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OCU Announces Spring Commencement

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole will speak to graduating seniors at Oklahoma City University during undergraduate commencement activities at 11 a.m. May 7 in the Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center, at N.W. 27th St. and Florida Ave.

OCU will confer degrees on more than 500 students and award four honorary doctorates. Cole will receive an Honorary Doctor of Public Administration.

He has served as the representative for Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District since 2003, advocating for a strong national defense, small businesses and education. In 2009, Cole was appointed to one of the only two available Republican seats on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Cole is Oklahoma's sole appropriator from either legislative branch or political party. He serves on three appropriations subcommittees including interior and environment, defense and foreign operations. Cole is a former college instructor. Before serving in Congress, he served Oklahoma as a state senator and secretary of state.

Former State Treasurer Robert Butkin will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws, former Miss America Jane Jayroe Gamble will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and BancFirst Chairman H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Butkin became an assistant attorney general in Oklahoma in 1987 and served as the lead lawyer in Arkansas v. Oklahoma, a landmark environmental law case that he argued before the United States Supreme Court in 1991. In 1994, he was elected state treasurer of Oklahoma and was re-elected without opposition in 1998 and 2002. During his tenure he established the Oklahoma College Savings Program and took a lead role in sponsoring a successful effort to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to create a permanent trust fund for Oklahoma’s share of the tobacco settlement proceeds, the income from which is dedicated to anti-smoking and other public health initiatives.

In 2005, Butkin resigned from the treasurer’s office to assume the position of dean of The University of Tulsa College of Law, a job that he held until 2007. Since 2007, he has been a professor of law at The University of Tulsa.

Gamble serves on the board of trustees for the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Mercy Hospital, Oklahoma Heritage Association and the National Foundation for Evangelism. She writes and produces programming for women and has authored numerous articles and several books. Her latest book, “Devote Forty Days,” debuted in the fall of 2010.

Crowned Miss Oklahoma in 1966 and Miss America in 1967, Gamble’s proudest accomplishment was beginning the Miss America/USO tradition of entertaining troops overseas. She has since enjoyed a 17-year career as television news anchor in Oklahoma City and at the NBC affiliate in Dallas/Ft. Worth. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rainbolt, chairman of BancFirst Corporation, began his professional career as an Intelligence Officer for the 981st Field Artillery Battalion in Korea where he received the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. He returned to Oklahoma following the war to begin his career in the banking business, starting as president of the Federal National Bank in Shawnee in 1967. Today, he remains a prominent member of the banking industry and the Oklahoma City community. Rainbolt serves as a director of the Sonic Corporation and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and founding chairman of Calm Waters. Well known as a civic leader, patron of the arts, and philanthropist, Rainbolt has received extensive honors throughout his career and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1999.

OCU will hold its graduate commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. May 7 at the Freede Center and the Oklahoma City University School of Law will hold a hooding ceremony at 2:30 p.m. May 15 at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave.

For more information, call (405) 208-5287.