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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, bmoakley@ou.edu.

OU College of Medicine Graduate Named to ACOG Post

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The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced the election of Thomas Gellhaus, MD (’83), of Iowa City, IA as President Elect.

Dr. Gellhaus is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. He graduated from Yankton High School in Yankton, South Dakota, received his bachelor of arts in Chemistry from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and his doctor of medicine from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Following residency, he entered private practice in Davenport, Iowa and after 20 years in private practice, he returned to academic medicine at the University of Iowa.

“As exclusive physician specialists for women and leaders in women’s health, obstetrician gynecologists must continue to work together to promote positive change for our patients and specialty,” said ACOG President John C. Jennings, MD. “I congratulate ACOG’s new officers, who represent the best of our profession and look forward to their continued dedication and service to our organization.”

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Gellhaus has served in many ACOG positions at the local, regional, national and international levels. His interests are in the areas of health care advocacy and policy.  He has also been very involved and active in global healthcare. He has completed the McCain Fellowship, a month long in-depth experience in advocacy, at ACOG in Washington, D.C. in 1999. In 2001, he was a Primary Care Policy Fellow with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has remained active in Advocacy and Policy as a member of ACOG’s Government Affairs Committee and the Ob/Gyn PAC.

Dr. Gellhaus has also been very active in leading groups on short-term medical and surgical mission projects for the last 20 years.  He has done numerous presentations about these short-term medical and surgical mission projects throughout the United States.

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Akande Named President of Westminster College

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Benjamin Ola. Akande, Ph.D, (’84, ’90, ’95) has been named the 21st president of the 164-year-old Westminster College in Fulton, MO.

He will take office July 1, succeeding Dr. George B. Forsythe, president since 2008, who is retiring after 10 years at Westminster.

“We’re proud to introduce Dr. Akande as president of Westminster College,” said Wallace L. Head, chairman of the Westminster Board of Trustees. “We’ve achieved our year-long goal of finding the most qualified person to lead Westminster and to continue executing our strategic plan.

“It includes developing leaders for a global community by establishing one of the country’s most internationally diverse colleges, and maintaining a graduate placement rate that exceeds 95 percent,” he added.

Dr. Akande, a Nigerian-born American citizen, serves as a professor of economics and Dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St. Louis. He also leads Webster’s global Office of Corporate Partnerships.

Raised in Nigeria, Dr. Akande came to the U.S. to attend Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma, and completed his post-doctoral studies at Harvard and Oxford.

Head said Dr. Akande was selected for his academic and administrative qualifications and because “he’s a results-oriented leader with strategic vision and proven experience in the areas of global strategy, marketing, and leadership.”

Akande said he proudly accepts this new challenge and looks forward to continuing Westminster’s mission.

“Westminster offers a distinctive destination for undergraduate education focused on student achievement and diversity, which are critically important,” he said. “We must prepare graduates to live and work in a world that is far more diverse and richer in new opportunities than ever before.”

Dr. Akande also recognized Webster University’s administration and faculty for the support and opportunity they provided the past 15 years.

Westminster College is the nation’s eighth-highest ranked small liberal arts college for percentage of international students. Westminster’s nearly 1,000 students are from 28 U.S. states and 76 countries worldwide.

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Bailey Honored by NAPW For Leadership in Business

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The National Association of Professional Women has inducted honors Kelly Bailey (’01), Ph.D, as a 2015-2016 member of its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She has been recognized for prestigious distinction for leadership in business.

Bailey earned her master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University and doctoral degree in education from Walden University.

The CEO of Sweet Adelines International, Bailey oversees an organization of 23,000 female members across five continents as it advances the musical art form of barbershop a cappella harmony through education, competition and performance. Three years ago, she stepped down as a vice president at a prominent private university to take on this challenging role. Her responsibilities include managing a worldwide staff and volunteers, creating and implementing the organization’s short- and long-term vision, forming and enacting best practices, establishing a culture of efficiency and effectiveness, and acting as a direct liaison between the board of directors and staff.

Bailey has cultivated a culture of cost savings for the nonprofit, establishing new policies and procedures that have saved the organization over $1 million. Additionally, her creative means of strategic fiscal planning have increased non-dues revenue.

“The most exciting thing about my job is to be able to see an idea come to fruition; to think of a strategic plan, to work out the details among some of the most talented people in the business and then work through the details to see the plan become reality and ultimately change lives,” Bailey said.

Bailey hopes to grow the nonprofit to 50,000-plus members and to complete an ASAE “Certified Association Executive” progran. She also enjoys speaking to groups about the power and potential of women in the workplace, creative problem solving, team building, leadership development and understanding the power of individual contribution.

 “I’m pleased to welcome Kelly into this exceptional group of professional women,” said NAPW President Star Jones. “Her perseverance, work ethic and leadership qualities are an inspiration to all women.”

NAPW is the nation's leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting more than 700,000 members and over 200 operating Local Chapters.

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

If you have a life event to share with us, please email Bill Moakley, Director of Alumni Communications, bmoakley@ou.edu.

James L. "Jim" Vineyard (‘55)

James L. "Jim" Vineyard (‘55), 83, Lawton, died Friday, March 6, 2015, at his home in Lawton. Vineyard earned a bachelor’s of business administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Vineyard was born Jan. 28, 1932, in Cushing. After graduating from Cushing High School in 1950, he attended OU, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and an active member of ROTC. He was a member of The Pride of Oklahoma where he sat first chair as a cornet player for two years. He also served two years in the Army Color Guard.

Vineyard married Georgann Levite on Sept. 5, 1954. They celebrated their 60th anniversary this past September. After graduation, his journey took him into the Army as a lieutenant. He was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. He worked for Artillery Board 4 in research and development of rockets at White Sands, N.M., Proving Ground. His unit, the 550 Artillery Battery, fired the first Honest John Rocket in battery formation. They also fired the 100th Honest John Rocket. Vineyard served on active duty from 1955-1957 and continued service for seven years in the Army Reserve. He was honorably discharged as a captain in 1964.

Vineyard went into the insurance field where as an insurance agent he sold the first health insurance policy for the City of Lawton. After two years, he joined the sales team at Sears, Roebuck & Company where he worked for six years. He was then hired at Security Bank & Trust where he started as a teller and worked his way to vice president. During his time at the bank, Security installed the first ATM in Lawton under Vineyard’s supervision. He retired from banking in 1995 after 28 years. 

Vineyard was a member of the Lawton Breakfast Optimist Club for more than 50 years. During this time, he served as zone lieutenant and as governor of Oklahoma District in 1976. He also was a proud member of the Masons for more than 50 years. Jim and his family attended Centenary Methodist Church where Jim served as the treasurer on the finance committee. 

He was survived by his wife, Georgann, of the home, and his three daughters, Vicky Robinson and her husband Chuck, of Edmond, Cheri Abshere and her husband Chuck, of Lawton, Cindy Rhoades and her husband David, of Broken Arrow; grandchildren, Joe Abshere and his wife Ostyn, Jenny Sheperd and her husband Grant, Stephanie Gibson and her husband Doug, Brett Rhoades, Bayley Rhoades, Chad Robinson and his wife Holly, Colby Robinson and his wife Emily, Conner Robinson and his wife Becky, and Teyon Ware and his wife Shea; great-grandchildren, Anistyn and Ace Abshere, Ava and Luke Sheperd, Chloe and Gabby Gibson, Mackaylee and Cademon Robinson, and Charlie Robinson; sister-in-law, Molly Levite Griffis, of Norman; niece, Ginger Griffis, and nephew, George Griffis, his wife Katka, and their son William, nieces, Anita Achtenberg and Diane Abbrecht.

Georgann Levite Vineyard ('54)

Georgann Levite Vineyard (’54), Lawton, died on Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Lawton. Vineyard earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Oklahoma.

Vineyard was born on Jan. 1, 1932, in Apache, Oklahoma. After graduating from Apache High School in 1950, she attended OU where she was a member and president of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and was named a Top Ten Freshman.

After her graduation from the University of Oklahoma, she married Jim on Sept. 5, 1954, and they were blessed to celebrate their 60th anniversary this past September.

Vineyard taught private speech lessons and directed Post Children’s Theatre at Fort Sill. She attended night school and earned her master’s degree in reading education with a minor in English as a second language from OU. Vineyard began her teaching career at Lawton Eisenhower High School teaching Dimensions in Reading from 1973-1985. She then taught Title I Reading at Washington, Kuntz, and Western Hills. Following her retirement in 1995, Vineyard continued with private tutoring. Vineyard started the Lawton Area Reading Council and was named Lawton Public Schools Teacher of the Year in 1980.

She was preceded in death by her husband Jim. She is survived her three daughters, Vicky Robinson and her husband Chuck, of Edmond, Cheri Abshere and her husband Chuck, of Lawton, Cindy Rhoades and her husband David, of Broken Arrow; grandchildren, Joe Abshere and his wife Ostyn, Jenny Sheperd and her husband Grant, Stephanie Gibson and her husband Doug, Brett Rhoades, Bayley Rhoades, Chad Robinson and his wife Holly, Colby Robinson and his wife Emily, Conner Robinson and his wife Becky, and Teyon Ware and his wife Shea; great-grandchildren, Anistyn and Ace Abshere, Ava and Luke Sheperd, Chloe and Gabby Gibson, Mackaylee and Cademon Robinson, and Charlie Robinson; sister-in-law, Molly Levite Griffis, of Norman; niece, Ginger Griffis, and nephew, George Griffis, his wife Katka, and their son William, nieces, Anita Achtenberg and Diane Abbrecht.