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Distinguished Alumni - 2008

Julianna Brannum

Brannum graduated from OU in 1999 with a bachelor of arts degree in news communication and is a member of the Quahada band of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. She has spent the past eight years working as a film programmer for AFI FEST, the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent. In 2007, Brannum was selected as a Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Fellow and has been awarded grants from the Sundance Institute’s Native Initiative, National Geographic, Independent Television Service and Sundance Documentary Fund for her latest documentary, LaDonna Harris: Indian 101, about LaDonna Harris, a Comanche activist who has been a champion for Native American causes since the 1960s.

Her current project, We Shall Remain, is a ground-breaking PBS prime-time series that will be the first historical documentary in American history told completely from a native point of view.

Cheri Cartwright

Cartwright is a 1978 graduate from OU with a bachelor of arts degree in English. She received her Juris Doctorate in 1981 from the OU College of Law. She currently serves as executive director of the Sarkeys Foundation in Norman, Okla., where she has been employed since 1979. She also is an adjunct professor at the university, where she helped the college develop the nonprofit leadership minor and teaches courses in nonprofit management.

Keith Jackson

Jackson earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from OU in 1987. He played football at OU from 1985 to 1987, and in 1988, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He continued his career in professional football for nine years, earning a Super Bowl championship as a tight end with the Green Bay Packers in 1997.

In 1992 Jackson incorporated Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids in his hometown of Little Rock, Ark.P.A.R.K. is a nonprofit agency that serves junior and senior high school students who appear to be at risk of dropping out of school and/or succumbing to the pressures of drugs, alcohol, sex and/or gangs. It provides tutoring, recreation, summer programs, and community service. Jackson serves as the president of the board.

John Wiens

Wiens earned his bachelor of science degree in zoology from OU in 1961, then went on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison before serving as a member of the faculty at Oregon State University, the University of New Mexico and Colorado State University. His research in landscape ecology and the ecology of birds and insects in arid environments has led to more than 200 scientific papers and seven books.

In 2002, Wiens joined The Nature Conservancy as a lead scientist. There, his work addresses the critical issue of conservation in a changing world. This involves assessing how areas may change with predicted climate changes and how to manage usage practices to help adjust to the changes. Wiens also is leading a project to evaluate how land uses can affect the value of protected areas and landscapes for the safeguarding of the biodiversity of those areas. In addition to working on the challenges of climate change, he works with federal agencies and multinational institutions to help catalog, coordinate and lead scientific collaborations outside of the conservancy.

Dan Evatt

Evatt is being recognized for his service to the College of Arts and Sciences. A native of Norman, Okla., he received his bachelor of arts degree in history from the OU in 1974. In addition to working with OU’s Center for Student Development from 1975 to 1977, he has been in the employ of AT&T and its successors, and ran the team that provided all telecommunication services for the 1984 Republican National Convention. Currently, Evatt owns Corporate Performance Group, a consulting firm in Tulsa that specializes in helping privately owned businesses grow their existing business or to buy/sell businesses. Evatt is being recognized for his leadership of the college’s Board of Visitors over the past three years, during which more than $2 million in scholarships was raised for students in the college.