Oklahoma City University | In Memory - Spring 2021 Skip to content

In Memory - Spring 2021

Rennard Strickland

Sept. 16, 1940–Jan. 5, 2021

Man in glasses smiling
Rennard Strickland 

Dr. Rennard Strickland, former dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law and a legal historian of Osage and Cherokee heritage, died in Norman, Oklahoma, where he was the senior scholar in residence at the University of Oklahoma Law Center.

Strickland, a native of Muskogee, was considered a pioneer in introducing Indian law into OU’s legal curriculum. At the time of his death, he had authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited 47 books and 208 essays, book chapters, and articles. He was frequently cited by courts and scholars for his work as revision editor-in-chief of Felix Cohen’s “Handbook of Federal Indian Law.” Strickland has been involved in the resolution of a number of significant Indian cases, including testifying on behalf of the Muscogee Nation and against the state of Oklahoma in the case that established the rights of American Indian tribes to engage in gaming.

Strickland was the founding director of the Center for the Study of American Law and Policy at OU. He was the first and only person to have served as both the president of the Association of American Law Schools and as the chair of the Law School Admissions Council. He is also the only person to have been honored by both the Society of American Law Teachers with their annual teaching award and the American Bar Association’s “Spirit of Excellence” Award.

He had an illustrious high school and college debate career, including a quarter-finals finish in the National College Tournament at West Point, followed by success in law school moot court. He and his colleague qualified for the Jessup International Moot Court finals and finished second in the final round; the judges named Strickland “Best Oralist.”

He earned a B.A. from Northeastern State University, a J.D. from the University of Virginia, an M.A. from the University of Arkansas, and an S.J.D. from the University of Virginia.

Strickland spent much of his career as a dean of law schools, including the University of Tulsa, Southern Illinois University, OCU, and the University of Oregon. In 2012, Strickland was inducted into the Oklahoma Historian’s Hall of Fame, and in 2015, he was presented with the Gibson Award for Life Achievement by the Oklahoma Center for the Book, with special citation for his three books, which have remained in print for more than 50 years, including “Sam Houston with the Cherokees,” “Fire and the Spirits: Cherokee Law from Clan to Court,” and “The Indians in Oklahoma.”

Strickland was an arts philanthropist, donating several collections to museums in Arizona and Oklahoma. In 2016, the Scottsdale Museum of the West and the Arizona State University Foundation acquired more than 5,000 motion picture posters and lobby-cards from Strickland and his “Golden West” collection.

The Rev. Dr. John B. Welch

July 13, 1929–Oct. 7, 2020

Man in glasses smiling in dark blue suit and tie
The Rev. Dr. John B. Welch

John Bob Welch was born in Hickory, Oklahoma, to Loyd and Helen (Ewing) Welch. He served on the Oklahoma City University Board of Trustees, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religion from OCU in 1959, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1992.

Welch spent his childhood in Hickory and Roff, Oklahoma, where he lived until World War II when his family moved to Oklahoma City. John graduated in 1947 from Capitol Hill High School, where he played football. He gained the title of “Mr. Little” for being an outstanding running back. During his senior year, he crowned the homecoming football queen, who became his wife in 1948. John and Gloria Ann Hill were married Oct. 30, 1948. They had three children: Kathie Lynn Hood, Jane Ellen Bagerian, and Jerry Bob Welch.

Welch worked 10 years at Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. before beginning his ministry in 1956. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in divinity in 1962. Welch served pastoral appointments across Oklahoma before completing his career as Bartlesville District Superintendent.

Rebecca Meyer

Aug. 17, 1941–Dec. 22, 2020

Woman in glasses and blue blouse smiling
Rebecca Meyer

Becky Beth Meyer died unexpectedly in her home. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of A.F. (Slim) and Rebecca Lou (Becky) Cox Meyer of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

Meyer graduated from Pauls Valley High School in 1959. She attended Oklahoma City University, earning a degree in elementary education in 1963 before obtaining a master’s degree from the University of Colorado. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She took a job teaching second grade at South Lakewood Elementary School in Lakewood, Colorado. Meyer taught second grade there for the next 30 years, making a lasting impression on her students. Her great love was children’s literature, and decades later, many of her former students stayed in touch with her and expressed how she inspired their love of reading.

After retirement, Meyer returned to Oklahoma and made her home in Norman to be close to her family. She enjoyed traveling throughout the world and taking children’s literature tours with other current and former teachers, collecting autographed books to gift her nieces and nephews. Ever the educator, she studied and took notes on all the points of interest on her travels and loved collecting Native American art and jewelry as well as memorabilia from her travels.

As a Cherokee Nation citizen, Meyer was deeply rooted in her Native American heritage and was an active member in numerous organizations and activities. She was active in the National Indian Education Association and the Oklahoma and Colorado Indian Education Associations and volunteered for the Red Earth Festival for more than 25 years. She received the 2013 Red Earth Festival Spirit Award and was named Native American Honored Alumna by Oklahoma City University. She took classes in Cherokee language at the University of Oklahoma and was honored as a Cherokee elder by the AARP in 2014.

She was a docent at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History for more than 15 years. She was also a faithful member of the Norman First American United Methodist Church.

Glen M. Thompson

Sept. 22, 1937–Aug. 16, 2020

Man in uniform and black glasses smiling
Glen M. Thompson

U.S. Air Force Col. (Ret.) Glen M. Thompson of Fairborn, Ohio, passed away at the Hospice of Dayton facility. He was born in Ovid, Colorado, the son of the late Theodore and Ruby (VanDyke) Thompson. Thompson earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and his MBA from Oklahoma City University in 1972. He served in the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam, retiring in 1988 after more than 26 years of service at the rank of colonel. Following his military service, he worked in consulting. Thompson served as a baseball umpire for many years, was an avid bowler, and was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and the Arizona Cardinals football team.

Our Condolences


Vaughn Clinton Purtell (’50)
Bill M. Straka (’51)
Charles C. Dill (’55)
Jerry L. Wallace (’58)
Bob G. Bunce (’59)
John B. Welch (’59)


Phyllis A. Bishop (’63)
Rebecca E. Meyer (’63)
Nikki A. Craig (’64)
Anna L. Floyd (’65)
Jean A. Stanlake (’67)
Allen B. Pease (’67)
Joe P. Ercolani (’68)
Steven T. Kuykendall (’68)
Glen M. Grantham (’69)
Billy J. Granger (’69)


Warren B. Morris (’70)
Inks Franklin (’72)
Glen M. Thompson (’72)
Floyd D. Kieffer (’74)
Karen L. Howick (’78)


Alvin R. Bates (’87)


Jeanna J. Stewart (’90)
Thomas E. Williams (’93)


Lee E. Smith (’05)
Maghen M. Waterkotte (’09)


David A. Davis (’18)

Back to all blog
Back to Top