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OU Names Department of Mathematics in Honor of Transformational Gift

OU Names Department of Mathematics in Honor of Transformational Gift

June 22, 2022

The University of Oklahoma will receive an extraordinary estate gift from longtime supporters David and Judi Proctor that will ensure OU’s excellence continues to be affordable, attainable and accessible for students from all backgrounds.

The Proctors’ gift includes a $7 million irrevocable contribution to the Department of Mathematics in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences. In appreciation of this gift and its potential to transform STEM education university-wide, the OU Board of Regents has approved the naming of the department to the David and Judi Proctor Department of Mathematics.

“This transformational gift from David and Judi Proctor ensures that students who have the ability to succeed at the University of Oklahoma also have the opportunity,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “The Proctors’ generous past and commitment to OU’s future are a testament to their belief that an OU education can have a life-changing impact. David Proctor overcame many challenges to earn an undergraduate degree in mathematics at OU – gaining the fortitude and expertise that would one day be put into action when he used his skills to help bring three Apollo 13 crew members safely back to Earth after a mission failure. It is a privilege to have OU’s math department named in honor of David and Judi’s extraordinary dedication and achievements.” 

David Proctor rose from humble beginnings in Seminole, Oklahoma. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from OU, he pursued graduate studies at Stanford University. He went on to have an outstanding career in aerospace and computer industries, including serving in a number of executive positions at IBM. He coded the lunar descent maneuvers for the Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 missions, and he and his team earned the Presidents Medal of Freedom for ensuring the safe return of the Apollo 13 astronauts. Judi Proctor also had a successful marketing career at IBM and shares David’s passion for OU. 

In addition to the naming gift, two new endowments will be created in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences and the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts that will bridge the funding gap for students who receive Oklahoma’s Promise tuition assistance. While Oklahoma’s Promise allows qualifying students to earn free college tuition, many are unable to cover costs for fees, books, supplies, housing or other needs not covered by the program. The magnitude of annual endowment distributions from the Proctors’ new scholarships will fully cover these expenses for students in both the Dodge Family and Weitzenhoffer Family colleges.

The Proctors’ donation will also significantly increase existing scholarship endowments in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences and the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, which were created in memory of their sons, David Michael Proctor and Matthew David Proctor, both of whom died tragically as young adults. 

“David and Judi Proctor’s generous and heartfelt support has transformed the lives of our students, providing them with expanded opportunities for success,” said David Wrobel, dean of the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences. “They have enabled students to both succeed at OU without accumulating financial debt and to benefit from an expanded array of educational opportunities, including study abroad, that they might otherwise miss out on. David and Judi have also served as role models for these fortunate students and as deeply dedicated friends.

“The major expansion of David and Judi’s scholarship support program will transform more lives for generations to come,” Wrobel added. “In addition, their naming gift for the Department of Mathematics, a department that is a vital component of the education of every OU undergraduate, will ensure heightened excellence in undergraduate and graduate education and in faculty teaching and research. The Proctors’ love for OU has made and will continue to make a profound difference in the lives of our students. We are grateful beyond words.”

While the Proctors, as pioneers in mathematics, have strong ties to the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences, their son Matthew’s involvement in the arts is what gives them a deep connection to fine arts. The memorial scholarship in his name benefits fine arts students from the Weitzenhoffer Family College who share the same passion for artistic expression.

“Clearly, David and Judi Proctor recognize how invaluable the fine arts are to our society at large,” said Mary Margaret Holt, dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts. “Their support comes at a time when it is crucial in providing opportunities for students in the visual arts to pursue their goals and, in doing so, enrich that society. Supporting our students through scholarships empowers the next generation of artists as they contribute to the flourishing of the arts in our society. We are honored to join in celebrating their son’s life by stewarding this gift that will give generations of students the chance to fulfill their intellectual and artistic passions.”

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit