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Oklahoma City University to Confer Degrees on 700 Students
Judge Robert Henry to Give Undergraduate Address
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University will celebrate spring commencement May 8, conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees on more than 700 students. OCU will award two honorary doctorate degrees during graduation, one to retiring President Tom McDaniel and one to Church of the Servant Pastor Robert Gorrell. Incoming OCU President Judge Robert Henry will give the keynote address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony, beginning at 11 a.m. in the Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center, located at N.W. 27th St. and Florida Ave. Henry will join OCU in July as the university’s 17th president and CEO. He is the chief justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. McDaniel, who has led a transformation of the 106-year-old university during his nine-year tenure, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. McDaniel will serve as chancellor at OCU when he retires from the presidency June 30. Gorrell will receive an Honorary Doctor of Divinity. He was ordained an elder in the Oklahoma Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1988. He served as a chaplain during the Oklahoma City bombing and served as pastor at Putnam City United Methodist Church and the First united Methodist Church of Ardmore before taking on his current role at the United Methodist Church of the Servant. OCU will honor retiring Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Shdeed and his wife, Pam, with the 2010 Oklahoma Servant Leader Award. Bill Shdeed joined the board in 1987 and has served as chairman since 1999. He will continue to serve on the board as chairman emeritus. Pam Shdeed has been a faithful volunteer in the Oklahoma City community for the past 40 years. The award recognizes individuals who personify the idea of servant leadership, a central focus for the OCU community. Oklahoma City University English Professor Elaine Smokewood will be recognized with this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award during the graduate commencement ceremony, beginning at 3 p.m. May 8 in the Freede Center. Smokewood was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2007. Though she is unable to speak, Smokewood teaches a video-and-online-based course at OCU. The Chronicle of Higher Education profiled her inspiring story of “Teaching Without Speaking” this year. Oklahoma City University School of Law graduates will take part in a hooding ceremony at 2 p.m. May 16 at the Civic Center, 201 N. Walker, and Gov. Brad Henry will give the commencement address. For more information about OCU commencement, call (405) 208-5287 or visit