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Broadway Star O’Hara Receives Honorary Doctorate

by Rod Jones

Musical theater star Kelli O’Hara received an honorary doctorate of humane letters during a ceremony today at Oklahoma City University.

O’Hara won the Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical this year for her role in Broadway’s “The King and I.” She earned her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and opera from OCU in 1998.

“I just always wanted to do what I’m doing so badly. This is above and beyond what I would ever need, just like that other thing,” O’Hara said, referring to her Tony Award. “You don’t know what to dream for and hope for when you’re just wanting to do it. If you hold onto that, and never forget that, you will win — your heart will remain peaceful.”

OCU President Robert Henry presented the honorary doctorate, noting many of O’Hara’s accomplishments.

“As we say here at OCU, if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” Henry said.

Lauded as “Broadway’s golden girl and luminous star” by The New York Times, O’Hara is a six-time Tony Award nominee for her performances in “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It” and last year for “The Bridges of Madison County.”

Among her film and television credits include “Sex & The City 2,” “Blue Bloods,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “NUMB3RS” and numerous live performances on national television shows.

She has released two solo albums, “Wonder in the World” and “Always.” Her cast album recordings for “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza” earned Grammy nominations.

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