Meinders school of business
28th Annual Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor

The 2014 Inductees

• Josephine Freede, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award
• Tom Hill, recipient of the Chairman’s Award
• James Pickel, recipient of the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
• David Rainbolt, recipient of the President’s Award
• William J. Ross, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award

 Josephine Freede - Outstanding Achievement Award


Josephine “Jose” Freede, the legendary Oklahoma volunteer and philanthropist, received her Charter Society in Physiotherapy Degree before training at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital in England, where she also met her husband, Henry, an orthopedic surgeon. She came to the U.S. in 1950 and the couple was married in New York City. Upon the family's arrival in Oklahoma City, Mrs. Freede began her civic work on the boards of many organizations including the Oklahoma City Charity Horse Show, the Allied Arts, Oklahoma City Republican Women's Club, and served as the president of the University of Oklahoma Mother's Association.

She was also a member of such groups as the Downtown OKC YWCA and the Western Heritage Awards Committee and soon became known as "the million dollar volunteer." Her outstanding work as a fundraiser and tireless philanthropist has made possible the Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center at Oklahoma City University and the Freede Theatre at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including two honorary Doctoral Degrees. 

Tom Hill - Chairman's Award

Tom Hill is the Chairman of the Board for Kimray Inc., and has been working for the company since 1971. He uses his leadership to establish the company’s focus on character. This emphasis on character has led to an environment of integrity and strength of character that shows in Kimray products. The character program created by Hill was so successful that he named it Character First and began the Character Training Institute, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating and training families, schools, businesses and other organizations. 

Hill served seven years in the United States Marine Corps then earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. On March 29, 2012, Hill was awarded the prestigious NASBA Center for the Public Trust Being a Difference Award. This national award is given to an individual who practices high standards of ethical leadership in business. He was honored as the Oklahoma Central Baptist Association’s Christian Citizen of the Year in 1998, received the CBMC Salt and Light Award in 2002 and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Oklahoma Christian University in 2005. Hill and his wife Kay have been married since 1963 and have three children and twenty grandchildren.

James Pickel - Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

James A. Pickel is a native Oklahoman, originally from Duncan, and a graduate of Oklahoma State University. For the past 38 years he has lived in Oklahoma City and has been employed in the architectural and construction industry, and currently he works with Smith & Pickel Construction. He is involved in numerous organizations and boards of directors, including the Allied Arts Foundation, Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Myriad Gardens Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Council, and Friends of the Mansion.

David Rainbolt - President’s Award

David E. Rainbolt , chief executive officer of the BancFirst Corporation in Oklahoma City, was educated at the University of Oklahoma (B.B.A.) and Tulane University (M.B.A). Prior to his current station, he served as senior financial analyst at Republic Bank in Dallas and later as chief financial officer at the BancFirst Corporation. Mr. Rainbolt is an involved member of Oklahoma City’s business community, having served as past chairman of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma Bankers Association. 

He currently serves as chairman of the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust. Additionally, Rainbolt serves as a trustee for the Presbyterian Health Foundation. He is on the executive committee of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and is chairman of the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute. Rainbolt is a director of the Oklahoma State Fair and serves on the board of trustees of the University of Oklahoma Foundation. Mr. Rainbolt and his wife Kim have three sons, Adam, Sam, and Jacob. He enjoys hunting, fly fishing, and coaching Little League. 

William J. Ross - Lifetime Achievement Award

William J. Ross, a lifetime resident of Oklahoma City, attended Classen High School and then received his BBA and LLB from the University of Oklahoma.  Upon graduation, he became an Assistant Municipal Counselor for Oklahoma City and later joined the firm of Rainey, Flynn, Green and Anderson, which name was changed to Rainey, Ross, Rice & Binns, where he was senior partner. 

Ross was a member of the Admissions and Grievances Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, and Chairman of the Federal Judicial Nominating Committee. He was honored with the OU Regents’ Alumni Award in 2000; Oklahoma City University Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2005; Oklahoma City Public Schools Wall of Fame Humanitarian Award in 2005; Distinguished Graduate Award – Rosary School in 2006; inducted into University of Oklahoma College of Law Hall of Fame - Order of the Owl in 2011; Urban Pioneer Award 2011; OU Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree in 2012; and Lyric Theatre John Kirkpatrick Award in 2012. 

He is presently Co-Chairman of the OU College of Law Board of Visitors. He has been engaged in numerous civic activities in Oklahoma City, including, President, St. Anthony Hospital Foundation; Chairman, Oklahoma Heritage Association Committee on Teaching of Oklahoma History; Member, Oklahoma City Mayor’s Historical Preservation Committee; Member of Oklahoma City Bi-Centennial Commission; and President, William Fremont Harn Homestead Museum. Ross has served on many boards and is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of both the Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. He is a member of Economic Club of Oklahoma and Fortune Club and is listed in Who’s Who In America, Who’s Who In American Law and Who’s Who In the World.