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Five Outstanding Individuals to Receive Honorary Degrees at OU Commencement May 9

Five Outstanding Individuals to Receive Honorary Degrees at OU Commencement May 9

NORMAN – Four outstanding individuals will join University of Oklahoma Commencement speaker Wendy Kopp, CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All, and Founder and Chair of Teach For America, in being awarded honorary degrees at OU’s 2014 Commencement Ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, at The Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, 180 W. Brooks St.

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

  • Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, who has established goals of economic development and self-sufficiency for the Chickasaw Nation and its people and committed to meeting the needs of Oklahomans through healthcare initiatives and programs;
  • Gary A. England, who as Oklahoma’s top-rated television meteorologist, is credited with saving countless lives and property with measured reporting during severe storms in Oklahoma for more than four decades;
  • Jesus E. Medina, M.D, a pioneer in the field of otolaryngology and a leader in establishing the head and neck cancer program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center;
  • and Bill D. Saxon, a leader in the oil and gas industry, who has provided leadership to advance the arts and culture of Oklahoma through two major museums – the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

“The university is proud to honor these outstanding individuals who have made a great contribution to the university, state and nation,” said OU President David L. Boren.

As the 30th governor the Chickasaw Nation, Anoatubby has led the Chickasaw Nation through an economic transformation over the last 27 years. Under his leadership, the Chickasaw Nation became one of the first tribal governments in the United States to be certified with a superior rating for management and fiscal controls.

Anoatubby began work for the Chickasaw Nation in 1975 as its health services director and ultimately was elected as the tribe’s first lieutenant governor. In 1987, he was elected governor, and he has been re-elected six times. Anoatubby has established goals of economic development and self-sufficiency for the Chickasaw Nation and its people, and funding for tribal operations has grown exponentially. The tribe now employs more than 13,000 people for more than 200 tribal programs and services, and more than 100 tribal businesses.

Under his leadership, the Chickasaw Nation established the Chickasaw Nation Native American Law Chair at the OU College of Law, the first endowed chair of its kind in the country to attract and retain the most outstanding national scholars in Native American law. Committed to the health care of all Oklahomans, Anoatubby serves on the board of advisors for Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, providing resources and vision to find a cure for diabetes.

He also helped establish the Oklahoma American Indian Cancer Support Program, which provides services at the Stephenson Cancer Center for the state’s Native American population and ensures access to the highest level of cancer treatment and service for Native Americans in Oklahoma.

Anoatubby serves on numerous boards of directors, including the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Heritage Association and the National Museum of the American Indian. He is a member of the National Congress of American Indians and the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2013.

As a television meteorologist for 41 years, England has been the voice of public safety during more than 2,000 tornadoes, making him a living legend in Oklahoma. Born in Seiling, Okla., England started tracking storms from a tiny attic office with a primitive radar repurposed from the nose of an airplane. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and meteorology from OU in 1965, England would go on to become chief meteorologist for KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City.

Named “The Weather God of Oklahoma City” by the New York Times, England is internationally noted for pioneering innovations in weather technology and systems that are now common tools in the world of severe weather coverage, including first acquisition and application of commercial Doppler radar, the storm time of arrival warning system, corner screen warning maps and cellular still picture/video transmission. With the firm Enterprise Electronics, he implemented the world’s first commercial Doppler weather radar, in 1981 becoming the first person in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public.

England is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including three Emmys and the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Heartland Division. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2013. He also received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for best in the nation in breaking weather coverage in all large markets.

England is the author of four books and has appeared in more than 60 national and international severe weather programs. He recently assumed a new role at KWTV-9 as the vice president for corporate relations and weather development at Griffin Communications.

Internationally noted for his pioneering treatments of ear, nose and throat cancer, Dr. Medina has been honored for his academic and medical excellence. Through his efforts, the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at OU Medicine is widely known as one of the best in the nation.

Medina, originally from Peru, came to Oklahoma City in 1984 from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to develop a head and neck cancer surgery program at the OU College of Medicine. He became chairman of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology in 1991 and held the Paul and Ruth Jonas Chair in Cancer Treatment and Research until December 2009. He currently is a professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology.

An active scholar, Medina has lectured extensively throughout the United States and in 28 other countries. He has authored two textbooks and numerous scientific publications and book chapters on a variety of topics in head and neck oncology.

Medina is a member of numerous honorary societies, and has served as president of the American Head and Neck Society, the largest scientific organization of head and neck surgeons in the world; the Triological Society, the leading academic society in the specialty of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery; and was selected as director – and subsequently president – of the American Board of Otolaryngology.

He is the recipient of numerous institutional and national awards, including the OU Dean’s Award for Distinguished Medical Service, the Otis Sullivant Award at OU, the Honor and the Distinguished Service Awards from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, an American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology Award, and several Presidential Citations from the American Head and Neck Society and the Triological Society.

Saxon is the founder of Saxon Oil Co., an independent oil and gas company engaged in the acquisition, development and production of oil and natural gas reserves. He served as Chairman of the Board for more than 50 years.

At OU, he has advanced the arts and culture of Oklahoma through his support of OU’s two major museums – the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art – enjoyed annually by thousands of Oklahomans. At the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, he created the Wylodean Saxon Memorial Lecture Series in honor of his late wife and to bring distinguished artists, collectors and authors to the state to share their expertise with Oklahomans. This lecture series is a reflection of his late wife’s passion for art and art history and her leadership as a member of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Board of Visitors.

A recipient of the Regents’ Alumni Award, he has helped build and maintain the cornerstones of OU, providing support to the Boyd House Renovation, OU Centennial Arches and the Energy Center. He has given his time and provided guidance and leadership to the many OU boards and organizations for which he has served throughout the years, including the Reach for Excellence Campaign, Centennial Committee, Energy Center Advisory Board, Sam Noble Museum Campaign Council and the Price College of Business Alumni Council and Alumni Board as well as OU’s scholarship campaign. He is a life member of the President’s Associates and Alumni Association, and has been inducted into OU’s Seed Sower Society, which honors those whose total support of OU is $1 million or more. Saxon received his bachelor’s degree from OU in business administration and petroleum management in 1951.

Further information on Commencement and a complete schedule of college convocations are available on the university’s Commencement website at

For additional information on Commencement, please contact the Graduation Office at (405) 325-0841 or