament. It’s like opening your history. The story of my family is on this tree.” And it’s true. Each of her kids has a region. A branch of the family tree. Tiny photos of them as children are framed in hand-crocheted borders, made by their grandmother. Jan has surrounded their ornaments with tiny frames containing pictures of their children. Other ornaments are chosen according to what her grandchildren are enamored of at the moment, which explains the blown-glass tractor and train. Another region of the tree is dedicated to ornaments either brought home from or representing the many places around the globe the Henrys have visited. Here hangs a miniature British double-decker bus, a tiny Tower of Pisa and an Eiffel Tower alongside ornaments she hand-carried home from Russia. She and her husband, President Robert Henry, share a special affinity for Santa Fe, also well represented on the tree. “There is a Christmas store in Santa Fe,” she said, “and so each time we are there, I add another ornament.” Most are tiny glass replicas of famous Santa Fe buildings like the acclaimed Pink Adobe restaurant, the La Fonda hotel, the Palace of the Governors and the St. Francis Cathedral. There are a few dentist-themed ornaments, representing Jan’s profession, and a couple of judges for President Henry, a former federal judge.

A dear friend, known (thanks to son Josh Henry) as the Rabbit Lady, has contributed her share of (you guessed it) rabbit ornaments to the tree. “We’ve got about 13 years of rabbits,” Jan mused. “And rabbits multiply.” The Bird Tree is the smallest and is perched on a large windowsill in a cozy sitting room with a fireplace. It’s been a part of Jan’s holiday forest for about 15 years and is dotted with owls, a symbol of law, and other feathered friends, most made of natural materials. A flamboyant exception is, of course, the electric blue peacock. Tucked in between the branches, near the trunk are a number of nests, and looking for them adds to the fun of this tree. The Stars tree is the newest tree in the Henrys’ neck of the woods. It debuted last year. Inspired by the Henry’s new home, Jan’s star search commenced last fall. She was able to transplant a constellation of stars already in her collection to the new tree, among them some gorgeous, embroidered pairs of stars she found at the annual World Neighbors bazaar. Two shooting stars and one Swarovski crystal beauty she found in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, perch proudly amid finds from Target and other local shops. A special moment occurred last year as the Henrys celebrated their first Christmas on campus. There’s a possibility that Jan’s ornaments decided to tell their own story—the very first ornament she unwrapped as she began her hours-long holiday tradition was a beautiful glass replica of the iconic Gold Star Building in the heart of the OCU campus. The Henrys will host a campus open house in December. Contact Christine Eddington at

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delivering Education rain or shine:

Matthew Mailman By Rod Jones

Music can change your life. For many people, music is their life. That might be a fitting description of Oklahoma City University’s Wind Philharmonic conductor Matthew Mailman. Mailman likes to share his enthusiasm about music with younger generations, not only college students but also elementary-aged children. He organizes the annual Children’s Concert and Petting Zoo for hundreds of grade school students in the Oklahoma City area, an event that will have its 11th run in April. Mailman hosted a weekly classical music radio program called “No Strings Attached” for more than four years. He is the founder and conductor of the Harrison Academy Symphonic Winds and an associate conductor for the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra. His work has been published in The Instrumentalist and Teaching Music magazines, and he was a research associate and writer for eight volumes in the series “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band.” His arrangement of Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 2, K. 314 for Harmonie was published by the Southern Music publishing company based in Texas. It comes as no surprise that Mailman grew up in a musical household. His mother is a concert pianist and his father was the composer in residence for 34 years at the University of North Texas in Denton. His mother, who learned her craft at Juilliard, also taught music at UNT. Mailman earned his bachelor’s degree in music composition and master’s degree in conducting from Northwestern University in Illinois. After spending some time in Chicago recording commercial jingles, he returned to Denton to earn his doctorate of musical arts in conducting from UNT. He and his sister took piano lessons as children. Through a twist of irony, Mailman was the sibling who carried his musical talents into a professional career. “When we were kids, my parents wanted my sister to be the professional musician and they didn’t want me to be the professional musician. It actually worked out the other way around,” he joked. Denton has a reputation for being a premier music city. Because it attracts so many musicians, Mailman said, the competition to succeed amongst peers has driven many who learned


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there into successful musical positions all over the country. He didn’t need to live anywhere else to broaden his appreciation for music. In fact, “I lived in the same bedroom in the same house from the time I was born until I started college,” he said. What did vary, though, is his array of musical preference. Although his professional life Top: Matthew Mailman conducts the OCU Wind Philharmonic in 2010. is grounded in classical music, Below left: Mailman with Wanda Bass in 2004. Below right: Mailman he spends much of his time at work during OCU’s 2006 spring commencement ceremony. away from work listening to jazz and classic rock. His favorcan be done instead of focusing so much on what ite concert of all time was seeing Paul McCartney can’t be done. in 2009. “One thing I’ve always loved about OCU— “It was a moving experience. From 80 feet learning is not just for the students. Every time I away I was watching the most important living come to work, it feels like I’m coming to school.” songwriter in the world. He’s so prolific and cutLearning is a major component of conducting, ting edge, even to this day, and without being he noted. Conductors prepare for upcoming perpretentious,” he said. formances by studying background information His other interests include outdoor activities about the pieces their orchestras will perform. and watching movies. He said one of the skills of a great conductor is “When you’re around music all day at school, disseminating that information to the musicians you need a mental sorbet,” he said, explaining his in an efficient manner. life outside of work. “When you go into rehearsal, there isn’t Mailman joined the Bass School of Music facenough time to teach everything you learned. ulty in 1995. Besides his regular teaching duties, You can only get across about 10 percent of what he serves as a music director for the Oklahoma you know, and if you talk too much the musiOpera and Music Theater Company. In the 16 cians get bored and eager to play. The key is findyears since his appointment, he has conducted ing the right balance,” he said. 30 operas and musicals and has led the Wind The conductor also has peripheral responsiPhilharmonic in 10 world premieres, on five bilities like promoting the concert and writing tours, at two OK Mozart Festivals and at seven program notes. convention performances. He teaches graduate The conductor’s performance during the show and undergraduate conducting and coordinates is also important. While they shouldn’t steal the OCU’s Masters in Conducting program. show with too much charisma, Mailman says a Mailman credits the school’s leadership and clear baton technique is important for the mufellow faculty members for making his job a fulsicians while the arm movements should give filling experience. a visual idea of what the music is supposed to “I talk with my peers at other universities, and sound like. they often complain about how faculty and adStill, “My philosophy is that the conductor is ministrators don’t get along,” he said. “It’s not the least important person in the concert hall. like that here. Mark Parker (music school dean) Your posture should command attention, but I and Dean (Mark) Belcik are incredibly visionary would rather the audience be impressed by what people and they’re extremely fair when it comes they’re hearing, not seeing.” to their decisions. It’s inspiring to be around people who embrace a paradigm of how much Contact Rod Jones at

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all hail michelle hale: President’s Assistant Completes the Team By Rod Jones

Some teammates work better together than with any other substitutions—Batman and Robin, Jordan and Pippen, cake and ice cream are all prime examples. There’s a certain chemistry that works well together that can’t be replicated with other combinations. That describes the situation with Oklahoma City University’s president and his executive assistant. Michelle Hale has worked for President Robert Henry before. She served on Henry’s staff after he was elected Oklahoma’s attorney general in the late ’80s. “It was like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes,” Hale said of her new job at OCU. “After 20 years I still remembered how he thinks, how to respond to certain requests, what materials he’ll need for presentations. I can pretty much read his mind sometimes.” Hale’s path to working with Henry started when she was an intern for then-Attorney General Mike Turpen during her senior year in college at Oklahoma State University. She graduated with a degree in pre-law/paralegal studies from Oklahoma State University and was hired as the first paralegal in the Attorney General’s Office. After Henry took office she made it through a series of job interviews with him and remained on the staff in her position. “Several months later, I showed up to work one day, and there was a message that he wanted to see me. I thought, ‘Oh no, what have I done?’” she said. “It turns out that he was offering me the position as his executive assistant.”

And after Henry became president of OCU a year ago, her phone rang again. She started working in the President’s Office in August of 2010. Between those appointments, Hale moved across the state to Ada, Tulsa and Woodward due to her husband’s position with OG&E. In Ada, Hale was executive director of the Ada Regional United Way. While in Tulsa she worked for another member of the Henry family—Gov. Brad Henry—as director of his Tulsa Division. Before all of that, Hale was an Oklahoma girl, born and raised in Altus. Her father was the dean of admissions at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus and her mother was a Jackson County Court clerk for 20 years. Her career path seems to be a combination of the two—one toe in the public service pool and the other in academia. She has a unique experience of having lived in every section of the state—the southwest (Altus), southeast (Ada), northeast (Tulsa), northwest (Woodward) and central (twice in Oklahoma City). She professes to have enjoyed living in each area but is especially glad to be back in Oklahoma City. One of Hale’s proudest achievements is her work on the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Wellness Initiative, on which she spent four years planning and promoting for Governor Henry. Other community service work includes serving as executive director for the Ada Regional United Way, president of the Northwest Oklahoma CASA board of directors and board positions for

Michelle Hale

the American Red Cross, Woodward Regional Hospital and the United Fund of Woodward. Hale’s husband, Mitch, is manager of community affairs for OGE. They have one son, Michael, a sophomore majoring in premed at Oklahoma State University. Hale said she is glad to be back on the team with President Henry, a job that gives her a kaleidoscopic experience dealing with multiple projects and developments each day. “Working with him expands your intellect and views. He is exceptionally fun and challenging to work with due to his wide range of interests, his character and his intelligence,” she said. Contact Rod Jones at

Left: Hale, far right, dined with Gloria Steinem, center, and President Robert Henry at the Wilson House in October. Right: Michelle Hale and Robert Henry during his Oklahoma attorney general days, circa 1991.

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A Leg Up for OCU Dance Pedagogy Students By Leslie Berger

The legacy of one of Oklahoma’s favorite dance teachers will forever be preserved in a new endowed scholarship fund established at Oklahoma City University. The scholarship will honor Marcella Patterson, who touched thousands of young lives at her Woodward studio. A veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Patterson’s determination was perhaps her most endearing trait. At a time when single women experienced great difficulty in borrowing money from a bank, Patterson launched Rhythm Alley Dance School. Jane Boone Pelley remembers standing in class watching her teacher craft challenging routines, demand diligence, inspire perfection and draw laughter with her impeccable sense of humor. Decades later, Pelley still carries with her the life lessons she picked up from the beloved Patterson. A desire to share Patterson’s gift with the next generation recently inspired Pelley to lead an effort to establish a new scholarship at Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management. The Marcella Patterson Endowed Dance Teacher Scholarship honors Patterson’s commitment to the thousands of students she taught during a career that spanned more than 60 years. Patterson passed away in February at the age of 93, but her memory continues to thrive. “Marcella was one of those unique people who brings out the best in students,” Pelley recalled. “She simply had a way about her that made you want to do well. She was brash, direct, funny, organized, impossible on occasion and there was nothing we wouldn’t do for her.” Pelley said Patterson’s strength and resourcefulness always were evident. In addition to reworking costumes from year to year and creating inventive themes and scenery for recitals, Patterson made her own repairs around her house and maintained her car. “She could do anything,” Pelley said, adding that her time at Rhythm Alley has had a positive and lasting impact on her life. “I have always had some type of dance in my life, either through college classes, aerobics or now even Zumba,” she said. “I go to exercise classes, stand up straight, look at myself in the mirror and think of Marcella.” Patterson’s nephew, Bill Patterson, said dance students and their families travelled from a variety of towns, some of them from 18

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ABOVE: Marcella Patterson dances with her students at her 54th recital in 1986. TOP: Marcella Patterson and her students in December 1972.

far away and at great expense to study with Marcella. “Some mothers valued Aunt Marcella’s discipline principles which were carved in the Army Air Corps in WWII and Women in the Air Force in Korea,” Bill said. “Others valued her work ethics and teaching kids not only how to dance, but manners, hygiene, respect and many other things.” One popular class at Rhythm Alley was “Ballet for Football Players,” which attracted dozens of Woodward High School athletes who practiced coordination, leaping and strength exercise. Marcella Patterson’s niece, Sally Patterson Bradbury, said Rhythm Alley enhanced the culture of Western Oklahoma. “Marcella gave (her students) a broader, richer and more meaningful life through the arts, which I think for many people was a chance to experience a world far beyond a small farming community,” Sally said.

Pelley stayed in contact with Patterson who, after retirement, attended dance productions at Oklahoma City University with her family. “She would tell me about the shows and how wonderful they were. She appreciated the talent of the students and the instructors at OCU,” Pelley said. Pelley recently visited with her friend Jane Jayroe Gamble, an OCU alumna and trustee, about honoring Patterson through a scholarship at OCU. “When I found out about the degree program for dance teachers, I knew it was a perfect fit and that Marcella would have loved it.” “I loved and admired Marcella from the first time I met her,” said OCU Dance Department Chairwoman Jo Rowan. “I was a ballet master teacher at an Oklahoma Dance Masters convention. I remember her sparkling, intelligent eyes and the joyful curiosity she brought to the ballet classes I taught. She was impressive—a dedicated teacher and a beautiful, generous lady. We were friends for decades. I am delighted that the scholarship endowment in her name will both honor her life’s work as a dance teacher and will make it possible for our dance teacher majors to follow in her inspiring footsteps.” Pelley said the scholarship will allow Patterson’s former students to pass along her gift to a new generation of dance teachers. “I hope it will be a chance for us to join in a grand finale for this very special woman by keeping her gift alive,” Pelley said. “I hope that her story will inspire OCU students today who want to teach dance.” Bradbury said she is proud of the dance community that’s honoring Patterson. “Marcella had a strength of character and determination that was a necessity growing up in hard times—the Dust Bowl, depression, war and harsh living conditions. The family together worked hard to survive and to even celebrate life through arts and teaching,” she said. “Marcella never doubted what she was doing was the right direction for her and for those she taught. This scholarship will allow some fortunate students those chances to seize their passion and follow their dreams. That is the highest accomplishment any teacher can receive.” For more information about the Marcella Patterson Endowed Dance Teacher Scholarship and how to contribute, contact John Hillis at (405) 208-5120 or Contact Leslie Berger at

Photos courtesy of Wendy Mutz

OCU students appear in “The House of Atreus” last spring.

Not Your Daddy’s

Greek Tragedy By D. Lance Marsh School of Theatre Associate Professor TheatreOCU Artistic Director

On March 31, TheatreOCU, the producing arm of the School of Theatre at Oklahoma City University, opened the world premiere of new adaptations of four Greek tragedies. The project was titled “The House of Atreus.” The story follows a curse that affects several generations of a family in Heroic Greece, where a father sacrificing his daughter leads to a series of revenge killings, following the oft-repeated law of “blood must have blood.” In the end, the gods Apollo and Athena come down from Olympus and help create the first recorded trial-by-jury to sort out all the confusion. As the pictures bear witness, these Greek productions were not the usual fare that one expects when imagining a 2,500-year-old epic drama. The four plays whirled us forward in time, with the help of Jason Foreman’s dynamic and imaginative set, and the eerie, driving, dread-producing sound and rock ‘n’ roll-inspired lighting by Jim Hutchison, both OCU faculty. “The House of Atreus” was born in my Acting VI, Acting Styles class almost three years ago. I was repeatedly struck by the immediacy of these ancient plays and the huge scope of the stories. Agamemnon’s murder by his

Editor’s note: Focus asked Professor Marsh to give us an inside look at his unique idea to produce a new version of “The Orestia.” Following is his reflection on the undertaking.

wife and her subsequent murder by her son, along with all the mayhem that surrounds the story and the four-generation-long curse seemed to have all of the elements that make up a modern action movie. I was intrigued by the possibility of telling these stories fresh to a modern audience. But mostly I was taken by the power that the student actors found in the stillness these plays demand and how they blossomed by being allowed to play superhero-sized characters. And in my mind a crazy plan was born—to produce a fourplay cycle that told a new version of what is commonly called “The Orestia.” T ran slat i ons

The three great writers of tragedy in this period are Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Aeschylus wrote the three-play cycle called “The Orestia” (“Agamemnon,” “Electra” and “The Eumenadies”) that make up the core of our production text. But there are a number of other theatrical texts from the period that seemed relevant. For instance, each of the three great tragedians wrote a version of the Electra story. There are two very distinct tellings of the end of cycle (Aeschylus’ “The Eumenides” and Euripides’ “Electra”).

A myriad of translations and adaptations of all the plays subtly or radically rearrange and react to the stories from Greek mythology that inspired them. So I picked and chose and cut and changed and ended up with the texts that we eventually produced. This process included three rounds of workshop readings, where the theatre students had a chance to read the new drafts and help me make critical choices about both the style and the substance of the finished product. The opportunity to get to work in such a hands-on manner with a new play is an experience I am sure will prove valuable to our students beyond school. I focused on three major elements as I adapted these plays: a new way of conceptualizing the chorus, the evolution from an eye-for-an-eye justice to the first trial by jury, and a nuanced and highly theatrical way of looking at the principal characters, especially Clytemnestra. Let me focus on these latter two elements here and take a little more time to discuss the chorus in a later section. The murder of Iphigenia by her father, Agamemnon, was the inciting incident of this whole sequence of the tragedy, and it con t i nu e d on pa g e 3 1

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Kurt Leichter’s American Dream

OCU Trustee Emeritus Conquers Extraordinary Challenges By Leslie Berger

This time the transition was When Kurt Leichter was harder. Just after adjusting to 13 years old, he packed a few life in a large family, Leichter clothes in a suitcase, bid his fawas thrust into a military-stylether farewell and boarded a ship group-living environment. for a one-way trip to the U.S. “It was horrible, almost unIt felt like a bit of an adventure bearable,” Leichter recalled. for the wide-eyed teenager who He was bullied and tormented didn’t know the extent of the relentlessly by the rough-anddanger surrounding him. His tumble country kids who had life was on the line. never met a foreigner. LeichLeichter’s father, a Hungarter did the best he could and ian-born Jew living in Vienna, chose to study masonry. He beAustria, had been instructed by friended one other student and the German Nazi S.S. to leave at the age of 16, they decided the country with Kurt. His faKurt Leichter to go into business for themther knew if they stayed, they selves. They left the school and would be sent to a concentration camp. It had already been a tough year for went to Oklahoma City with the little amount of the Leichters. Kurt’s mother, a gifted opera sing- money they had managed to save. They successer, had passed away and his father had spent two fully bid a job to build a brick wall on S.W. 29th Street, but when the client saw how crooked it weeks in jail at the hands of the Nazis. In 1938, Kurt and his father intended to be- was he fired the pair. Leichter really needed to catch a break and he gin a new life together with distant relatives in New York City. However, while hurriedly mak- finally caught one. The Ladies Jewish League in ing arrangements, Kurt’s father learned the quota Oklahoma City heard about Leichter and set out for Hungarian citizens traveling to the U.S. had to help him find a stable job. As a result, he was already been exceeded. He was able to make ar- hired as an assistant to the jeweler at Montgomrangements for Kurt, but was forced to flee to ery Ward in downtown Oklahoma City. Little did Leichter know at the time, it was the start of England on his own. “I’m sure it was scarier for him than it was for his journey to the American dream. “I just knew that I liked it better than brickme,” Leichter recalled. His father wrote Kurt’s name on a piece of paper and affixed it to a straw laying,” Leichter joked. Other aspects of his life also picked up. In hat Kurt wore so that the distant cousins neither of them had met could identify Kurt when he 1948, he was finally able to sponsor his father’s entry to the U.S. arrived in New York. Leichter progressed to better and better posiLeichter recalled settling in to his new home in The Bronx. He was faced with many chal- tions at a variety of local jewelry stores and in the lenges including his inability to communicate early 1950s, he opened Treasures Inc. He could with his new family. They didn’t speak German only afford to rent enough space in First Nationand he didn’t speak English. He made the transi- al Center for his jewelry counter, safe and three tion from a spoiled only child to a tolerated child chairs. He bought ads in the classified sections in a large family. He attended a trade school for of local newspapers until a television advertising electricians but mostly focused on learning to salesman guaranteed him that 30-second spots speak English. Leichter was a quick study and would pay off as long as Leichter appeared in soon mastered the language but after a year and them and spoke to his audience. “My business blossomed from there and the a half, his relatives decided to send him to another trade school in hopes of equipping him rest is history,” he said. with skills that would allow him to earn a living. Leichter boarded a Greyhound bus for Shawnee, Okla., and enrolled in a trade school operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Kurt with his father; Kurt’s mother; Kurt’s early passport


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Leichter continued to own and operate Treasures Inc. with his late wife, Sydney, until he retired in 1987. Leichter became acquainted with the remarkable students and quality educational experience at OCU through his current wife and adult student, Cathy. When Kurt first asked Cathy on a date she had to decline. “I had a test the next day,” she laughed, noting she was working full time at an advertising agency and pursing a communications degree at Oklahoma City University. Cathy is now pursuing a master’s degree in philosophy at OCU. “Kurt is a great proofreader,” she noted, adding that he used to proofread all of her college papers. The Leichters are generous supporters of Oklahoma City University. They funded the Leichter Reunion Room in the Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center, the Leichter Music Scholarship Endowment and the endowed scholarship honoring dance chairwoman Jo Rowan. Kurt is a trustee emeritus on OCU’s Board of Trustees and holds an honorary doctor of humane letters from the university. “I always tell people, ‘Here’s a kid who basically only went to grade school in Vienna and wound up to be a doctor at a university,’” Leichter said. If life experiences are considered education, then Leichter has certainly earned his doctorate. “I think Kurt sometimes doesn’t acknowledge the peril he went through to get where he is,” Cathy Leichter explained. “He didn’t know what it was like to be without the difficulties he faced.” Those difficulties have provided the platform to make his faith stronger, his love for the United States boundless and have given him an appreciation for all his blessings. Contact Leslie Berger at

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From the great plains to the great white way,

OCU Alumni Shine in Popular Performances By Leslie Berger

Gabrielle Ruiz was happy to trade hours of training and dancing for a grade for a full-time career as a performing artist after graduating from Oklahoma City University. But now that she dances on and off Broadway for a living, Ruiz taps into her OCU experiences daily. Ruiz, who made her Broadway debut in “In the Heights,” plays a lead role in the Goodspeed Opera House’s “My One and Only” alongside Broadway veteran Tony Yazbeck. “I haven’t danced like this since OCU,” the 2007 OCU dance performance graduate says about her role as Edythe Herbert. While “My One and Only” is traditionally a tap show, Ruiz learned during the first day of rehearsals the cast would be recreating the ideas from the original Broadway production. “Now I’m dancing in ballet shoes and partnering again,” Ruiz said. “It has been such a fun experience. I’m able to stretch my art form and really dig deep into learning how to lead a show and work as a unit with my leading man, principles and company.” When Kim Faure, dance performance ’10, moved to New York City, she found instant success and landed her Broadway debut with “Anything Goes.” A member of the ensemble since October 2010, Faure said her training at OCU gave her the tools to succeed. “I had absolutely no tap training before going to OCU and now I’m in THE tap show on Broadway right now,” Faure notes. “I also learned professionalism, discipline and how to have the right attitude about auditions and rejection as well as challenges along the way.” Faure said her dance and vocal training at OCU gave her the perfect skill set for “Anything Goes.” “The cast is the best. The creative team could not have been better to work with, the

music is classic, the dance numbers are so fun to do and the audience eats it up every show,” she said. Others in major productions include dance alumnus Tyler Foy, who appears in the national tour of “Mary Poppins;” music alumni Will Mann, who plays a principal role in “Memphis” Off Broadway; Katie Postotnik, who is cast in the national tour of “Rock of Ages;” Ernie Pruneda, who made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of “Sister Act;” music theater alumni Ian Gibb, who is currently in the national tour of “Les Miserables,” and

Kim Faure

Gabrielle Ruiz

Shain Fike, who appears in “The Wedding Singer” national tour. Two of Oklahoma City University’s bestknown graduates, Kelli O’Hara and Kristin Chenoweth, continue their stardom. O’Hara performed last spring with the New York Pops in Carnegie Hall and with the New York Philharmonic. Chenoweth continues to do Broadway readings, most recently with Hugh Jackman in “On the Twentieth Century” and appears in guest spots on the hit show “Glee.”

Ruiz said her time at OCU has helped her excel in every aspect of her career. “I really learned the true meaning of being a professional performer,” she said. “We are not only performers, but professional, passionate artists who are serious about our craft and intend on making this our career and life. I believe OCU helped me mold that craft and state of mind which drives me every day.” Ruiz said she remembers watching OCU Dance Department Chairwoman Jo Rowan warm up with a full ballet barre, even while OCU’s American Spirit Dance Company was travelling, and never thought she would have the same discipline. “But now, with a show like I’m doing, a full ballet barre is essential,” she noted. “I am now inspired by Jo every time I warm up. She’s always with me and she’s right, it’s totally worth the warm-up—every day.” Contact Leslie Berger at

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Distinguished Alumni honored

By Leslie Berger

The Oklahoma City University Alumni Association honored seven outstanding alumni during Homecoming weekend festivities Nov. 5 at the Oklahoma History Center. This year’s honorees are arts and sciences alumnus Terry Dean Bergdall, law alumna Cathy Christensen, religion alumna Audra Doyle Fogle, nursing alumnus Edward Herrman, business alumnus Ronnie Irani, dance/arts management alumna Lesley Johnson Jennings, and honors program alumna Courtney Gray Montgomery. Bergdall, ’72, is the chief executive officer of the Institute of Cultural Affairs in the United States. He oversees the largest nonprofit service center in the Midwest, which is home to multiple programs addressing issues of homelessness and poverty. The center also is the residential setting for ICA’s Urban Service Experiences Terry Dean Bergdall that allows college students to earn course credit from participating institutions of higher learning. The program focuses on social transformation and systematic change through the themes of creating a just and equitable society, shaping a green, sustainable society and building foundations for peace. From 1969 to 1984, Bergdall worked for the Ecumenical Institute of Chicago. He was co-director of ICA in Kenya from 1984 to 1989 where he was responsible for a large


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staff implementing a national program of self-reliant bottom-up village development. He joined the Swedish Cooperative Centre in 1989 and became project coordinator of the Methods for Active Participation Research and Development Project (MAP) in Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Between 1992 and June 2009, Bergdall worked as an international consultant. For three years in Ethiopia, he was team leader of the Community Empowerment Program funded by the Swedish government’s agency for international assistance. He has worked with a large number of development organizations including CARE and Habitat for Humanity in 17 African nations. Civil society assignments have taken him to the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He facilitated the creation of a large strategic plan for the Institute of Social Policy in Kosovo shortly after the NATO intervention. Funded by the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), he facilitated strategic planning processes for five large municipal governments in Swaziland and Zambia. He has undertaken major program evaluations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Philippines. In North America, he has conducted educational programs on asset-based development with AmeriCorps host-organizations in several states. Bergdall earned his Ph.D. in international development at the University of Wales and is an adjunct faculty member of the ABCD Institute at Northwestern University. Christensen, ’86, practices family law and general civil litigation at Cathy Christensen & Associates P.C. She is the 2012 president of the Oklahoma Bar Association and has

served in a variety of leadership positions within the organization. Her awards include the Oklahoma Bar Foundation Distinguished Service Award, the Award for Community Service from the Oklahoma City Cathy Christensen University School of Law and the Mona Salyer Lambird Spotlight Award from the Oklahoma Bar Association. She has been listed as one of the Top 25 Female Oklahoma Super Lawyers by Super Lawyers Magazine. Fogle, ’90, attended Oklahoma City University as a Bishop’s Scholar, played tennis, served as president of the United Methodist Student Fellowship and served on the Presidential Advisory Team. She has served in full-time ministry with youth and children in United Methodist churches in the Oklahoma and central Texas conferences for more than 23 years. Fogle currently serves on the Board of Trustees as program chairwoman for Oklahoma United Methodist Camps. She is the director of senior high youth ministries at Boston Avenue Audra Doyle Fogle United Methodist Church. She has

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developed a comprehensive programming that emphasizes growth in student leadership at the local, district and conference levels and strengthened family and congregational relationships. Herrman, ’98, has been a Registered Nurse for 14 years, serving the last six years as a chief nursing officer. He is the vice president at Integris Southwest Medical Center. As a nurse he has held a wide variety of positions with a focus primarily in cardiovascular intensive care. He was a travel nurse Edward Herrman along with his wife, also a nurse, for four years, experiencing multiple opportunities including caring for the first self-contained mechanical heart transplant on the west coast at UCLA Medical Center. He started his management career at Kaiser Sunset in Los Angeles as one of the clinical coordinators of their 24-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit. He then moved to the Dallas metroplex area to work as a director of the medical intensive care unit for Presbyterian Hospital in Denton. After completing his master’s degree, he was named chief nursing officer at Baylor Medical Center at Trophy Club. He joined Integris Bass Baptist Health Center in Enid before moving to Integris Southwest Medical Center. Irani, ’90, is president and CEO of RKI Exploration & Production headquartered in Oklahoma City. He has more than 32 years experience in the oil and natural gas industry. Prior to forming RKI, he was senior vice president and general manager with Dominion Resources. He also served in senior executive positions for Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas Corporation and Woods Petroleum Corporation.

Irani has also completed the IPAA Executive Management Program offered in conjunction with Harvard University. He serves on the Industry Advisory Board of the Mewbourne College of Earth & Ronnie Irani Energy, is a senior board member and past chairman of the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering and served as vice chairman of the Board of Visitors for the International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma. He is a founding board member and past chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Explorers. Irani serves on the executive committee of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and is vice chairman for this statewide oil and natural gas association. He is president and founding board member of the India—U.S. Chamber of Commerce of Greater OKC. Jennings, ’93, has appeared on Broadway in the revivals of “The Music Man” and “Grease.” She performed in the singer/dancer ensemble at Radio City Music Hall and was a member of the cast for the national tour of “Grease.” Jennings has performed in a multitude of professional regional musical productions. She taught theater dance to New York City public school students through Rosie’s BroadLesley Johnson way Kids and the Jennings National Dance

Institute of New York. Jennings is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and serves on the board of the American Guild of Variety Artists. Jennings visits schools in Oklahoma as part of the Tulsa Area Arts and Humanities Council and Project Creates. She also teaches at several private studios, choreographs throughout the Tulsa area and travels as a guest teacher. Jennings has served as a faculty member for several summer dance intensives including OCU’s Broadway Bound workshop and the Broadway Theater Dance Workshop in Santa Fe, N.M., where she was the associate artistic director. Montgomery, ’95, is an assistant member of the Department of Arthritis and Immunology at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in genetic and molecular epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University. Montgomery is a member of the Immunochip Consortia, the Ethics, Legal and Social Implications Committee for the International Genetic Epidemiology Society, the American Association for Cancer Research, American Statistical Association, American Society of Human Genetics and the International Genetic Epidemiology Society. She is an editorial board member and reviewer for the Public Library of Science (PLos) One and several journals. She has given presentations on a variety of topics including Courtney Gray “Complex Disease Montgomery Genetics: A Case Study in Sarcoidosis” and “Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: What Does DNA Have to do With It?” Contact Leslie Berger at

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The New York Amsterdam News gave BA ’39, recently published “It Can Happen,” available ’39 ’71 Leona Mitchell, BM ’71, a glowing through Amazon and www.iuniverse. review for her recent performance in com. a special concert in the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. Bill Cammack, BS ’51, was honored in ’51 The Oklahoman’s Sports Tributes for his World War II service. Rick Rogers, BM ’74 and MMus ’77, Gov. Mary Fallin appointed Richard ’74 was the recipient of a 2010 Governor’s Arts Award. The prestigious honor ’60 Dugger, BS ’60 and JD ’64, to the was awarded in the Media in the Arts Oklahoma State Council for Interstate Barbara McAlister category. Rogers is the Fine Arts Editor Adult Offender Supervision. at The Oklahoman. The Will Rogers United Methodist The College of Fine Arts at the University David Davoudi, MBA ’89, was named Church in Tulsa held its annual patriotic cantata that was started by Rev. ’75 of Utah appointed James E. Gardner, ’89 president of CUL-MAC Industries, a violin performance ’75, as its new Hugo Garza-Ortiz, BA ’60, a Mexican manufacturer of chemical products. director for the School of Music. native who was music minister at the Rich Dozier, BS ’89, former basketball Spiritful Voices Community Choir named church for 38 years. player at OCU, played in the Texas Barbara Mcalister, BM ’64, teaches Tom Nix, music ’75, its new artistic High School Coaches Association’s All director and general manager. ’64 voice for the Cherokee Nation. She has Star Basketball Game in Fort Worth. enjoyed a long and successful career Larry Langley, JD ’77 alumnus of OCU Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin appointed as an opera singer, studying with Inez ’77 LAW, became a judge in Sequoyah Harry Kouri III, JD ’89, to the ABLE Silberg at OCU and Lee Sweetland in County, Arkansas. Commission. Hollywood. She sang in international Dan Hinkle, JD ’78, was one of five Santa Fe High School in Edmond apopera until 2009 and recently moved ’78 engineering management profession’90 pointed Earl Kirkpatrick, BS ’90, as from New York City to her hometown als inducted into the Missouri S&T its new principal. of Muskogee. She has received the Academy of Engineering Management Nick Pournader, BA ’90 and MBA ’93, Living Legend Award form the Bare this year in Rolla, Mo. Hinkle is the recently started his new position Bones Film Festival in Muskogee and a owner of a contract-lobbying firm that with Tyto Solutions as chief operating Leadership Award from the Muskogee represents clients before the Texas officer and partner. Tyto Solutions is Chamber of Commerce. Legislature and regulatory agencies. a business consulting firm based in A story in The Oklahoman mentioned Lt. Chelsey L. Williams, Spanish and Atlanta, Ga. criminal justice ’78, was promoted to Susie Maxwell Berning’s putter as one Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Chris’68 of the rank of deputy chief in the Dallas the 10 most interesting things in the ’91 tina Melton Crain, JD ’91,to the Trinity Police Department. Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame collecRiver Authority board of directors. The Daytona Beach News-Journal ran a tion. She graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in business. Emmy- and Tony-winning singer/actress ’80 feature story about the Annie Moses Band, which consists of children of Artist Mary Anna Goetz, BA ’68, was a Kristin Chenoweth, BM ’91, will OCU alumni Bill and Robin Wolaver, jurist for the National Exhibition in co-host the second annual American Cooperstown, New York. Two of her BM ’80 and ’83. The Wolavers met as Country Awards in Las Vegas on Dec. paintings hang in the Tom and Brenda students at OCU. 5. The awards show will air live on McDaniel University Center. Teri Bibb, BM ’82, starred in “The King Fox. Chenoweth was also recently Kathy Richardson Gibson, BA ’69, is ’82 and I” in Graham, Texas. announced as an Oklahoma Music director of ministries to families Hall of Fame inductee, and she was ’69 the with children and the director of hosSports Illustrated ran a feature story on “The Ellen Show” with Ellen Depitality ministries at the First United about Sam Udoh, an NBA basketball Generes. Chenoweth, along with her ’87 Methodist Church in Duncan. Gibson player from Nigeria, who earned his friend Rumble from the Oklahoma also served as OCU’s first graduate MBA at OCU in 1987. City Thunder, attempted to inspire assistant in the Master of Arts in relithe TV hostess with gifts, and Chegion program. Jeff Gifford, BS ’88, is the director of noweth even performed a cheer to environment, health and safety for help the TV audience “Thunder Up.” ’88 The Oklahoman ran a story about the Enogex LLC, a natural gas gathering, Oklahoma City University School of processing, treatment, transportation, Laura Soles Gamble, BA ’92 is a proLaw night class of 1969 that was storage and marketing company in spective student coordinator of the ’92 dubbed “the petticoat class.” The Oklahoma City. Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural story mentioned Oklahoma Supreme Michael Kiefner, JD ’88, the Grand River Food and Life Sciences at the UniverCourt Justice Yvonne Kauger, JD ’69, Dam Authority’s chief operating officer, sity of Arkansas. She also is pursuing a has been named interim chief execuand Judge Patricia MacGuigan, JD ’75. doctor of education degree. tive officer/director of investments. Rev. Linda Harker, BA ’93, became the senior pastor of McFarlin United ’93 new Methodist Church in Norman. Betty McInnis,


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rentals in Manhattan and the greater New York City area. Jeffrey Smith, BS ’01, is a contractor at the National Weather Service in NorKelli O’Hara, BM ’98, performed with man. His wife, Melissa Lanning Smith, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. O’Hara performed during a benefit BA ’01, homeschools the couple’s concert for the Amarillo Little Theatre three children and teaches piano in Texas in June. lessons. The couple met during their freshman year at OCU. Tom Walker, MBA ’98, was appointed to Kelly Ann Vitacca, BPA ’01, was on the the Oklahoma Governor’s Science and MTV series “Made” in July. The show Technology Council. featured Vitacca teaching a volleyball Douglas Hoey, MBA ’94, was appointed player how to become a ballerina. CEO of the National Community PharGeoff Broome, BA ’99, serves as direc’94 macists Association. tor of college counseling at Manheim Mounir Berrada, MBA ’02, is a field ’99 Township High School in Lancaster, with Video Gaming TechnoloAgus Cahyo Baskoro, MBA ’95, is the ’02 engineer Penn. His wife, Amy Osborne Broome, gies and an instructor at ITT Technical head of investment banking for UOB ’95 Kay Hian Securities. Institute. BS ’00, is the associate director at Longwood Performing Arts in Kennet Karen James, MBA ’95, was elected Greg T. Metcalfe, JD ’02, joined the GabSquare, Penn. chairwoman of the Rural Enterprises of leGotwals firm in Tulsa. Oklahoma board of directors. Elizabeth Inghram, BM ’99, was cast as Amy Wagner, BA ’02, has worked at A. Polly in the world premiere of “Dia de Eicoff and Company, a division of Jason Jump, BA ’95, is the publisher for los Muertos,” a new play by Anthony P. Ogilvy and Mather, for the past nine the Lone Star Christian Sports NetPennino that opened this summer in years. She is the associate media work, an online newspaper that covers New York. group director. private school athletics in Texas. Find the newspaper at Dr. Francoise Joseph, BS ’99, attended Adria (Morgan) Sprigler, BS ’03, has Jane Haskin, MSB ’96, president and the University of Sydney Medical at Chesapeake Energy for eight ’03 worked CEO of First Bethany Bank & Trust in School and is a rehabilitation years, holding a variety of jobs. She became the first woman to physician in Wollongong, Australia. currently is a drilling systems supervi’96 Bethany, serve as chairman of the Oklahoma sor and oversees the administration Ann Satterfield, MBA ’99, is a regional Bankers Association. and development of different technolosales manager for CitizenHawk, a The Alexandria Police Department in gies for the drilling group. brand protection services firm. Louisiana appointed Loren Lampert, Renee Anderson, BM ’00, starred in ’96, as interim public safety com’00 Summerstock ’97 JD missioner. Productions’ Mike Edmison, BA ’97, was named major “Annie Get gifts officer at the National Cowboy Your Gun.” and Western Heritage Museum. Anglea Bowen, Jeff Messer, JD ’97, coaches the SlipMSN, Ed. RN, pery Rock University baseball team. ’01 BSN ’01, is Jeffrey L. Anderson, JD ’98, was apnow a nursing instructor at ’98 pointed circuit court judge in Polk County, Wis. Oklahoma City Business Insider spoke with law school University’s alumnus Jeff Berry, JD ’98, for a Kramer School story about a game injury to a player of Nursing. he represents, Buster Posey of the San Brian T. Ellis, Francisco Giants. Berry gave a lecture BS ’01, is a about his sports agency at OCU LAW pediatrician in this fall. Norman. Takehiko Hozumi, M Ed ’98, is a board Elizabeth Milmember for a non-profit high school dren, BA ’01, exchange program, and has helped is an agent at send numerous Japanese high school CitySites Real students to the U.S. Estate in New Air National Guard Maj. Robert W. Stade, York City. MilMBA ’98, was decorated with the dren specialBronze Star medal for serving in supizes in helping port of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Stade, performing an engineer with 29 years of military artists and service, is assigned to the 219th Engiothers find “The Bachelor” host and OCU alumnus Chris Harrison, BA ’93, participated in the Cox Celebrity Championship hosted by Drew Brees in San Diego in May. Harrison joined other celebrities including Jack Wagner, Marshall Faulk, Ray Romano, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Jenner and Carson Palmer in the charity event to raise money for the Brees Dream Foundation.

neering Installation Squadron, Oklahoma Air National Guard Base in Tulsa.

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Sarfraz Shaikh, MBA ’01, and his wife, Madiha Shaikh, of Broken Arrow, Okla, welcomed baby boy Ayan Zuhayr Shaikh on May 6.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed DalJennifer Tippin, BS ’07, is a sales coordinator for Spring Hill Suites. las Barrington, JD ’04, to the state’s ’04 Crime Victim’s Institute Advisory Frans van der Merwe, BS ’07, pedCouncil. aled his way across the country in a State Assistant Attorney General Mykel newly-designed vehicle he invented. Van der Merwe debuted his Pterovelo Fry, JD ’04, was named to lead Oklahuman-powered vehicle as part of the homa's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Roll Over America (ROAM) tour, which Four Oklahoma City University alumni went from Portland, Ore., to Washingare making the move from the Kenton, D.C. nedy Center to Broadway to perform in Dance alumnus Tyler Foy, BPA ’09, Stephen Sondheim's “Follies.” Brian the Broadway First National Sheppard, Cliff Samuels and Sara ’09 joined Tour of “Mary Poppins,” touring across Edwards, BPA ’04, were in Washingthe United States and Canada. He was ton, D.C., with headliner Ron Raines, recently promoted to dance captain/ BM ’75. swing and is responsible for keeping Heather Tiger, BA ’04, is a child all of the choreography clean, running welfare specialist for the Department rehearsals at the beginning of new citof Human Services. She also is the ies and teaching choreography to new children’s director at Trinity United cast members. Methodist Church in Muldrow where her husband, Aaron Tiger, BA ’05, serves as pastor. Ian Patrick Gibb Cristina Bewley, BA ’05, is a paralegal Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. ’05 at She also is the stage manager at Ghostlight Theatre Club. Herman Burge became an assistant coach for the Stetson women’s basketball team. Burge played basketball for OCU in ’05. Eric Doades, music theatre ’11, conThe Baptist General Convention of Oklaa performance arts camp for ’11 ducted homa hired Brian Hobbs, MBA ’05, as children in Canada. its communications director. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch listed former Kenneth Soh, BA ’05, works at a nonOCU wrestler Ashley Hudson, marprofit organization assisting migrant keting ’11, as an Olympic hopeful. workers in Singapore. Hudson and former teammate Melissa Will Mann, BM ’06, was cast as Bobby Simmons picked up spots on the the national tour of “Memphis,” Ian Patrick Gibb, BM ’09, is currently U.S. team during the USA Wrestling ’06 in which opens at the Orpheum Theatre performing in the 25th Anniversary World Team Trials. Hudson finished in Memphis. National Tour of “Les Miserables.” as runner-up and Simmons took third He also has been a company member Justin L. Funk, BS ’07, graduated from place. at Pittsburgh CLO, played Joseph in State University OklahoThe Liverpool Daily Post in England ran a ’07 Northeastern “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor ma College of Optometry with a doctor feature story about Laura Jones, kineDreamcoat” at Fireside Theatre and of optometry degree in May 2011. siology ’11, who is working on becomwon the role of First Tenor Loverly Linzy Hall, BA ’07, is a senior developing a professional golfer. Quartet in “My Fair Lady” at the Arts ment officer for Children’s Miracle Patrick Kennedye, BS ’11, was awarded Center of Coastal Carolina. Follow Ian Network Hospitals. In addition to worka $5,000 fellowship for graduate study on Twitter @IANPATRICKGIBB. ing with national and local sponsors, from the national honor society of Phi Daniel Ojeda, economics ’09 and MBA Hall coordinates the annual telecast, Kappa Phi. ’11, became an associate at Sperry sponsor kick-off luncheon and dance David Mills, BS ’11, earned a full-time Van Ness/William T. Strange & Associmarathon. She played bass clarinet in graduate teaching assistantship from ates. the OCU philharmonic and continues the University of Memphis. Janna Wingo-Pfarr, BPA ’09,and Jake to play in her church orchestra. Lisa Nelson, BPA ’11, studied ballet, Pfarr, Bachelor of Performing Arts The South Kingstown Patch ran a feature tap and jazz at OCU and was in the ’06, recently purchased Theatre Arts story about alumni Erin McCracken, American Spirit Dance Company, and Inc. in Broken Arrow. BM ’07, who played in Theatre By the recently taught summer workshops for Rocky Chavez, BS ’10, is president of Sea’s production of “Hairspray” in the Louisiana Delta Ballet. Brickshaw Buggy in Oklahoma City Rhode Island. McCracken played the ’10 and is working toward his MBA at the lead character Tracy Turnblad. University of Oklahoma.


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Tuesday, Aug. 23 Devon BoathousE Home of OCU Rowing and Canoe/Kayak honoring Jeannette and Dick Sias


1. Benjamin Harjo stands next to his artwork, which was used for the label on the new Joullian Zinfandel Rosé. 2. Elmer Bush, Leona Mitchell and Robert Henry 3. William and Lisa Bullard 4. Ron Norick, Kandy Norick and Mary Ellen Randall 5. Joe and Jan Womack 6. David Wilson and Barbara Harjo 7. Dick and Jeannette Sias 8. Emma Velez, Sarah Cook and Marcus Sams 9. Marcus Williamson and Marvel Williamson





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true blue By Rod Jones

With an ever-growing selection of official Oklahoma City University merchandise, the Campus Store has become a place where shoppers can find something for any blue-blooded Star. Flip-flops, umbrellas, Christmas tree ornaments, golf balls, aprons, stuffed animals and coffee mugs in practically any style imaginable are on an extensive list of available products. They even have stethoscopes for sale. Store Director Laura Warren said she has made an effort to increase the variety of merchandise since she took the position a couple of years ago. “It’s fun to show school pride whether you’re a current student, parent of a student or an alumnus,” Warren said. “Merchandisers

have found some original ways to get people excited about their schools. T-shirts and coffee mugs are still very popular, but there are now many unique products that carry the OCU identity.” The store will soon release a new catalogue in time for the holiday shopping season and Warren gave some hints about some of the new gear. One of the items is a line of women’s luxe fabric pullover vests featuring the Goldstar logo. There will also be some new cold-weather hats and beanies. Shoppers can browse and purchase merchandise at the Campus Store website at Contact Rod Jones at

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Blue It Up As if showing school pride wasn’t enough, the store is planning to pay people to wear OCU gear. A photo contest called Blue It Up has put shopping sprees on the line— $250 for first, $150 for second and $100 for third. Contestants sent photos of themselves or people they know wearing OCU gear. The contest committee selected the top five entries and put them on social media websites. The photos with the most votes were declared the winners, which were announced during Homecoming festivities. First place was awarded to Angelina Stancampiano, second place to Chris Garrett and third place to Josh Cassella. Campus Store Manager Laura Warren hopes to make the contest an annual tradition. The contest invited submissions from OCU’s earlier mascot eras, too—the Goldbugs and the Chiefs. It’s open to everyone who has OCU pride—young and old, humans and pets—and creativity is encouraged. The photo submissions from this year’s contest will be on display in the store until the end of the fall semester.


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Hall of Honor






Meinders School of Business Adds Five to

Hall of Honor Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business inducted five business leaders at its 25th annual Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor luncheon Nov. 3 at the Cox Center. This year’s honorees are Martha A. Burger, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award; Stan Clark, Entrepreneurial Spirit Award; H.E. Gene Rainbolt, Chairman’s Award; John Richels, President’s Award; and Lee Allan Smith, Paul Strasbaugh Lifetime Achievement Award. Burger is the senior vice president of human and corporate resources for Chesapeake Energy providing leadership for human resources, administrative services, facilities, communications, security and ethics as well as the company’s fitness center. Clark, who is president of Stan Clark Companies, owns Eskimo Joe’s and other restaurants in Stillwater. Rainbolt chairs BancFirst Corp. He was previously chairman and president of the Federal National Bank in Shawnee and chairman of United Community Corp. Richels was elected president and chief executive officer of Devon Energy in June 2010 and joined the board of directors in 2007.

Smith is chairman of Oklahoma Events, a full-service event production firm. Meinders School of Business Interim Dean Steven C. Agee said this year’s Hall of Honor class should be commended for their leadership qualities. “Each of these honorees has demonstrated admiral qualities with their contributions to business leadership and in helping with charitable causes,” Agee said. “We are proud to add them to our distinguished list of previous Hall of Honor inductees.” Agee noted that the original sculpture each honoree received along with their induction award is symbolic of the connection between business and the arts at OCU. “We are proud of the well-rounded exposure our students have to business, commerce, industry and the arts,” he said. “At the Meinders School of Business, we emphasize scholarship in business practice alongside the fine liberal arts instruction our students receive at OCU.” In addition to recognizing members of the business community, the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor luncheon benefits the Meinders School of Business scholarship program.

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office space

the office of mahmood shandiz Face art • A gift from students at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics where Shandiz has taught almost every year since 1989 through a partnership with Oklahoma City University, this face art is one of the most noticeable pieces in the office. Shandiz was present during the Tiananmen Square protests.

Award • Shandiz was recognized for his participation in the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, based in Washington, D.C., and has been helping recruit Saudi students for the past five years. Taj Mahal • This small-scale replica of the Taj Mahal was a gift from an Indian student at Oklahoma City University. Shandiz has more than a dozen gifts from students displayed in his office.

Meinders School of Business frame • Colleagues from the Meinders School of Business wrote thank you notes and personal messages to Shandiz on this photo when he left the business school last year to take on his new role as associate vice president for international admissions. In 1985, Shandiz began working in the business research center at OCU. He taught classes as an adjunct professor in 1986, and in 1987 he assumed a full-time role as professor of statistics and economics. In 1992, he became an associate business dean on a part-time basis and became full-time associate dean in 1995.

about dr. shandiz Associate Vice President for International Admissions Mahmood Shandiz has worked at OCU since 1985. He began his current role last year and moved into Lacy Center 217.

Hand-crafted clock • Students in OCU’s MBA program in Malaysia gave Shandiz this clock, engraved with the presentation date of Aug. 25, 1990. After 21 years, it’s still ticking.

Education Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Pars College in Tehran, Iran Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Tehran Ph.D. in Sociology from Oklahoma State University Post Doctoral studies at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA


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Rotary plaque • Shandiz is a member of the Capitol Rotary Club, which meets at Oklahoma City University, and he is a past president of the club.

Coming to Oklahoma Shandiz missed his flight for Oklahoma City from New York City on Aug. 18, 1978 and spent the night sleeping on his suitcase. The next morning he arrived at Oklahoma City University and visited the English Language Center. He spent the next few months studying at the Dulaney-Browne Library for the Graduate Records Exam. “I never imagined that I would work on this campus the rest of my life,” Shandiz recalled.

Of Note When Shandiz was laid off from a teaching position at Oklahoma State University in 1983, he took a shopping mall job at General Nutrition Center (GNC). He did not tell the company he had a Ph.D. and began working five hours a week as a stock boy. He quickly progressed to regional sales director before leaving the company.

“The House of Atreus” at OCU

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES “A Christmas Carol” • Dec. 1 – 11 “Pride and Prejudice” • Feb. 2 – 12 “The Farnsworth Invention” March 8 – 10 “Wit” • March 29 – 31 “Te Ata” • April 26 – 28 for tickets visit

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was important to include that story in all its gory details. Most tellings of this story follows the three plays of Aeschylus’ “Orestia,” and only peripherally discuss the Iphigenia’s sacrifice, but I wanted us to have a visceral reason to root for Clytemnestra, or at very least, give her some solid justification for her murder of her husband. So an adaptation of a fourth play, Euripides’ “Iphegenia at Aulis,” became our first act. This play feels ancient to me, in comparison to the second act, Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon”. In real story time, only 10 years have passed since Agamemnon went off to conquer Troy, but at home it feels like an eternity has passed. It was this feeling that gave me the central concept that guided these adaptations: the whole production was a journey that mirrored the history of mankind, from savagery to civilization. So I decided to set each of the four plays in a different time period. “Iphigenia” is set in antiquity, with masked performers and a text that felt old to me, and almost brittle—a kind of King James version of the story. “Agamemnon” moves forward in time but is still lost a bit behind the veil of history. Here I conceived of the great general returning from another holy war, the crusades, to find a very different homecoming than he expected. The text is inspired by Shakespeare, formal, and measured, a fairly rigid iambic pentameter. “Electra” (Act 3) leaps forward again, not only in terms of time period but also text style and tone. The ruined House of Atreus is now found in the 1930s, in the dust bowl of the Midwest, a land that time and the gods have forgotten. It also seems to be the least realistic of all the plays, as the chaos of Electra’s madness almost supplants the other natural laws, and the play careens towards a nightmare. The text here is an easier, more deconstructed verse. Finally, “Orestes,” (Act 4) a blending

of the Aeschylus and Euripides stories, is set in the “now,” with very contemporary text, except for the gods, who speak in their own, almost timeless verse. There is a Clytemnestra in each of these four plays, three living ones and a ghost, following the evolution of that character’s journey through four plays and with four different actresses. Better still, it meant that the three Furies (ancient Revenge Goddesses, with hair-like snakes) in the last play could be played by the three actresses who had played Orestes’ slain mother in the three preceding acts, and this meant that he would be haunted by different versions of the mother he killed. Talk about a nightmare! T h e C hor us

There is something awesome and unfamiliar about a Greek chorus. The idea of 15 actors (in the later plays) moving and speaking and singing in unison, the collective voice of the everyman and woman, the collective conscience of the society, seems foreign to our drama today. I wanted to retain the power of those large groups moving and speaking together, while finding individual voices and clans within the collective. The chorus of this “House of Atreus” is then a chorus of individuals, and, like real-life organizations of human beings, accord is seldom reached without struggle and compromise. Their text is related to the plays that they are in, but they find a very similar voice in all four plays, and manage to stand outside the work to comment on it, as well as being flesh and blood participants. The four plays originally had four different kinds of choruses (young girls in “Iphigenia at Aulis,” old men in “Agamemnon,” for instance), but I like that we have found a single chorus, a group of 10 women, that serve all four stories and seem to evolve with them. And it is their evolution that I am most

moved by. They begin as a group of giggling school girls on a holiday at the top of Iphigenia, become army wives and widows separated from fathers and husbands for 10 years in “Agamemnon,” and witnesses and even unwitting participants in a bloody rebellion in “Electra.” The three clans and the chorus leader end up as sober matrons by the end of “Orestes,” the keepers of the tribe’s wisdom and the newfound possessors of this “Justice” that once was the gods’ to dispense, but now has become mankind’s greatest asset. But this newfound justice comes with a cost: responsibility. As the chorus leader says near the end of the last play with a shock of discovery, “We are no longer children.” I think it is a very human discovery that comes to us all at one time or another. T h e C i t y Di o nysia

No four-play cycle would be complete without some attempt at performing them all in a single sitting. Inspired by past theatrical epics like “Nicholas Nickleby” and by what we understand of how the Greeks would have originally seen these plays, TheatreOCU decided to give a dedicated audience the opportunity to see the whole story (six hours of performance) from beginning to end. The day began at 3 p.m. with a wonderful and insightful lecture by OCU President Robert Henry on “Greek Tragedy and the Law.” A little after 1 a.m., the lights went black at the end of “Orestes.” People came and went as the day went on, but by my count, almost a hundred people stayed the whole day and experienced the whole story sequentially. This was certainly not your typical theatrical experience, either in scope or style, but I hope this kind of unexpected, innovative and highly theatrical work becomes a trademark of the newly revitalized School of Theatre at OCU. Contact D. Lance Marsh at focus FA L L 2 0 1 1


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Athletics establishes

Jim Wade Endowment OCU has established a new endowment for athletics through a generous gift donated by Gen. Jim Wade. The Jim Wade Endowment will aid in providing OCU student athletes the best possible experience at the university and will keep the Stars competitive on the field. The endowment will be invested permanently to provide funding for OCU athletics towards scholarships, equipment, travel and the Jim Wade Awards Banquet. Additional gifts to the endowment are encouraged and anyone so inclined may contact OCU athletics at (405) 208-5309. Wade is a former OCU baseball, basketball and football player and an OCU Athletic Hall of Famer. Wade achieved the rank of general in the U.S. Air Force and became decorated for service in the Korean War. He serves on OCU’s Board of Trustees. “Oklahoma City University athletics means so much to me,” Wade said. “It’s been a great part of my life. I want to help the athletic department. I love those athletes. Whenever they walk up to me at the banquet and thank me, that’s a great reward for me.”

Gen. Jim Wade with 2010-11 Jim Wade Award winners Brittany Tibbs and Chad Carman

Stars shine in classroom work Fourteen OCU athletic teams maintained a 3.0 combined grade-point average in 2010-11. Academically, OCU’s athletic department registered its 18th consecutive semester with a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average. The Stars’ canoe/kayak, cheerleading, men’s and women’s cross country, pom/ dance, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s rowing, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, volleyball and men’s and women’s wrestling teams each achieved the feat. Kirk Walker


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OCU’s 2010-11 athletic achievements

Athletics Director Jim Abbott, Dionne Phelps, and President Robert Henry

Stars welcome new coaches in basketball and cross country OCU has chosen Dionne Phelps to become its head men’s basketball coach, while Conor Holt became OCU men’s and women’s cross country coach. Phelps joins the Stars after being associated with several successful programs. Phelps most recently served as assistant coach on the University of Oklahoma’s staff the past five seasons. “At Oklahoma City University we look for coaches who exemplify our university’s core values on and off the court, and Dionne Phelps certainly does that,” OCU President Robert Henry said. “He will inspire our young men to compete hard and to become true athletes, scholars and gentlemen. Our Stars will shine even brighter under the tutelage of Coach Phelps. We welcome him to the OCU family.” Phelps’ 22-year career coaching basketball includes experience at Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, Baylor and Texas Lutheran. Phelps has been a part of four conference championship teams and three NCAA Tournament squads. At Oklahoma, Phelps contributed to the Sooners’ NCAA Tournament teams in 2008 and 2009, including OU’s Elite Eight appearance in 2009. Oklahoma went 96-69 during Phelps’ time on its staff. The 2008-09 Sooners went 30-6 led by eventual No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Blake Griffin. Holt joins the Stars after four years as Purdue assistant cross country coach. Holt captured the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon title in 2003 and 2004, posting a course record 2 hours, 22 minutes, 54 seconds the second time. At Purdue, Holt guided the Boilermakers to a wealth of improvements, including a pair of NCAA qualifiers, seven regional track and field qualifiers, two Big Ten medal winners and 11 conference place winners.

• OCU’s third consecutive Women’s College Wrestling Association national championship • Fourth National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals women’s wrestling title in a row • Made the NAIA World Series for the 13th time overall and fourth consecutive year • Reached No. 1 in the NAIA rankings in baseball and men’s golf, finishing as No. 1 in the men's golf ratings • Advanced to the NAIA volleyball championships for the first time ever • Made the NAIA Division I women’s basketball tournament quarterfinals • NAIA national-tournament appearances in softball, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer and men’s wrestling • Third consecutive NAIA Baseball Championship Opening-Round Tournament title • Victories in the NAIA Championship Opening Round in women's soccer and volleyball • Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championships in baseball, women’s basketball and women’s soccer as well as the co-championship in softball • OCU’s 14th SAC men’s golf title in 15 years and 17th SAC men’s golf crown overall • SAC Tournament championships in softball, women’s soccer and the Stars’ first conference volleyball tournament crown ever • Fifty-two all-Americans, including 13 in women's wrestling • WCWA champions Nicole Woody (44 kilograms-97 pounds), Ashley Hudson (59-130), Kristie Davis (67-147) and Brittany Delgado (80-176). Hudson became outstanding wrestler of the WCWA Championships, while Michaela Hutchison finished runner-up at 55 (121) • In the Dad Vail Regatta, Edgars Boitmanis won the men’s single sculling event, while Kathyrn Schiro took the women’s single. Jane Imfeld finished third behind Schiro • Phil Mickelson Award winner James Marchesani as the top freshman in NAIA men’s golf • SAC baseball player of the year Kirk Walker • SAC softball player of the year and pitcher of the year Lily LaVelle • SAC volleyball most valuable player and hitter of the year Xiaoting Ma • Nine NAIA wrestling championships qualifiers • Three Stars taken in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft—Ryan O’Sullivan in the fourth round, Ruben Sosa in the 23rd round and Walker in the 26th • OCU softball coach Phil McSpadden became the latest inductee into the OCU Athletics Hall of Fame. McSpadden has led OCU to eight national crowns and 1,270 victories • OCU picked up its 1,100th win under baseball coach Denney Crabaugh as he now owns 1,136 career victories • OCU captured its 75th men’s golf tournament title in 15 years under coach Kyle Blaser focus FA L L 2 0 1 1


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Cheer squad

Give us an O, give us a C, give us a U Oklahoma City University captured the first NAIA cheer and dance titles in the large coed and large dance categories in the NCA/NDA Championships in April in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Stars also took NAIA runner-up in the small coed division. In open competition against schools from any division, the Stars took fourth in the partner-stunt category, seventh in the

dance hip hop division II and seventh in the open stunt category. Starsky, OCU’s mascot, finished fourth place in the mascot competition. The Stars took the NAIA large dance division with a score of 9.304 in the final round. “Their performance was incredible,” OCU coach Brandy Corcoran said. “They

a picture is worth a thousand words OCU athletics unveiled a new photo gallery where fans can buy exclusive action photos of the Stars. The photo gallery is a feature offered by Sidearm Sports, the provider of OCU’s official athletics website, Go to The Stars’ new photo gallery provides a variety of print options for sale. Photo prices start as low as $4.99. Check back regularly throughout 2011-12 for more photos to come.


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made everyone stop and watch. Their skill level is amazing and it definitely sets the bar high for other schools.” The Stars’ second national championship of the weekend of competition was pulled off in the large coed cheer division. OCU scored a 9.685. OCU has won 41 national championships in all sports.

OCU takes seventh in Directors’ Cup standings OCU finished seventh in the 2010-11 NAIA National Association of College Directors of Athletics Directors’ Cup standings buoyed by national finishes in baseball, women’s golf and softball. The Stars took fourth place in the NAIA women’s golf championships and fifth in the NAIA World Series and softball championships to improve from 23rd after the winter season. OCU has captured a national championship each year the past 18 years. Since 1996-97, OCU has 11 top-10 finishes in the NAIA Directors’ Cup standings and has finished in the top 12 nationally for 14 consecutive years. OCU picked up a second-place finish in the 2010-11 Sooner Athletic Conference Cup standings. Points in the Director’s Cup standings are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 12 sports—six men’s and six women’s.

in memory

Jack Redman Foster

Dorothy “Bee” Pape

Jack R. Foster, 83, of Oklahoma City died peacefully on April 25, 2011. He was born on March 28, 1928, in Muskogee, Okla., to John Thomas and Lillian Redman Foster. During his career, he served on the boards of trustees for Oklahoma City University and the Oklahoma Methodist Foundation, Inc. His early years were spent in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kentucky. He was a longtime member of Mayfair Heights United Methodist Church and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. A private burial preceded services in the chapel at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church or the charity of one's choice.

Dorothy R. (Bee) Pape of Edmond, Okla., died July 29, 2011. Bee, a longtime Oklahoma City resident, was born in Ft. Smith, Ark., on Oct. 14, 1928. At her time of death, she was the director of Montessori Teacher Education Program at Oklahoma City University, and was a 2011 finalist for the American Montessori Society Living Legend Award. She was a Montessori pioneer in the Southwest, created the first Montessori teacher training program in the 1960s and taught at Casady School for 35 years. In addition to her Montessori activities, Bee devoted substantial time promoting equestrian activities, both locally and nationally, for youth and adults. Bee and her husband founded the first United States Pony Club chapter in Oklahoma in 1966—the Cimarron Pony Club—and she was named Horse Person of the Year in 2002 by the U.S. Dressage Federation, Region 9. In lieu of flowers, memorials should be sent to the U.S. Dressage Federation, Region 9 at; the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at; or the American Montessori Society Living Legend Award at

Luther Burks Former Oklahoma City University men’s basketball all-American Luther Burks died in April. Burks became a high-flying NAIA all-American in 1986 and ’87 while playing for OCU’s legendary coach Abe Lemons. During his time at OCU, Burks led the Chiefs to the Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championship, the District 9 championship and an NAIA Division I Tournament appearance in 1987. OCU advanced to the NAIA’s round of 16 that year. Burks served as OCU’s leading scorer during his junior and senior years. He scored 19 points a game as a senior and 21.6 points a game as a junior. OCU started 34-0 and earned the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA as Burks became first-team all-district and SAC most valuable player his senior year. Burks was also first-team all-district and all-SAC as a junior. The Oklahoman picked Burks for its NAIA District 9 all-decade team of the 1980s. After his OCU career, Burks starred for the Oklahoma City Cavalry of the Continental Basketball Association. Burks was the first pick by the Cavalry in a 1990 dispersal draft after averaging 23.3 points a game the previous season. He scored 50 points in a game that season.

Stuart Bert Strasner Sr. A commercial banker and a resident of Baton Rouge, La., Stuart Bert Strasner Sr. died May 7, 2011. He was 81 and a native of Oklahoma. Strasner was director of the Oklahoma Bar Association and dean of Oklahoma City University. He was an undergraduate of Panhandle A&M University and graduated from the University of Oklahoma Law School. He was a member of the J.A.G. Group of the U.S. Army. Interment was in Resthaven Gardens of Memory.

Tom Heggy Tom L.V. Heggy died Aug. 18, 2011. Heggy was born in Stafford, Kan., on June 4, 1931, to Dorothy and Roy Heggy. Heggy had a passion for teaching. He served as an instructor at Oklahoma City University, various FBI schools and Oklahoma State University Technical Institute, and he was instrumental in developing OCU’s law enforcement education curriculum. He served as OCU’s dean of students and as an associate professor from 1988 to 2002. Heggy grew up on a Kansas farm and served in the U.S. Army until 1953. He selected a career in law enforcement and joined the Oklahoma City Police Department in 1960, where he initially worked as an undercover vice officer. In 1970, Heggy graduated from the FBI National Academy. Following his promotion to assistant chief of operations in April 1974, Heggy was named chief of police of the Oklahoma City Police Department, serving in that position until his retirement from the force in 1982. Upon completion of his tenure as chief, Heggy was asked by then-Governor George Nigh to be the interim director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics, and in 1984 he was named the agency’s director. Heggy held five degrees including master’s degrees in teaching and criminal justice administration from Oklahoma City University. A memorial service was held at Oklahoma City University. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the Tom Heggy Memorial Scholarship established to assist law enforcement employees and their families. Please make checks payable to OCU and mail to the OCU Office of Advancement, 2501 N. Blackwelder, Oklahoma City, OK 731061493. For questions, call the OCU Office of Advancement at (405) 208-7000.

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in memory

Melva Armene Nutt

Kevin Putman

Melva Armene Nutt, 76, passed away Sept. 8, 2011. Nutt was born on March 21, 1935 to Rudolf and Caroline Heitfeld in Fairmont, Okla. She was a long-time bursar for Oklahoma City University. She enjoyed gardening and helping others, but most of all she loved being with her family.

Kevin Putman, 52, passed away March 20, 2011, in Moore, Okla. He was born Nov. 2, 1958, to Freddy and Donis Putman in Oklahoma City. Putman was a member of the Facilities Department at Oklahoma City University. He attended Freshstart Church in Moore. He liked to hunt, fish and ride motorcycles. He was very active in the AA at the Tri City Building in Moore. Services were at John M. Ireland Funeral Home and Chapel in Moore, and interment was at the Cupco Cemetery in Latimere County, Okla.

James C. Taylor Jr. James Carol Taylor Jr. was born Jan. 22, 1934, in Sentinel, Okla., to James Carol and Grace Mae Taylor. He died peacefully at his home in Epworth Villa on June 20, 2011. Taylor attended Oklahoma City University after growing up on a farm west of Sentinel. He met his wife Helen Grubb at OCU and the two were married in 1954. He graduated in 1956. Graduate education included seminary at Garrett in Evanston, Ill., one semester at Goettingen University in Germany, then master’s and PhD degrees from Yale University. Taylor taught in the Religion Department at OCU for 14 years, and taught Old Testament courses at Phillips Graduate Seminary in Enid for eight years. At OCU his offerings included Bible, world religions, Greek, Hebrew and Religion in the Arts. His theological and artistic talents produced three books—“A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion,” “A New Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion” and “The Andrew Project.” As an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church, he served in Del City, Crown Heights in Oklahoma City, Jefferson First and Renfrow First in northern Oklahoma, then Sheridan Avenue in Tulsa. Burial was held at Port Cemetery near Sentinel. Memorial services were at First United Methodist Church in Sentinel and at the OCU chapel. Memorials may be sent to Leland Clegg United Methodist Church, 102 E. Hefner Road, Oklahoma City, OK, 73114.

John W. White Jr. John W. White Jr., 77, of Lincoln, Neb., passed away on Monday, April 18, 2011. White was born Oct. 20, 1933 to John Wesley and Ernestine (Engles) White. White was associate dean for humanities and then dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Oklahoma City University. He married Martha (Marty) Bragg in 1956. White grew up in Nashville. White served with distinction as Nebraska Wesleyan University’s president for 20 years beginning in 1977. He was a steadfast leader in United Methodist higher education nationally and internationally. He served on the board of directors of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church and as president of the denomination’s University Senate. After his retirement from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1997, he was named President Emeritus. A celebration of his life was held at Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Nebraska.

Judge Loren L. “Buz” Sawyer The Honorable Loren L. “Buz” Sawyer died Aug. 31, 2011. Sawyer was born in Redmond, Ore., on March 24, 1931. He taught classes at the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Among his accomplishments in Oregon is the initiation of Project Misdemeanant, the Jackson County misdemeanor probation program. He was a founder of Star Gulch home for troubled children; an initiator of the Jackson County Alcohol Offender Program; initiator of Jackson County Driver Improvement School; organizer of Jackson County’s first drug rehabilitation program; and organizer of Jackson County’s Volunteers for Juveniles Program. He also helped organize Jackson County’s Little League and soccer programs. Sawyer loved to teach and shared his skills at several schools and law programs. He was 29 years old when he became a judge. At his retirement, he was the second-longest serving judge in the history of Oregon, having completed 37 years on the bench. He also retired from the U.S. Navy as a Lt. Commander. 36

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Class of 1931 Lorraine Springer Schuneman

Class of 1933

Class of 1963 Dan A. Garlow

Class of 1964

Grace Butler Chamberlain

David N. Fox Helle L. Hansen Males

Class of 1943

Class of 1966

Eugene O. Chapman

Class of 1947

Betty L. Humphrey Barton Clovis ‘Gene’ Chappelear Bernice Hirzel Keller

Evelyn Mathey

Class of 1967

Willie Hardin Bivins

Class of 1968 Donald G. Heimbach

Class of 1970

Lewis L. Edmiston Leonard Price Humphreys Marion B. Rook Sublett H. Scott, Jr. Ted L. Ryals Arthur Stevener, Jr.

Class of 1949 Class of 1950

Chester E. Amend Class of 1971 Daniel S. Blackburn Nannette Erwin Milleson George W. Brown Carlyle Yates

Class of 1951 William B. Cammack C. Vernon Penny Warford ‘Gene’ Rogers Warren O. Romberger

Class of 1953 Daniel E. Kelley

Class of 1954 Donald L. Grindle

Class of 1955 Carrol G. Bernard Charles E. Burton

Class of 1956

Class of 1973 Tom L. Heggy

Class of 1974 Jerome E. Hogan

Class of 1975

Regis E. Brubaker Clifford C. Craig

Class of 1977

Clarence L. Beach C. G. Carter Blossom ‘Glo’ Henley Stephen G. Solomon

Class of 1978

Margaret M. Bjorklund Curtis L. Darrah James C. Taylor

Stewart R. Haught

Class of 1957

Class of 1990

William R. Graham Bob J. Rudkin James F. Wright

Class of 1958 Gus J. Karey

Class of 1959 Tommy G. Mays

Class of 1960 Darrell R. Wells

Class of 1961

Robert L. Bowman Sara K. Garnett

Class of 1962

Stewart M. Hunter Danny W. McCarty

Class of 1985 Howard W. Motley, Jr.

Freda J. Cross

Class of 1992 Kevin C. Begley

Class of 1995 Paul A. White

Class of 1996 Michael W. Hovastak

Class of 1999

Dorothy ‘Bee’ Pape

Class of 2001 Tatiana M. Weiss


Students and alumni gathered for homecoming week Nov. 2 to 6, celebrating traditions such as Lip Sync and the Distinguished Alumni Dinner and participating in new activities including Symposia 2011 and the carnival on the quad. Top row, from left: Students at the carnival try their hand at jousting; President Robert Henry, First Lady Dr. Jan Henry, Homecoming Queen Sam Britt and Homecoming King Scott Jones; second row: Josh Henry spoofs his father, President Robert Henry, while performing with his Kappa Sigma brothers at Lip Sync; Ron and Alice Wilson at the alumni reception prior to Lip Sync; Lambda Chi Alpha members lift up Scott Jones after he is crowned homecoming king; third row: First Lady Dr. Jan Henry, Bud Sahmaunt and President Henry after the Native American Worship Service; Distinguished Alumni honorees and President Henry at the awards ceremony; bottom row: Race With the Stars runners sing the national anthem; runners begin the 5K race. focus e x t ra

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rowin’ on the river OCU Head of the Oklahoma Regatta

sept. 30 - oct. 2, 2011

Top Left: Leslie Berger, BA ’02, Cary Pirrong, BS ’87, JD ’90, Jessi Pingel, BS ’11 and Paige Gregory; Middle Left: Kim Sanders, Jacque Fiegel, BS ’76, Jackie Miller, BA ’85, MBA ’90, JD ’91, Harold Leveridge, Cary Pirrong, Rose Leveridge and Paul Sanders; Bottom Left: Matt Maddamma; Left: Corporate Challenge racing

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FOCUS Fall 2011  

OCU alumni magazine

FOCUS Fall 2011  

OCU alumni magazine