Florence Gillam Birdwell is a master teacher, performer, and force of nature at Oklahoma City University. She was born in Arizona and reared in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from OCU, where she studied under the legendary Inez Silberg. She also has studied extensively in California and New York, and internationally.
Professor Birdwell has been the subject of numerous cover stories, tributes, and awards. She received Oklahoma's highest arts honor, the Governor's Arts Award, in 1985, and woman of the year honors from groups ranging from the Girl Scouts of America to the Association for Women in Communications. She has been an Oklahoma City University Distinguished Alumna and inducted into the OCU Performance Hall of Honor. Admirers established the Florence Birdwell Vocal Scholarship Fund at OCU in 1990.
Her passion for singing has inspired hundreds of young musicians, including students Kristin Chenoweth (1999 Tony Award winner and Sony recording artist), Lara Teeter (1983 Tony nominee), and Susan Powell (former Miss America, currently host of Discovery Channel's Home Matters and Broadway newcomer Kelli Christine O'Hara.
She has been married to her best friend, Robert Birdwell, for longer than she can remember. They are parents of the late Todd Albert Birdwell; Dr. Brian Gillam Birdwell of Lawton, a specialist in internal medicine; and Dr. Robyn Leah Birdwell of Palo Alto, California, a physician and author who teaches at Stanford University.