Skip Navigation

Honorary Degree 2011

OU Public Affairs WebsiteOU homepagePublic Affairs homepage
Skip Side Navigation

Five Outstanding Individuals to Receive Honorary Degrees at OU Commencement

Honorary Degrees

jc/4- xx-11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             

CONTACT: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

NORMAN — Four outstanding individuals will join University of Oklahoma Commencement speaker U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates in being awarded honorary degrees at OU’s 2011 Commencement Ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 13, at The Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, 180 W. Brooks St.

 In addition to Secretary Gates, the following will be awarded honorary degrees:

·      Timothy Clare Headington, community leader and supporter of humanitarian efforts worldwide, and president of Headington Oil Co., Dallas

· George Henderson, educational leader and noted civil rights scholar, Norman, Okla.

· Clifford Hudson, civic leader and supporter of education, chairman of the board and CEO of Sonic Corp., Oklahoma City

· and the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, theologian and president of Union Theological Seminary, New York, N.Y.  

Gates was sworn in as the 22nd Secretary of Defense on Dec. 18, 2006. He is the only Secretary of Defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected president. President Barack Obama is the eighth president Secretary Gates has served.  He joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional prior to assuming his current position. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council and the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties.

Under Presidents Bush and Obama, Secretary Gates has been tasked with winding down the war in Iraq and curbing the surging violence in Afghanistan, helping to draft America’s response to the dramatic changes in the Middle East and with implementing the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military.

Headington is co-founder of the nonprofit Headington Institute, headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., the mission of which is to care for caregivers worldwide by determining the best ways to promote the physical hardiness, emotional resilience and spiritual validity of humanitarian relief and development personnel. In addition to providing free online training materials, its team of psychologists travels to places including Japan, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South America and throughout Africa to provide counseling, resilience training and management consultation.

Headington is president and sole shareholder of the Dallas-headquartered Headington Resources Inc., one of the premier independent exploration and production operators in south Texas. Active throughout the major oil and natural gas basins in the continental United States, the company also has interests in real estate and hotel development, film production, private equity and entertainment. He also serves on the board of directors of the Mike Modano Foundation, an organization that raises funds to improve the quality of life for underserved and at-risk youth in the Dallas area, and is a major supporter of The Heroes Foundation, which provides programs for opportunities for disadvantaged youth to participate in a select baseball program.

Headington earned his bachelor of arts degree in history from OU, where he was a member of the tennis team.  After graduating from OU, Headington went on to earn graduate degrees in theology and psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. He completed his internship at Los Angeles County Hospital. He continues to be an active supporter of his alma mater, serving on the athletic director’s Executive Advisory Council. He was honored in 2005 with the OU Regents’ Alumni Award.

Henderson is committed to education and leadership in matters related to tolerance and human relations.  He has worked tirelessly to foster human rights and has served as a mentor to numerous students at OU, where he has served as a distinguished member of the faculty. At OU, Henderson is widely recognized for his guidance in developing OU’s liberal studies and human relations programs.  In 1967, he became the first African-American professor in the state to occupy an endowed chair when he was appointed Sylvan N. Goldman Professor of Human Relations at OU. He also was the first African-American dean on the Norman campus, serving the OU College of Liberal Studies in that capacity from January 1996 to July 2000.  At the culmination of his service as dean, Henderson returned to the Department of Human Relations as director of Advanced Studies Programs for the Master of Human Relations degree.

During his nearly 40-year tenure at OU, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.  The Henderson Scholars Program and the Henderson-Tolson Cultural Center on the Norman campus bear his name.  A popular speaker and prolific writer, he is the author of 50 articles and 33 books, including Cultural Diversity in the Workplace (1994); Our Souls to Keep: Black/White Relations in America (1999); Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (2004); and Race and the University:  A Memoir (2010), the last of which received the Outstanding Book on Oklahoma History Award in 2010.

Henderson holds a master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in educational sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit.

An advocate for quality education in Oklahoma, Hudson along with his wife, Leslie Hudson, established a chair in history and a graduate fellowship to assist students entering the doctoral program in history at OU. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for OU’s K-20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal. From 2001 to 2008, he served as chairman of the Oklahoma City School Board, a position created as part of a $530 million turn-around of a 40,000-student, inner-city Oklahoma City Public School System. He was co-chair of “MAPS for Kids,” the largest fundraising initiative in the Oklahoma City school district’s history.

A trustee of the Ford Foundation, Hudson is chairman of the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is affiliated with many nonprofit and community organizations. 

Hudson attended OU on a Phi Beta Kappa scholarship and was a member of the 1973 OU President’s Leadership Class. He earned his history degree in 1977, and later earned his law degree from Georgetown University. Hudson has served on the OU College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors, which awarded him a Distinguished Alumni Award.  He also is the recipient of an OU Regents’ Alumni Award.

Hudson has spent the past 27 years of his career at Sonic Corp, an Oklahoma City-based, publicly held company that owns, operates and franchises SONIC Drive-In restaurants. He is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the company, which has 3,500 franchised and company-operated drive-in restaurants. 

Hudson is a recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award and was inducted into the Hall of Honor of Industry and Commerce.  In 2009, he was inducted into the Wall of Fame for the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. 

Through her leadership and service to the global religious community, Jones encourages religious communities to assume a key role in addressing societal challenges.

She is a prolific and popular scholar in the fields of theology, religion, globalization and gender studies. Her most recent book, Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World, explores the devastating social and personal effects of violence on the human psyche and the role of religious communities, both negative and positive, in healing wounds.  Her book, Feminist Theory and Christian Theology, is a standard textbook in feminist theology.

As the 16th president of the historic Union Theological Seminary, Jones is the first woman to head the 174-year-old nondenominational seminary, which is located in Manhattan and neighbors with Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminar.

She came to Union after 17 years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and chair of women, gender and sexuality studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was co-principal investigator on the “Women, Religion and Globalization Grant” for the Henry T. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs at Yale.

Jones holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Yale Divinity School and Yale University. She is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.

Recent News

Irungu Named Interim Associate Vice President of University Community

Jane Irungu

The University of Oklahoma announced today that Jane Irungu will serve as the interim associate vice president for university community at the University of Oklahoma. She will join the staff of the Office of University Community beginning Aug. 20. A search committee comprised of 10 faculty and staff members of the university submitted their recommendations to OU President James L. Gallogly for his selection.

Read More

OU Looks Forward with Reorganized Administration

Seed Sower Norman statue

NORMAN –The University of Oklahoma announced today an executive restructuring aimed to streamline reporting, bring in fresh, diverse perspectives, and improve its cost structure. The reorganization reduces the number of executives who report to the President from 25 to 17, a 32 percent reduction. The executive staff includes not only Norman campus leaders, but also individuals with Health Sciences Center, Tulsa and university-wide responsibilities.

10/09/18

OU's Radar Team Developing Fastest, Most Advanced Radar in the Nation

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The University of Oklahoma’s Advanced Radar Research Center team is developing the fastest, most advanced radar in the nation with a $3.4 and $3.1 million SENSR grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. HORUS, an all-digital polarimetric phased array radar, can scan the atmosphere in 30 seconds or less and distinguish between snowflakes, raindrops, hail stones or other targets within a storm. Rapid scans of the atmosphere and hydrometeor classification, among other polarimetric radar capabilities, are critical for forecasting and prediction. Read more

09/26/18

OU SMART-R Team Reveals Threats During Hurricane Florence Landfall

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The University of Oklahoma Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching radar team set up a mobile C-band radar on the shoulder of I-140 on the Cape Fear River bridge west of Wilmington, North Carolina, during Hurricane Florence landfall. Four OU and Purdue University portable integrated precipitation systems were placed in open fields southwest of Wilmington to measure raindrop sizes, winds, temperature, humidity and pressure. Sean Waugh, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, launched weather balloons into the eye of the storm from Wrightsville Beach and the Wilmington International Airport. Read more

09/10/18

OU IT Team Receives NSF Instrumentation Grant for Research Data Archiving

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma team, led by Henry Neeman, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant in the amount of $967,755 for a new academic research data storage instrument—a massive tape archive known as the OU and Regional Research Store, which will serve as a national model for affordable, large-scale, multi-institutional storage. Read more

09/10/18

OU SMART Radar Team Departs for East Coast to Intercept Hurricane Florence

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - The University of Oklahoma’s Shared Mobile and Atmospheric Research and Teaching radar team, led by Michael Biggerstaff, departed for the East Coast Sunday afternoon to intercept Hurricane Florence with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory. The team will encounter Hurricane Florence, a possible Category 3 or 4 hurricane, at landfall later this week. Read more

09/10/18

OU Professor Selected for 2019 ASM Environmental Research Award

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma professor, Jizhong Zhou, is the recipient of the 2019 American Society for Microbiology Award for Environmental Research for significant accomplishments in the field of microbiology. The award will be presented at the ASM Microbe meeting in San Francisco, California, in June 2019.Read more

09/05/18

OU Research Addresses Concerns of South-Central Plains Region with NSF Instrumentation Grant

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma research group, led by Mark Nanny, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant in the amount of $396,778. The Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer with Laser Ablation and Liquid Chromatography capabilities will enable collaboration among researchers at OU, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa in specific areas of research and coordination with Oklahoma Tribal Nations in various research projects. Read more

09/05/18

OU Team to Develop New Methods to Track Bird Migration and Adaptability

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma research team of biologists and meteorologists will develop and employ advanced methods to monitor birds during migratory flights and assess the atmospheric conditions in which they fly. The project will involve unmanned aerial vehicles as well as novel tracking devices developed by OU researchers. The devices will be attached to migratory birds and will reveal the environments experienced by birds in flight and provide new insights into the dynamics of the lower atmosphere. Read more

08/29/18

SMART Radar Results Show Hurricane Harvey Category 3, Not Category 4

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN - University of Oklahoma meteorologists, Michael Biggerstaff and Addison Alford, recently presented results collected from landfall of Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas, one year ago. Data collected with the OU Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching and National Weather Service radars showed maximum sustained surface winds of 112 miles per hour. A Category 3 hurricane has sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph. Read more

08/27/18

Oklahoma Women Impacting STEM and Entrepreneurship Conference

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The inaugural Oklahoma Women Impacting STEM and Entrepreneurship Conference is scheduled for Sept. 14, 2018, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Catalyst Programs, an office of the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma, is hosting the conference with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Toast Design Studios, Devon Energy, Lobeck-Taylor Family Foundation, Citizens Bank of Edmond, Association for Women in Science, Oklahoma Women in Technology, Women’s Energy Network, Society of Women Engineers, REI Oklahoma, DayCreative and more. Read more

08/27/18

OK Catalyst Program Teaches Students to Launch Business

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The Tom Love Innovation Hub held its inaugural Oklahoma Catalyst Researchers Program this summer with 29 graduate students from the University of Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa. The participants explored how to launch a business based on their graduate research. Read more

OU to Lead U.S. Stream Drying Study with $3 Million in NSF Grants

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma professor, Daniel C. Allen, will lead one of the first coordinated ecology research projects to study what happens to streams as they dry across the United States. The National Science Foundation funded the study with a $1.4 million grant to OU and $1.6 million in grants to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley; Northern Arizona University; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and University of Arizona. Read more

Climate Warming Affects Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma professor, Jizhong Zhou, and his team have completed a new study on the effects of climate warming on soil microbes in a long-term climate change experiment at a tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The new study shows that climate warming will affect microbial communities in the future, and future community states will be more predictable under warmed climate. Eventually, microbial communities will produce different functions and feedbacks to climate warming. Read more

OU Biologist Developing Network of Researchers and Data from Intermittent Rivers

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma professor, Daniel Allen, is developing an intermittent river research coordination network of ecologists and hydrologists to better understand the half of the Earth’s rivers that dry or stop flowing each year. Allen and other participants will compile existing ecological and hydrological data from across the nation for the network with a four-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Read more

Stephenson Cancer Center Earns National Cancer Institute Designation

Daniel Hayden

NORMAN -National, state and local leaders joined the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma today to celebrate the center’s designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center. With this award, the Stephenson Cancer Center joins an elite group of 70 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide. Read more

OU Research Team Identifies Genetic Structure of Painted Bunting

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN –A University of Oklahoma researcher, Andrea Contina, and his team have identified the genetic structure of the Painted Bunting, a neotropical migratory songbird, using microsatellite DNA and single nucleotide polymorphisms to develop high-resolution markers to differentiate between individual birds breeding in different Oklahoma populations and across the United States. Through this research, Contina and his team now can differentiate between the eastern and western Painted Buntings and identify the species pattern of migration and population of origin. Read More

OU Institute Awarded Grant to Advance the Self, Virtue and Public Life Porject

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing is the recipient of a $3.9 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust to advance the “Self, Virtue and Public Life Project.” The grant will provide funding for new research projects, conferences, edited volumes and community outreach activities. The project is set to begin September 1, 2018, and conclude on August 31, 2021. Read More

OU Professor to Study New Possibilities in Quantum Networking

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN – A University of Oklahoma physics professor, Alberto Marino, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development Program) Award in the amount of $500,000 to study new possibilities for the use of spatial degree of freedom in applications ranging from long-distance quantum communications to quantum imaging. Read More

Eight OU Students, Alumni Receive Fulbright Awards

Face of Bizzell Library

NORMAN – Eight University of Oklahoma students and alumni were named Fulbright grant recipients, which are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, achievement and leadership potential. Read More

OU Meteorologists Studying Arctic Atmospheric Barriers

Daniel Hayden

NORMAN - A University of Oklahoma meteorology team, led by Steven Cavallo, is studying the role of tropopause polar vortices as a barrier in limiting predictability over the Arctic with three, five-year grants totaling $2.9 million from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research. TPVs occur in the upper troposphere of the Arctic, but the data doesn’t exist from this barren region to improve prediction. The OU team plans to conduct aircraft data-collection experiments during an international field campaign associated with the ‘Year of Polar Prediction.’ Read more

OU Student Receives Udall Scholarship

Daniel Hayden

NORMAN - University of Oklahoma honors student Daniel R. Hayden has been named a 2018 Udall Scholar. The Udall Foundation Scholarship recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate a commitment to careers related to the environment or to Native American public policy or health care. Hayden is one of 50 nationwide selected for the honor. Read more

OU Professor to Receive IEEE Satellite Communications Technical Contribution Award

Mohammed Atiquzzaman

Mohammed Atiquzzaman, is the recipient of the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Satellite Communications Technical Contribution Award for 2018. The annual award is given to an accomplished, senior-level researcher who has achieved outstanding results in satellite communications and recognizes excellent scientific contributions done by academia and industries. Atiquzzaman will receive the award at the IEEE International Conference on Communications in Kansas City, Missouri, May 20-24. Read more

OU Physicist Developing Quantum-Enhanced Sensors for Real-Life Applications

Albert Marino

A University of Oklahoma physicist, Alberto M. Marino, is developing quantum-enhanced sensors that could find their way into applications ranging from biomedical to chemical detection. In a new study, Marino’s team, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, demonstrates the ability of quantum states of light to enhance the sensitivities of state-of-the-art plasmonic sensors. The team presents the first implementation of a sensor with sensitivities considered state-of-the-art and shows how quantum-enhanced sensing can find its way into real-life applications. Read more

OU Class of 2018 Gift to Honor Borens

The Boren Green

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma Class of 2018 will celebrate their time at OU through a dedicated green space that will add to OU’s national reputation as one of America’s most beautiful campuses. Located along Lindsey Street in front of the newly completed Residential Colleges, this year’s class gift will fund a picturesque lawn named The Boren Green. Read more

OU Students Receive National Security Education Program Award for International Study

The Boren Awards

NORMAN – University of Oklahoma senior James Ratcliff and OU junior Libby Trowbridge recently were selected as recipients of the prestigious Boren Award for International Study, sponsored by the National Security Education Program. Thirty-four OU students have received the award since the program began in 1994. Read more

News Archives

2017  | 2016  | 2015  | 2014  |  2013  

2018


For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or publicaffairs@ou.edu.