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Hall of Honor to welcome 3 new members

The 36th annual induction ceremony of the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor will welcome three new inductees at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Oklahoma City Convention Center. The honorees are Mark Beffort, CEO of Newmark Robinson Park; Cathy Keating, former first lady of Oklahoma; and Barry Switzer, member of the College Football Hall of Fame and legendary coach of the Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys.

Oklahoma City University established the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor to recognize business and community leaders who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of Oklahoma. The Hall of Honor is housed in the Meinders School of Business at OCU.

Corporate tables and individual tickets are available at okcu.edu/hallofhonor.

Hall of Honor inductees serve as role models for business students, providing them with inspiration and encouragement as they pursue their roles as the next generation of business and community leaders. Melissa Cory, the school’s director of executive and professional development, said the event is a celebration of major achievements in business.

“We are thrilled to honor this year’s class of leaders who have made significant contributions to our state and region through their dedication and support of our community,” Cory said.

Financial support for the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor provides scholarships for students of the Meinders School of Business.

For questions or to discuss corporate sponsorships, contact Cory at 405-208-5540 or mcory@okcu.edu.

About the honorees:

Beffort

Mark Beffort serves as chief executive officer of Robinson Park and Newmark Robinson Park, and as chief operating officer and portfolio manager of Square Deal Investments. His commercial real estate career began in Oklahoma City in 1985, after graduating from Washburn University. Beffort was a successful commercial real estate broker for several years, then he began building a personal investment portfolio in addition to assisting several private and public entities build strategic partnerships.

For nearly 40 years he’s built a reputation as a trusted partner and leader in the community. His robust portfolio is valued at over $2 billion and spans across 15 million square feet across nine markets, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa; Rogers, Arkansas; Indianapolis; Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Columbus, Ohio; and New York City. The portfolio started as a Class A high-rise office strategy, but has since grown and diversified through hospitality, multi-family, industrial and storage investments.

Between Newmark Robinson Park and Square Deal Investments, Beffort employs more than 200 individuals. During the pandemic, he led a strategy to buy hotels during a distressed market. The acquisition of five hotels during 2021 preserved more than 350 jobs.

Beffort’s professional and community involvement includes serving as a trustee for Washburn University Foundation, Casady School, Myriad Gardens Foundation and the Oklahoma City Chamber Board of Directors. He is chair of the Council of Bond Oversight for the State of Oklahoma.

Keating

Cathy Keating is a fourth-generation Oklahoman who has focused much of her life on community service. Prior to becoming first lady of Oklahoma, she was active in the nonprofit community of Tulsa, where she was born and lived.

While first lady, she planned and organized the International Prayer Service, then published “In Their Name,” which was on The New York Times bestseller list, both projects on the heels of the Oklahoma City bombing. She has also published “Our Governors Mansions” and “Ooh La La: Cuisine Presented in a Stately Manner.” Additionally, she founded Friends of the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion, Septemberfest and the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, along with starting the tradition of an Oklahoma Christmas tree ornament. She also raised private dollars to renovate and permanently furnish the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion as well as to build the Phillip’s Pavilion on the grounds of the mansion. Keating conceived and implemented a grounds management program in partnership with Career Tech for female inmates to teach them a marketable job skill upon their release.

Continuing her love of community service, she currently serves on the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum board, where she co-founded and chairs the Annie Oakley Society. In that capacity she chaired the $15 million capital campaign for Liichokoshkomo, a new educational outdoor experience on the museum grounds. In addition, she serves on the boards of Palomar Family Justice Center, Cristo Rey OKC Catholic High School (where she has been honored with the Legacy award), the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and is on the National Advisory Boards of the OKC National Memorial and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Recently she co-chaired the capital campaign for the Love Family Women’s Center at Mercy Hospital.

In remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, she and her husband, former Gov. Frank Keating, co-authored “Love Won–The Oklahoma Standard” with all proceeds directed to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Keating is the recipient of several awards, including the Salvation Army’s William Booth Award, Tom Brokaw’s “People of the Week” honor and the David and Sybil Yurman Foundation’s Thoroughbred Award. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Tulsa Hall of Fame and has been named an “Outstanding Southerner” in Southern Living. She is a member of the OCU Society.

As a former board member of Express Employment Professionals International, she organized and chaired their international philanthropy until retiring in 2020. She currently chairs philanthropy for Funk Companies.

Switzer

Barry Switzer, A native of Arkansas, graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1960 and served in the U.S. Army before returning to the university as scout team coach and then offensive coach. He joined the coaching staff of the University of Oklahoma in 1966, was named offensive coordinator in 1967, then assistant head coach in 1970 and finally head coach in 1973.

Switzer is among the winningest coaches in all of college football and led the Sooners to three national championship wins, 12 Big Eight Conference crowns and never had a losing season during his tenure as head coach. Switzer concluded his time at OU at the end of the 1988 season with a 157-29-4 record, a percentage that ranked him fourth among history’s legendary football coaches.

He then became head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for four seasons and won the Super Bowl in 1996. Switzer has the highest winning percentage of any Dallas Cowboys football coach and is one of only three coaches to ever win a national championship in college and in the NFL.

The University of Oklahoma’s athletic complex, the Barry Switzer Center, was named in his honor. He is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Switzer served as honorary head coach of Oklahoma’s Special Olympics for more than 40 years.