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OU’S Largest College To Honor Award Winners 2020

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W. Clark Gilpin


Gilpin received his bachelor’s degree in history in 1967 from the University of Oklahoma, his master of divinity degree in 1970 from Lexington Theological Seminary, and his master of arts degree in 1972 and doctorate in 1974, both from the University of Chicago. During his studies at Oklahoma, Clark Gilpin served as president of the Union Activities Council, was elected to the Pe-et honorary society, and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

Currently, Gilpin is the Margaret E. Burton Professor Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he served as dean from 1990 to 2000. Gilpin studies the history of modern Christianity, especially in relation to literature. Gilpin’s most recent book, Religion Around Emily Dickinson (Penn State University Press, 2014), employs Dickinson’s poetry as a lens through which to view the cultural work performed by religious thought, practice and imagination in 19th-century America.

He is currently writing about the “letter from prison” as a genre of religious literature from the Apostle Paul to Martin Luther King. As a member of the University of Chicago faculty, Gilpin directed the Divinity School’s Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, and he has also served as the director of the university’s Nicholson Center for British Studies and as a member of the executive council of the Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture.

Holland Ford


Ford graduated with special distinction from OU in 1962, with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and physics.  Associated honors include Phi Eta Sigma, Sigma Pi Sigma, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Phi Beta Kappa.  He earned his doctorate in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1970.

He is an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, as well as a professor in the Johns Hopkins’ Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy. He is the principal investigator for the Hubble telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, and he assumed a lead role in organizing the Hubble panel that developed the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement. Ford has also played a role in discovering evidence for the existence of supermassive black holes in the cores of most galaxies. He has more than 30 years of teaching experience at prestigious universities, including the University of Michigan, UCLA and Johns Hopkins.

Ford is the recipient of NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal for his outstanding contributions to the Hubble Space Telescope. This award is NASA’s highest form of recoginition, and is presented to those who have made a profound impact on the success of a NASA mission. He is also the recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award and the NASA Group Achievement award.   

Diane Willis


Willis graduated from OU in 1970 with a doctorate in psychology and participated in a two-year postdocotoral internship in Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology at the OU Health Sciences Center. 

Currently, Willis is professor emeritus, Department of Pediatrics, OU Health Sciences Center. For 23 years, she served as director of psychological services and training at the Child Study Center at OUHSC. She is a voting member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. She is the founding editor of The Journal of Pediatric Psychology and was editor of The Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, which she developed into a peer-reviewed journal. She is the co-editor of five books and over 70 articles and chapters in scholarly publications.

Willis has received numerous awards throughout her career, among them the Nicholas Hobbs Award for Child Advocacy, the Distinguished Professional Contribution to Clinical Psychology Award and the Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Oklahoma Psychological Association. In January 2017, she received the Distinguished Contributions to the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Psychology Award in recognition of her extraordinary lifetime contributions to ethnic minority psychology as scholar, advocate, teacher and leader. In recognition of her lifelong, significant contributions as a mentor to psychologists, the American Psychological Foundation and APA Division of Child, Youth, and Family Services established the “Diane J. Willis Early Career Award” in 2008.

Willis has demonstrated outstanding public service as a consultant to the Federal Head Start program and Zero to Three in early childhood education and mental health programs for Native American tribes. Similarly, she has served as core faculty with Project Making Medicine, training behavioral health professionals in the Indian Health Service and tribal programs across the nation in child physical and sexual abuse. She was named Indian Woman of the Year by the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women and in 2011, she was presented the American Indian Elder Award by the National Multicultural Conference Society. She remains active and committed to furthering the development and provision of mental health services in underserved populations. 

Clifford and Leslie Hudson

University of Oklahoma College of Public Health on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Okla.  Photo Courtesy OU College of Public Health

Clifford Hudson received his undergraduate degree in history from OU, from which he also received an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 2011. He holds a juris doctorate from Georgetown University, where he served as chair of the Board of Visitors from 2013-2016. In 2014, Georgetown University awarded him the John Carroll Award, its highest alumni recognition. Hudson spent 35 years of his career at Sonic Corp., an Oklahoma City-based, publicly held company that owns, operates and franchises SONIC Drive-In restaurants. He left the company upon its sale in December 2018 and joined the law firm Crowe & Dunlevy as Of Counsel in the firm’s Oklahoma City office. From 1994-2001, Hudson served as Chairman of the Board of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, a presidential appointment, and from 2005-2017, he served on the Board of Trustees of the Ford Foundation (New York).

Leslie Hudson received her undergraduate degree in physical therapy, a master’s degree in public health and a doctoratal degree in epidemiology at the OU Health Sciences Center. She was a faculty member in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology until 2000 and currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Hudson College of Public Health at the OUHSC. In 2017, Hudson received the OU Regents’ Alumni Award and in 2019 was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by the University of Oklahoma. Currently, she chairs the Margaret Annis Boys Trust/Parks & Public Space Initiative at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and the Greater Oklahoma City Parks & Trails Foundation.  She serves on the Board of Directors of Thrive: A Sexual Health Collective for Youth, whose goal is to reduce teen pregnancy in central Oklahoma, and the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, a charitable fund supporting civic and cultural causes that impact citizens in central Oklahoma and beyond.

Clifford and Leslie Hudson established the Hudson Family Endowed Scholarship and the Hudson Fellows in Public Health program to support graduate education in public health at OU.  In addition to providing fellowships, the Hudson Fellows program supports an annual symposium that brings national leaders in public health research, policy and education to the University to discuss topics of importance in the field. In recognition of the Hudsons’ support, the OU Board of Regents named the College of Public Health in their honor in 2018. The Hudson College of Public Health and the College of Arts and Sciences are partners on a new joint degree program.

The Hudsons’ also have created the Hudson Family Fellowships in support of graduate students in the Department of History. Their commitment to ensuring the availability of health education and cultural opportunitiesto the citizens of Oklahoma exemplifies the college’s commitment to transformative public service. Clifford and Leslie Hudson will be presented with the Distinguished Service Award in honor of their transformative service to the state and University.    

Daniel Pae


Pae recently graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average from the University in 2017 with a double major in economics and political science and a double minor in history and international area studies, and a master’s degree in public administration. During his time at OU, he served as Student Body president, along with volunteering his time with The Oklahoma Group, Loveworks Afterschool Leadership, and Generation Citizen.    

Pae received numerous scholarships, honors and awards during his college career, including the Carl Albert Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Carl Albert Capitol Scholars and Henderson Scholarship. He was the recipient of the 2017 Carl Albert Award, the most prestigious award given to a student by the OU College of Arts and Sciences, based on academics, moral force of character, and promise of future service to the state and nation.

Currently, Pae is serving as the state representative for House District 62. Before being elected, he worked as an administrative assistant in the Lawton City Manager’s Office. Pae is hard-working and committed to bettering his district. Recently, he introduced House Bill 1071, his first bill after being elected. This highly anticipated bill raised the speed limit on certain highways and certain areas of the turnpike.

Pae is steadfast in his efforts  to represent the community of Lawton in its mission to connect young, career-bound leaders to social, civic and business resources.