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OU Alumni News & Milestones

If you have news, an award or honor, life event or obituary to share, please email Bill Moakley, Director of Alumni Communications,

OU Grad Named CDO and Senior Vice President at USO

donna nelson

The USO (United Service Organizations) has named Lisa Turner Anastasi ('98) the new Chief Development Officer & Senior Vice President of Development. Anastasi will lead the USO’s engagement and cultivation of donors and will oversee all areas of development, including corporate and foundation partnerships, direct response programs, and major and planned gifts, as well as donor stewardship and services. She joins the USO’s senior leadership team in January 2015.

Anstasi holds a bachelor's of arts degree in political science from OU.

A nonprofit, congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities.

“I can think of no better honor than to support the men, women and families who serve our country,” said Anastasi. “The military landscape is continually evolving, and the USO’s work is more critical now than ever before. I am thrilled to be joining an organization with such a rich history of serving those who serve.”

Anastasi joins the USO after six years of leadership success at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. As Vice President of Development, she led the organization’s first capital campaign, raising more than $500 million in less than five years to build the Bush Center and establish the Bush Institute. In addition, she managed a four-year donor acquisition campaign which grew the donor base from 23 donors to 350,000 donors. Anastasi joined the Bush Center at its inception and was instrumental in building the organization’s fundraising and development operations, creating a robust infrastructure that supported the Bush Center’s rapid growth.

Previously, Lisa worked at the University of Virginia as the Director of Donor Relations for the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In this role, she provided strategic direction and daily management of development activities for the College’s 90,000 alumni. Anastasi has also served as a government relations consultant in Washington, D.C., where she represented colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations on Capitol Hill. During that time, she helped raise more than $300 million in federal funding for her clients, which included Texas Tech University, Oklahoma State University, and the University of New Mexico.

Anastasi started her career with former U.S. Congressman Larry Combest of Texas, working on legislative issues including veterans’ affairs. She also served in the office of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as a Cortez A.M. Ewing Fellow.

She is a native of Dallas, Texas and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Oklahoma. Anastasi and her husband, Tim, have two sons, Brock and Walker.

OU Grad To Release Second Edition of Textbook

David Gibson ('81), a Distingushed Professor in plant biology, has just released the 2nd edition of his book Methods in Comparative Plant Population Ecology.  It primarily targets graduate level students and researchers in the field of plant population ecology and conservation biology and provides updates from his first edition concerning " advances in statistics and modelling applications in population ecology, as well as an explosion of new techniques reflecting the availability of new technologies."  Get your copy today!

OU Grad Promoted At JAX® Mice & Clinical and Research Services

donna nelson

 The Jackson Laboratory has promoted Auro Nair, Ph.D., ('89, '95) to general manager of JAX® Mice, Clinical and Research Services. 

Nair joined the Laboratory in 2007 as associate general manager of what was then known as JAX® Mice & Services. The institution added clinical services to its offerings and in 2011 Nair was named general manager of JAX® Clinical and Research Services, responsible for all clinical and scientific research services provided to internal researchers at The Jackson Laboratory and external researchers worldwide.  

"We are at an exciting crossroad in translating basic research into cures for human diseases,” Nair says. “Bringing these cures to the patient is served by the mice, clinical and research resources that JAX provides the scientific community to accelerate research and development in complex diseases. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity that The Jackson Laboratory has provided me to lead in this effort. With our incredible team, I'm confident that we will achieve further success."

JAX Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Charles E. Hewett, Ph.D., comments, “Auro has played a lead role in making our scientific excellence available to help other scientists around the globe and deserves significant credit for making JAX Mice the mice of choice worldwide. He is a quiet, thoughtful and successful leader and team-builder with a record of accomplishment and great potential."

Prior to joining JAX, Nair served as vice president for worldwide marketing and North American sales with Caliper Life Sciences (today part of PerkinElmer), Hopkinton, Mass., where he had been responsible for commercialization of Caliper’s products and services. He had been with Caliper and its predecessor company, Zymark, since 1997. From 1990 to 1997 Nair had managed Quality Compliance and Analytical Services at GlaxoSmithKline’s FDA-approved site in Singapore.

Nair is a graduate in chemistry from the University of Science, Penang, Malaysia, and holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma, Norman.  He has an Executive MBA from Suffolk University in Boston, Mass. Nair, his wife and their two children reside in West Hartford, Conn.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs more than 1,600 staff, and its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.


OU graduate Xiaotian Chen ('97) recently ranked among the best librarians in the world coming in at number 14. People ranked are "Worldwide contributors to the literature of library and information science: top authors, 2007–2012."

If you have a life event to share with us, please email Bill Moakley, Director of Alumni Communications,

Leon Brachman, former Fox executive, Dies

Leon Brachman (’51), a former top executive at Columbia, United Artists, Paramount and 20th Century Fox, died in Los Angeles on November 29 from the effects of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. He was 85.

Brachman held a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Oklahoma.

While at Fox from 1980 to 1990, he was executive vice president, acting as chief negotiator and administrator of the motion picture division, involved in all of the dealmaking decisions regarding writers, actors, directors, literary properties and acquisition of films.

He began his entertainment career as an attorney for United Artists in New York, moved to the legal department at Columbia in 1966 and was promoted to director of business affairs following his transfer to Los Angeles in 1976. In 1978, he went to United Artists as VP of business affairs before heading to 20th Century Fox in 1980 together with a new management team.

Following a management change in 1991, Brachman went to Paramount for a short stint as executive vice president before leaving to become a consultant to Gladden Productions, Morgan Creek Productions, the Completion Bond Company, Capella Films and Martin Bregman Productions until 2005.

Brachman was first in his family to graduate from college, attending OU, and later graduated from Brooklyn Law School. He served as an intelligence officer in the Army during the Korean War.


Nickie Keith Harrison

Nickie Keith Harrison (’65 & ’80), 71, of Chickasha, Oklahoma, died November 18. 

He held a bachelor’s of arts degree in history and doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Oklahoma, and a master’s of education degree from Southeast Oklahoma State University.

Harrison was a career educator who taught history and social studies first at Marlow Junior and Senior High Schools, and later was history department chair and taught world and American history at Duncan High School, where he was named Outstanding Young Educator. He taught in the Education/Psychology Division at Southeast Missouri State University as an assistant and associate professor of education, where he was honored with numerous honors and awards over the years for his teaching expertise and service to the university.  

In 1990 Harrison moved back home to Oklahoma with his family, first serving as associate professor of education at Cameron University and as associate professor and professor of education at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.