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Five Outstanding Individuals to Receive Honorary Degrees at OU Commencement May 11

April 12, 2012

Three outstanding individuals will join University of Oklahoma Commencement speaker Ruth J. Simmons, president of Brown University, in being awarded honorary degrees at OU’s 2012 Commencement Ceremony.

A fifth honorary degree recipient, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid, will be honored posthumously.

In addition to President Simmons and Shadid, the following will be awarded honorary degrees:

• James L. Gallogly, an oil and gas industry leader who currently serves as chief executive officer of LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, Houston

• William J. Ross, legal and civic leader and supporter of education, health and human services, and community enhancement, Oklahoma City

 and Randall L. Stephenson, global telecommunications leader and education advocate who currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc., Dallas

Shadid was serving as the Beirut bureau chief for The New York Times at the time of his death Feb. 16 in Syria. Before that, he was the newspaper’s deputy bureau chief in Baghdad. Until December 2009, he served as the Baghdad bureau chief of The Washington Post, where he had worked since 2003. Over a 15-year career abroad, he reported from most countries in the Middle East.

Shadid won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2004 for his coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the occupation that followed. He won the Pulitzer Prize again in 2010 for his coverage of Iraq as the United States began its withdrawal. In 2007, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Lebanon. He also received the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ award for deadline writing, the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad and the George Polk Award for foreign reporting. He also is a 2012 inductee into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

Shadid is the author of three books, Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats and the New Politics of Islam, Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War and House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East.

An Oklahoma City native, Shadid briefly attended OU in the 1980s before graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spoke at OU on several occasions, including at a President’s Associates dinner in November 2006.  He was aware that the university was planning to bestow an honorary degree upon him and planned to be present for the ceremony.

Shadid recently talked about his career and forthcoming memoir with a 2011 OU professional writing graduate; that interview is featured in the March issue of OU’s literary quarterly World Literature Today, which can be viewed at www.ou.edu/worldlit/.

Gallogly worked for Phillips, and later Chevron Phillips Chemical and ConocoPhillips, in a career spanning almost 30 years. Upon joining Phillips in 1980, he held various roles in exploration and production, legal, and finance, including international assignments. There, he rose to senior vice president of chemicals and plastics, vice president of olefins and polyolefins, and vice president for North America production. He joined Chevron Phillips Chemical as president and chief executive officer in 2000. He joined ConocoPhillips in 2006, serving first as executive vice president of refining, marketing and transportation, and was named executive vice president of exploration and production in 2008. He joined LyondellBasell in May 2009.

Gallogly serves on the board of directors of the American Chemistry Council and the Society of Chemical Industry. He is active in higher education affairs, serving on the OU College of Engineering Board of Visitors, University of Colorado Engineering Advisory Council and University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He also serves on the board of directors and executive committee at Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas. He is a member of the Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas bar associations.

Gallogly earned his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Colorado and his law degree from OU. He completed the Advanced Executive Program at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Ross, a native of Oklahoma City and the son and grandson of ’89ers, received his bachelor of business administration and bachelor of laws degrees, both from OU. After graduation, he became an assistant municipal counselor with the City of Oklahoma City and served in that position until he joined the firm Rainey, Flynn, Green and Anderson as an associate in 1960.  He became a partner in 1965 and became the senior partner in 1975, at which time the firm was renamed Rainey, Ross, Rice & Binns.  He served as senior partner until 2000 and Of Counsel from 2000 to 2010.

Ross served as a member of the Admissions and Grievances Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and is a former member and chairman of the Federal Judicial Nominating Committee.

He currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma City-based Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Ross served as attorney for the late journalist Edith Kinney Gaylord when both foundations were established by her in 1982.  Inasmuch Foundation is committed to education, health and human services, and community enhancement. Since 2003, the foundation has provided grants totaling $95 million. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation funds projects in support of student journalists, working journalists and investigative reporting; since 2003, the foundation has provided grants totaling $34 million. He also is director of Oklahoma City Educare, launched in 2009.  Now with centers throughout the nation, Educare serves disadvantaged children from birth to age 5 with year-round early education programs.

Ross served as co-chairman of the OU College of Law’s Board of Visitors and, along with co-chairman DeVier Pierson, led a successful campaign to expand and renovate the OU Law Center. He also served on the Reach for Excellence Campaign Committee, where he was instrumental in helping secure a number of major gifts.

Ross was presented with the Regents’ Alumni Award in 2000, which honors individuals who have given generously of their time and service to the university. He is an Honorary Member of the Order of the Coif, Oklahoma Chapter, OU College of Law, and is a former director of the OU Bizzell Library Society. He was inducted into the OU College of Law Hall of Fame Order of the Owl in 2011.

Since being named chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc. in 2007,Stephenson has strengthened that company’s position as the world’s largest telecommunications company and as a global leader in mobile broadband and IP-based business communications services. Under his leadership, AT&T also has accelerated its growth in advanced TV services and is a leader in local search advertising.

Also under his leadership, AT&T announced the largest education initiative in company history – AT&T Aspire – a $100 million philanthropic program to help strengthen students’ success and workforce readiness.

Stephenson also has served AT&T as chief operating officer, responsible for all wireless and wired operations, from 2004 to 2007, and as senior executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2001 to 2004. He was appointed to AT&T’s board of directors in 2005.

Born in Oklahoma City, Stephenson began his career in 1982 with Southwestern Bell Telephone in the Oklahoma IT office. He progressed through a series of leadership positions, including an assignment in Mexico City as SBC International’s director of finance. He also has served as controller for SBC Communications and as senior vice president for consumer marketing.

Stephenson is a member of the board of directors of Emerson Electric Co. and is a National Executive Board member of the Boy Scouts of America.