As the 2012-2013 academic year draws to a close, I would like to thank OCU students, faculty and staff for a phenomenal year. It is a privilege to be a part of the OCU community and see our students rise toward their dreams.
I can’t possibly begin to cover all of the exciting things that happened this year, but here are a few of my favorites. The youngest of our campus cats, Zoe, tagged along for a year-in-review tour:
I would love to hear some of your favorites from the last year. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you give someone who already has some of the biggest honors in show business? Jonathan Tunick has won a Grammy, Emmy, Tony, and an Oscar. We decided that deserved another great honor – an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University.
Here’s a video from the ceremony last week:
We will also be giving honorary degrees to the following people during our commencement ceremony May 11:
Martha A. Burger, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters; Kristin Chenoweth, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters; Burns Hargis, Honorary Doctor of Laws; and Ed Kelley, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Ed will also be our undergraduate commencement ceremony speaker. Chao Teng-Hsiung will receive an Honorary Doctor in Business during his visit from China on May 16.
It was fun to hear last week how much some of our faculty and staff members know about OCU, and how much they love their jobs. Some of them participated in “The OCU IQ Test” video series, where they were interviewed by a few of our many talented students. Hailey Holloway dropped by my office to see how much I know about our university, and here’s the video proof!:
I had the pleasure of meeting with Oscar Jackson Jr. (pictured left) and Sammy Lovelace at the new law school building downtown. Sammy is president of the Central High School Alumni Association and Oscar is an officer in the organization. I’ve known Oscar for many years, including when he was a cabinet secretary for Gov. Brad Henry.
Oscar and Sammy presented me with a history book about their alma mater and shared stories about what it was like to attend high school there. We are looking forward to renovating the school back to its original purpose as a center for education, and to meeting more of this historic building’s many proud former students.
The music school celebrated its ninth annual Wanda Bass Day, an event that included gourmet cupcakes and a presentation by Dean Mark Parker. Here’s a video of his presentation highlighting some of the many exciting things happening at the school.
Our orchestra was superb, and superbly conducted. “This is the Moment” was amazing—the very selection of it, the masterful arrangement, the coordinated conducting, the soloists, the choir, the adjustments to the acoustics! Astounding! Brava! Bravo! Bravissimo!
This event today—the opening of the international headquarters of Devon Energy, Oklahoma’s largest and assuredly one of its most famous corporations—was one of the most momentous business events in the history of Oklahoma City. Thousands of people and almost all of our City’s business and political leaders heard what the Wanda Bass School of Music is all about. I couldn’t be prouder. Scores of people came up to me during the luncheon as I worked the crowd a bit, all wanting to talk about the music. Although most of the choir had already had to leave, the co-founder and Executive Chairman Larry Nichols and President and CEO John Richels both came over to personally thank the musicians still gathered.
I know students stood for over an hour, had to rearrange classes, and had scores of complications to deal with. But only music—great music—can provide the kind of finale that was needed for this hugely important event. Oklahoma City has the highest employment of any major city in America; its downtown, when completed, will be the most unique and gloriously integrated garden and business district in the nation. I am so very pleased that Oklahoma City University was selected to bring down the curtain—or, actually, to cut the ribbon of this signal event. (The synchronizing of the ribbon cutting was a nice touch, too!)
The most distinguished visitor we've ever had came to campus to enlighten us on Constitution Day. Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation's founding fathers and an architect of the U.S. Constitution, talked about the difficulties of gathering approval of the document and offered advice on how we could keep our republic alive during his presentation Sept. 17.
Dr. Franklin refused to accept any compensation for his visit with us, saying he made plenty of money back in the 1700s.
This was our very special way to celebrate Constitution Day. It was amazing, you will admit, to obtain an original Framer for an event like this. Other campuses tried and failed. (I do think one of those "other" schools obtained Gouverneur Morris…. Ho-hum.)
Dr. Franklin, it must be said, looked and looks uncannily like our theatre professor and professional actor Lance Marsh.
Enjoy this shortened video of his appearance:
Here's a little video (with a cameo appearance from Zoe) about some of the exciting things coming this fall. Hope to see you at these events.
Welcome back! Hope everyone had a relaxing and productive summer.
There were many noteworthy accomplishments for our campus family since graduation last May. I’ve mentioned a few in this video: