Monday, May 14, 2012

Regents' Alumni Awards and Commencement Scholars

Hello Sooner Country!  Hope you had a happy commencement day!  The Alumni Association spent Friday morning with President Boren celebrating some outstanding alumni in Beaird Lounge in the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

President Boren greets the crowd.

President Boren opened this prestigious awards ceremony and offered several comments related to the line "Live on, university" from our school chant.  "Institutions alone cannot live on themselves.  An institution is sustained by individuals.  And today we honor some remarkable individuals."

JP Audas, Associate Vice President of the Alumni Association was up next and gave a brief overview of this award.  The Regents' Alumni Awards are presented each year to honor alumni and friends for exceptional dedication and service to the University of Oklahoma.  The OU Board of Regents and the OU Alumni Association present the awards.

Nominations are accepted from alumni, friends and OU faculty and staff.  The names of each year's recipients are engraved on a permanent plaque that hangs in Oklahoma Memorial Union as a testament to the important role that OU's alumni play in the life of the university.  Below are this year's recipients:

Marie Alley

Marie Alley, a native of Germany, is known locally for her support of OU and the arts. She has led the way for significant financial assistance for the students and programs of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, and has generously dedicated her time to such entities as the OU Theatre Guild, for which she created the annual scholarship fundraising tour to New York City and London; the Weitzenhoffer Family College’s Board of Visitors and Arts! Arts! Arts! Committee; the University Women’s Association; and the Norman Community Foundation. 

Under Marie’s leadership, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Association doubled its membership and revised its methods of gaining contributions. As a docent at the museum, she has promoted the arts to hundreds of visitors who have visited the collections. As a member of the museum’s Board of Visitors, she spearheaded efforts for an ongoing enrichment fund for students and faculty.

Throughout her more than three decades as a resident of Norman, Marie has made a lasting impact on the community. For her support of Norman, the state and the arts, she was honored with the 2011 Governor’s Arts Award for Community Service, as well as for her work with the Norman Firehouse Arts Center’s Chocolate Festival.

Ann Alspaugh

Ann Alspaugh, an Oklahoma native and civic leader, has dedicated her life to enriching both OU and the state of Oklahoma. An enthusiastic supporter of almost every college and program of study at the university, she has directly contributed to the excellence of the OU Foundation; Athletics; colleges of Medicine, Public Health and Allied Health; Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication; College of International Studies; College of Arts and Sciences; Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education; and administrative offices on both the Norman and OU Health Sciences Center campuses. 

Ann has served on the boards of the Allied Arts Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Institute, and National Council of the Aspen Music Festival and School, among many others. In the community, she has contributed to such organizations as the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole; Habitat for Humanity; Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation; Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence; Oklahoma Educational Television Authority; Red Earth; International Women’s Forum; Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund; and the Oscar Jacobson Foundation. She is a founding member of the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.

Ann has been honored countless times for civic service with honors and awards, including the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Distinguished Trustee Award; Oklahoma City Arts Council Mayor’s Award; Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives; Women of the Year Award from the Red Lands Council of Girls Scouts; and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Oklahoma City University. She also is the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award and the First Annual Grande Reverence Award from Ballet Oklahoma, and has been named as an Oklahoma Health Center Foundation Treasure for Tomorrow and a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Alan Armstrong - '85 Civil Engineering

Alan Armstrong in January 2011 became president and CEO of Williams, a 104-year-old, Tulsa-based company that today is a leading energy-infrastructure service provider in North America. Since joining the company in 1986, Alan has served in numerous leadership positions, including president of the company’s natural gas gathering, processing and olefins-production business.

A 1985 graduate of OU’s civil engineering program, Alan and his wife, Shelly, who earned a degree in communications from the OU College of Arts and Sciences in 1984, are energetic leaders in the OU College of Engineering. In support of the OU Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center, he has served as an informal adviser and fundraising advocate, and has supported the College of Engineering Development Office by engaging potential benefactors and with the lead gift to privately fund a new development officer position. In the Tulsa area, Alan has worked diligently to promote the university and recruit National Merit Scholars to OU, as well as hosted fundraising events for the university in his home.

Alan serves as chairman of the College of Engineering Board of Visitors, and in that capacity has spearheaded support of the college through such initiatives as the founding of the Felgar Society. In his role at Williams and as a board member of the company’s charitable foundation, he has ensured that OU and other state educational institutions receive funds to recruit, retain and graduate the next generation of engineers and business leaders.

Alan is past president of the Gas Processors Association and a board member of the Natural Gas Supply Association and the American Petroleum Institute, and serves on the National Petroleum Council and Business Roundtable. Alan serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement, USA. In the community, he is a board member and past board chairman of Junior Achievement of Oklahoma and is a member of the executive committee of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. He is a board member of Tulsa’s Future II Oversight Committee, the Williams Foundation, Teach for America – Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition. 

Jim Dicus - '63 Business Finance
Jim Dicus, a 1963 graduate in business administration and finance, is the president of Dicus Supermarkets. During his years at OU, he was president of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, and currently serves as vice president of the OU Club of Ada. 

Jim's passion for helping others and dedication to young people defines his life of service. In honor of his late son and daughter-in-law, Jim organizes an annual charity golf tournament, which raises more than $25,000 each year for such endeavors as the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center and to help scholarship students from the Ada area attend OU, with funds matched each year by the university. 

Jim serves as vice president of the Ada Industrial Development Corp. He has served in numerous leadership positions in his community, including as president of the Ada Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada, Ada Boys Club, Retail Grocers Association and Oklahoma Grocers Coupon Association. For 30 years, he has served on the board of the Valley View Hospital in Ada, including one term as chairman of the board.

Bill Hancock - '72 Journalism

Bill Hancock graduated from the university in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Since that time, he has been an avid supporter of OU, especially in OU Athletics and the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. A member of the Gaylord College Board of Visitors, Bill has been a supporter of the college’s JayMac alumni association since its inception in 1983. 

After the tragic loss of their son in the 2001 plane crash that took the lives of 10 members of the Oklahoma State University men’s basketball team, Bill and his wife endowed a scholarship benefiting Gaylord College students pursuing careers in either the newspaper industry or sports public relations.

After three years in the university’s sports information office, Bill, a native of Hobart, followed in his father’s footsteps for a time as editor of his family’s newspaper, the Hobart Democrat-Chief. For more than a decade, he served on the staff of the Big Eight Conference, first as the media relations director and then as assistant commissioner in charge of championships and marketing. In 1989, he was tapped as the first full-time director of the NCAA Final Four. Named as an administrator of the Bowl Championship Series in 2005, he became executive director in 2009. He has served on the U.S. Olympic Committee staff at nine Olympic games and two Pan American Games, and in 2005, was inducted into the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame.

In Bill’s first book, Riding With the Blue Moth, he describes how he used a transcontinental bicycle journey to deal with grief after his son’s death. The book became one of the top-selling sports volumes after its publication in 2005. He also is the author of This One Day in Hobart, a chronology of his hometown. 

Che Miller, M.D. - '98 Chemistry/Biochemistry, '02 Medicine, '07 Surgery

As an undergraduate who graduated with honors in chemistry and biochemistry before attending the OU College of Medicine, Che distinguished himself through his pioneering research in geochemistry and neurochemistry, as well as such honors as being named to the President’s Leadership Class and as a recipient of the Phillips Petroleum Chemistry Scholar Award, the Department of Chemistry Award and the Undergraduate Teaching Award. As a medical student, he was voted president of his class, Outstanding Medical Student and chair of the Oklahoma State Medical Association Student Section. During his time in the College of Medicine, he also was the recipient of the OU Leadership Award and Multicultural Service Award.

An exceptional alumnus who has been dedicated to the success of the College of Medicine and its students, Che was the first donor to commit $100,000 to the college’s Second Century Scholarship Campaign. He serves as a role model for current students and as an ambassador for OU, promoting the university both nationally and internationally. In addition to providing surgical services to the university’s trauma center, he has served as a member of OU’s Medical School Admissions Committee and as an adviser to the Graduate Medical Education Committee. 

Che has been honored numerous times for his research and expertise with such awards as the Aesculpian Award for most outstanding resident teacher at OU; the Lloyd and Ruth Rader Award for Resident of the Year; nomination for the Gilson/CMDA Award recognizing commitment and service to the global community; and appointment to the Gold Humanitarian Honor Society. A local and national leader in medicine, he was appointed to the American Medical Association Committee on Long-Range Planning and was asked to serve on the Oklahoma State Medical Association Foundation executive board. 

In addition to his professional activities, Che has earned a national and international reputation as a philanthropist who has dedicated his time and medical abilities to providing education and health care to seven nations on four continents. From ministry to mobile surgery operations, he devotes time each year to helping communities abroad. For his commitment to others, he has been recognized by leaders in such countries as the Philippines and Bosnia. 

Carolyn Clark Powers - '96 Business Finance

A 1996 graduate in business administration, Carolyn Clark Powers is both a dedicated alumna and generous supporter of OU. The daughter of OU Regent Tom Clark, she made a $100,000 gift to the Department of Aviation in the OU College of Continuing Education in 2009 to endow the Tom Clark Scholarship.

Carolyn is known across the nation for her philanthropic endeavors, particularly in the arts. She currently serves as chair of the National Committee for the Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and was recently appointed to the board of the Grammy Awards.  She has served in numerous leadership positions on boards and committees for such organizations as the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Philharmonic and Colleagues of Children’s Institute; Aspen Art Museum; Aspen Santa Fe Ballet; Dockery Farms Foundation; DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center; Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz; and many more.

In addition to her leadership in the arts, Carolyn is a passionate advocate of causes that empower underprivileged children. She helped cultivate The Painted Turtle, a camp created by Paul Newman for children who are seriously ill, for which she serves as a board member and chair of its annual fundraiser. In addition, she has dedicated her time to extending arts education to low-income schools in Los Angeles and the rural South. Among her numerous personal accomplishments, she has run five marathons, including the Boston Marathon and scaled the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Richard Trautman, M.D. - '71 Medicine

Richard Trautman earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University before graduating from the OU College of Medicine in 1971. He spent years of service in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, U.S. Navy Reserve and U.S. Air Force Reserve Medical Corps.

After serving his internship and residency at the OU Health Sciences Center, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1978. He now holds the Arnold and Bess Ungerman Endowed Chair in Psychiatry in the OU Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and is vice chair of general psychiatric services and the medical director for the Oklahoma Center for Alcohol and Drug-related Studies, an entity dedicated to preparing researchers and clinicians to address issues related to the acute and chronic effects of alcohol and drug abuse. Throughout his career in the OU College of Medicine, he has served as an adjunct professor of anesthesiology; vice chair for Adult Services and for Clinical Services; professor and director for Adult Outpatient Mental Health Services; and in numerous instructor positions.

Leon Unger, Ph. D.

Leon was recruited to the faculty in the OU College of Medicine in 1966. In the following four decades, he has revolutionized both the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (where he serves as David Ross Boyd Professor and Regents’ Professor) and the teaching of his field. Since joining the OU Health Sciences Center, he has designed, organized, coordinated and taught major portions of the Biochemistry and Medical Molecular Genetics course for first-year medical students. Because of his outstanding teaching skills, he has been ranked first in the medical student evaluations of the biochemistry teaching faculty in almost every one of those years.

In 1975, Leon designed, organized and implemented the first Biochemistry Review Course for Step I of the National Medical Licensure Exam for medical students, and in so doing, improved dramatically the performance of OU medical students on the biochemistry portion of the exam by an average of 96 points per student. He also was responsible for introducing concepts into the OU curriculum that are now widely practiced at medical schools throughout the nation, such as the conceptual relationship between biochemistry, medical genetics and medical nutrition; clinical correlations, in which physicians, patients, their families and teams of students interact to think creatively and solve problems; and biochemistry concept mapping as a tool for integrative thinking.

During his career, Leon has been honored with numerous teaching awards, including selection by medical students as the recipient of the Aesculapian Award for Teaching Excellence in the Basic Sciences in 1991, 2003 and 2008; the Stanton L. Young Master Teacher Award; the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching; and the College of Medicine’s Edgar W. Young Lifetime Achievement Award.

Reggie Whitten - '77 Political Science, '80 Juris Doctorate

The first member of his family to graduate college, Reggie graduated from OU in 1977 with a degree in political science and from the OU College of Law with a juris doctor in 1980. Since then, he has devoted significant time and resources in support of activities that benefit the university, its students and the greater community. As a member of OU’s Seed Sower Society honoring donors of $1 million or more, he is especially focused on programs that enhance the education, health and well-being of young people from all walks of life. Together with his partner, Michael Burrage, Reggie recently made a major gift to the OU College of Law to establish the David L. Boren and Molly Shi Boren Public Service Fellowship, which allows law students to pursue unpaid public interest work during the summer.

In memory of their son, Brandon, Reggie and his wife, Rachelle (along with brother-in-law Robert Newman), founded the Whitten-Newman Foundation. As part of its mission to enhance the lives of young people, the foundation partnered with the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History to create ExplorOlogy, a science education program that makes science education exciting and relevant to Oklahoma youth by engaging them in authentic science experiences. As a member of the museum’s Board of Visitors, Reggie and the foundation also made possible an exhibit highlighting the flora and fauna of Oklahoma’s Black Mesa area in the museum’s Noble Drilling Corporation Hall of Natural Wonders. 

Reggie is the co-founder of Pros for Africa, a nonprofit relief organization that has partnered with sports professionals, physicians and engineers to provide food, water, clothing and medicine to at-risk children in northern Uganda and southern Sudan. In cooperation with the OU College of Law, Pros for Africa has provided students in the International Human Rights Clinic the opportunity to travel to Africa to experience other cultures, develop a lifetime commitment to meaningful service and prepare for the increasingly global practice of law. In addition to his work with Pros for Africa, Reggie spends countless hours of his personal time sharing the story of his son’s addiction and tragic death with students and parents through another nonprofit organization he founded called F.A.T.E. (Fighting Addiction Through Education), warning of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse while providing resources for those who already suffer from addiction.

For his service to others, Reggie has been honored with the Jasmine Foundation Benefactor Award, the Journal Record Leadership in Law Award and the Jefferson Society Award from the Oklahoma Association for Justice.  

Robert Zinke - '75 Business, Petroleum Land Management

After graduating from the Petroleum Land Management Program in the OU College of Business in 1975, Robert Zinke went on to found Zinke and Trumbo Inc., now known as Zenergy Inc., one of the most active exploration efforts in the oil and gas industry. His success led him to be featured in a Forbes magazine article titled “The New Breed of Wildcatters.”

Robert has been a member of the Price College Energy Management Board of Directors since its inception in 1996 and its president since 2003, and has been a member of the college’s Board of Advisors since 2004. His generous commitments to the college include a $1 million gift to fund a Chair for Energy Management and establishing an endowment to support the program and its director; the transformational role he plans to fill in the proposed people and program campaign for Price College, which includes a challenge grant to the Energy Management Program and a major gift to an energy expansion initiative in the college; service as a member of the Energy Management Program’s Capital Campaign Team; and service as chair of the Arthur B. Adams Society. In honor of his dedication to OU Energy Management, the program has been named the Robert M. Zinke Energy Management Program. In 2008, he received the Price College Distinguished Alumni Award.

Robert is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Association of Petroleum Landmen; Tulsa Association of Petroleum Landmen; Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association; Independent Petroleum Association of America; Northern Alliance of Independent Producers; North Dakota Petroleum Council; and Natural Gas and Energy Association of Oklahoma.

Singing of the OU Chant after award presentations.
When the award presentations were over, everyone raised their right hand, first finger extended and sang the OU Chant.

2012 Regents' Award Recipients and presenters.

Later Friday night at Commencement, our Commencement Scholars were recognized.  Commencement Scholar requirements are a 3.0+ GPA, Oklahoma resident, must be a working student, must be a student on the Norman campus and must attend Commencement.  Those who were selected to receive this scholarship receive $1500 to apply to their tuition for the fall of 2012.  These ten scholarship recipients were chosen from a pool of 160 applicants.  Winners are Jacintha Bachman (political science, senior), Julie Butler (petroleum engineering, senior), Amber Ely (social work, senior), Crystal Hines (finance, senior), Brian Jack(civil engineering, senior), Chase Magnuson (aviation, junior), Emily Siegrist (health and exercise science, junior), Travis Poole (civil engineering, graduate), Eric Ray (zoology, senior) and Skye Tylich (international studies, junior).

2012-2013 Commencement Scholars


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