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Distiguished Alumni - 2016

Benton Clark

Benton C. Clark is chief scientist, flight systems, at Lockheed Martin Astronautics. He received his B.S. in astrophysics from the University of Oklahoma in 1959 and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Columbia University in 1968. He conceived and developed the x-ray fluorescence spectrometers used for geochemical analyses of Martian soil samples onboard the Viking landers. He was Co-I for the development of the light flash detector and sunshade for the Particle Impact Analyzer experiment, flown successfully on the Giotto Mission, studying comet Halley. He introduced the concept of key roles for cometary particulates and the formation of comet ponds as an enabling step for the abiotic origin of life.

He chairs the External Advisory Committee for the NASA Center for Research and Training in Exobiology at the University of California San Diego and the Salk Institute. He received the NASA Public Service Medal, Wright Brothers Award, Air Force Service Medal, and was selected as Inventor of the Year and Author of the Year for Martin Marietta Corporation.

Stacey Dales

Stacey Dales serves as a studio host and reporter for NFL Media Programming. She joined the NFL Network in fall 2009 as a host and reporter and was seen regularly this season filing reports on “Around the League,” “NFL Total Access” and “NFL GameDay Morning.”

Prior to the NFL Network, Dales spent seven years as an analyst and reporter for ESPN and ABC, where she covered NCAA football, men’s and women’s basketball and the NBA. Dales also contributed columns and written features on NCAA women’s basketball for From 2003 to 2009, Dales served as an NCAA women’s basketball analyst for CBS Westwood One radio, the Sooner Sports Network, and CBS’ NCAA women’s basketball championship special.

As a two-time Kodak First-Team All-American and four-year letter winner at OU, Dales is the first player in Oklahoma women’s basketball history to record 1,700 points, 600 rebounds, and 700 assists. Following her college basketball career, Dales was the third overall pick by the Washington Mystics in the 2002 WNBA draft. She went on to play seven seasons in the WNBA and was a member of the Canadian Olympic Basketball Team of 2000.

A native of Ontario, Canada, Dales also is involved heavily in various community outreach programs such as Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society of the United States and the Laura Bush Foundation for American’s Libraries.

N. Bird Runningwater

N. Bird Runningwater was born of the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache peoples. Runningwater was raised on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico before attending OU, where he was the first graduate in the college’s in Native American Studies program. He also received a degree in journalism and mass communication at that time. Runningwater went on to earn his master’s in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin. He oversaw the Native Lab at the Sundance Institute, which launched projects such as “Four Sheets to the Wind” written and directed by OU’s Sterlin Harjo; and “Drunktown’s Finest,” produced by Oklahoma’s Chad Burris. Runningwater now is the director of the Native American and Indigenous Program at Sundance.

Before joining the Sundance Institute, Runningwater served as executive director of the Fund for Four Directions, the private philanthropy organization established by Ann Rockefeller Roberts. He also served as program associate in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture Program, where he built and managed domestic and global funding initiatives. Runningwater also is a patron to the imagiNATIVE Indigenous Film Festival in Toronto.

David Goodspeed

David Goodspeed, ’94 BA Law Enforcement Administration, is the assistant vice president for Digital Innovation at OU. In addition to leading both the OU IT Store and the One University Store and Technology Playground, Goodspeed also plays a key role in the campus digital initiative, which focuses on technology and innovation to enhance the student experience and lower the cost of education.

Goodspeed came to OU in 2008 to open the first campus technology store. He left briefly in 2011 to work for Apple in its higher education division, engaging more than 115 colleges and universities in 16 states to further the integration of technology and education.

Truly Sooner born and Sooner bred, Goodspeed prides himself on his passion for OU and his family history on campus. His grandmother and both his parents are Sooner alums. His father was an acclaimed trumpet player in the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band, and his mother graduated from the OU School of Music. Additionally, his wife, uncle and sister are also OU graduates. His son currently is a student, and part of the RUF/NEK group. His middle school daughter will be the next Sooner in the family as a freshman in 2020.

Goodspeed serves on the Norman Public Schools Foundation Board and is highly involved on the OU campus. He is always contributing in-kind gift items for all CAS staff, faculty and student celebrations, not to mention all the work he and his team have done to showcase CAS at One U. From iPad textbooks to building the digital sandbox, he always thinks about how he can enhance the education of our students in the college through technology.

Elizabeth Frame Ellison

Elizabeth Ellison is the CEO of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation. She is a life-long Oklahoman and graduated from OU with a bachelor’s degree in political science before earning her Juris Doctorate from the OU College of Law. While at OU, Ellison was the inaugural recipient of the David L. Boren Commitment to Service Award and a recipient of the Bass Memorial Scholarship, given to students demonstrating a promising career in public service.

Prior to law school, Ellison worked as a legislative assistant for Congressman Dan Boren in Washington, D.C., handling a variety of domestic issues, including education, healthcare and small businesses. At the OU College of Law, she was class president and was chosen to deliver the commencement address for the 2009 graduation.

In 2013, Ellison was elected to serve as a member of the school board for Tulsa Technology Center, the oldest and largest technical school in the state. She is the board clerk there and chairs the ad hoc strategic planning committee.

Ellison serves on the nonprofit boards of the Tulsa Area United Way, Global Gardens and the University of Tulsa Law School Dean’s Advisory Board. She also works on i2E, a nationally recognized, private, not-for-profit corporation focused on growing innovative small businesses in Oklahoma and making a positive impact on the state’s economy.