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4 OU Law Alumni Inducted into Hall of Fame

4 OU Law Alumni Inducted into Hall of Fame

Last night the University of Oklahoma College of Law honored four distinguished alumni at its annual Order of the Owl Hall of Fame ceremony.


The Order of the Owl recognizes OU Law graduates who demonstrate leadership and service through outstanding accomplishments in their legal careers. 

Class of 2016:

  • Lawton businessman and entrepreneur Bill W. Burgess Jr., whose public service to higher education spans two decades
  • The Honorable Tom Colbert, the first African-American to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court and to be sworn in as Vice Chief Justice and Chief Justice, and the first African-American to be appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals
  • Jim Gallogly, an industry leader who transformed companies experiencing challenges into successful international businesses
  • The Honorable Noma D. Gurich, a leader in the legal profession and only the third woman in history to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court

“Each of this year’s inductees have brought great honor to OU Law through their careers of service to others,” said OU College of Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. “We are privileged to recognize their achievements and thank them for the example they have set for generations of OU Law students.” 

For more than 20 years, Bill W. Burgess Jr. (’80) has invested time and energy to address the needs of Oklahoma higher education, serving first as a State Regent for Oklahoma Higher Education for 18 years and currently serving a seven-year term as an OU Regent. Burgess is chairman of the board of the investment corporation Vortex; owner and publisher of The Lawton Constitution; and senior partner of Burgess and Hightower Law Firm. As chairman and principal owner of Techrizon, Burgess developed the enterprise into the largest Oklahoma software engineering company.

A pioneer in the legal profession, The Honorable Tom Colbert (’82) became the first African-American appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, where he served as Chief Judge prior to serving on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He served several years in the U.S. Army and taught in the public school system in Chicago prior to attending the OU College of Law. He also has served as assistant dean at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County.

Jim Gallogly (’77) had a highly successful career in oil and gas, holding many executive positions with Phillips, Chevron Phillips Chemical and ConocoPhillips before being named Chief Executive Officer of LyondellBassell Industries. He led the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, transforming it into what is now one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. Since his retirement from LyondellBassell, Gallogly has served on the Board of Directors at DuPont, where he provides leadership  in corporate governance and strategic planning, and on a number of other charity boards.

A leader in the legal profession for more than 30 years, The Honorable Noma D. Gurich (’78) is only the third woman in history to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, being appointed in 2011. After spending 10 years as a litigator, Gurich was appointed to the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court where she served as a judge for 10 years, including four as Presiding Judge. Later, she was appointed and elected to serve as a District Judge in Oklahoma County, where she served for 12 and a half years, including two as Presiding Judge.

The Order of the Owl has previously inducted 16 OU Law alumni: The Honorable Thomas R. Brett, The Honorable Michael Burrage, The Honorable Robin J. Cauthron, Dean Emeritus Andrew M. Coats, James T. Comfort, William T. Comfort Jr., Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, William G. Paul, W. DeVier Pierson, J. Hugh Roff Jr., William J. Ross, The Honorable Kathy Taylor, The Honorable Ralph Thompson, The Honorable Lee West, Reggie Whitten and The Honorable Alma Bell Wilson.

Founded in 1909, the OU College of Law is Oklahoma’s only public law school offering small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community, accomplished faculty with international expertise and a state-of-the-art facility featuring multimedia study rooms, courtrooms and classrooms equipped with the latest technology. The OU College of Law is the academic home of more than 500 students enrolled in the juris doctor program, the John B. Turner Master of Laws Program, the master of legal studies program and various dual degree programs. For more information about OU Law, visit 

Members of the OU College of Law’s Order of the Owl Class of 2016 pose for a photo with Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. Pictured left to right are OU Regent Bill W. Burgess Jr., The Honorable Tom Colbert, Dean Joseph Harroz Jr., The Honorable Noma D. Gurich and Mr. Jim Gallogly.