The Edmond Sun

November 21, 2012

Oklahoma Hall of Fame inducts 2012 honorees


Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — Seven Oklahomans were inducted into the 85th class of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Nov. 15 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel & Convention Center in Tulsa. These accomplished Oklahomans joined the cast of 648 individuals who have been inducted into the Hall since 1928.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor Oklahomans can receive for their contributions to our state,” said Shannon L. Rich, president of the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum.

The 2012 Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductees are: Stan Clark, Stillwater; Bart Conner, Norman; Tom L. Ward, Edmond; Suzanne Warren, Tulsa; Lee R. West, Edmond; and Ronald H. White, Oklahoma City. Edith Kinney Gaylord, Oklahoma City, was inducted posthumously. Each nominee personally selected a family member, friend or colleague to formally present him or her at the banquet & induction ceremony.

Ward, born in Shattuck, has served as chairman and chief executive officer of SandRidge Energy Inc. since June 2006. Prior to this he served as president, chief operating officer, and a director of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, he co-founded with Aubrey K. McClendon.

In 2006, Ward and his son, Trent, co-founded White Fields Inc., a home for severely abused and neglected boys. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in petroleum land management. Ward is a member of the Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Thunder, Oklahoma’s only major sports franchise, of the Board of Trustees of Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., and The First Tee. He is also a member of the Economic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and the Board of Visitors for the OU Health Sciences Center, Department of Medicine.

Ward has provided scholarship funds to Oklahoma colleges and universities to increase students access to higher education and encourage them to remain in Oklahoma to live and work after they have completed their degree.

Hance Dilbeck, senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church, presented the award to Ward.

Lee R. West, another Edmond resident, also was inducted. Born in Clayton, West received his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. West was admitted to the Oklahoma State Bar in 1956 and engaged in private practice until 1961 when he became a member of the faculty at the University of Oklahoma College of Law where he taught torts, damages, evidence, trial practice and workmen’s compensation.

During the 1962-1963 term he was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Law Teaching at Harvard Law School where he received an LLM degree. In 1963 he returned to private practice and also served as Labor Arbitrator for the National Mediation Board. West was appointed by Gov. Henry Bellmon to serve as District Judge for the 22nd Judicial District of Oklahoma, serving also as Special Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals. He was appointed by President Richard Nixon to be a member of the Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington, D.C., and was designated acting chairman by President Jimmy Carter. West re-entered private practice until his appointment to the federal bench where he also served as Chief Judge of the Western District of Oklahoma. Since taking senior status in 1994 he has remained active hearing cases at both District and Circuit levels and serving as a settlement judge in complex and protracted cases.

David L. Russell, a U.S. District Judge for 30 years and two-time U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, presented the award to West.

The Oklahoma Heritage Association was founded in 1927 with the purpose of establishing the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and the high-tech, interactive Gaylord-Pickens Museum was opened in 2007 with the intent of honoring these and other accomplished Oklahomans.

“The recognition of our state’s greatest asset — our people — is the foundation upon which our organization was created. Each of the Oklahoma Heritage Association’s programs and the exhibits in the Gaylord-Pickens Museum fulfill that mission,” Rich said.

Along with being honored at the formal induction ceremony, the 2012 inductees have been recognized with the addition of their portraits to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. In addition to the other 648 members of the Hall, their biographies, photos and fun facts can now be accessed through touch screen computers in the gallery.

For consideration to be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, individuals must be nominated. Anyone can make a nomination, and honorees can be either living or deceased. To be eligible for nomination, the individual must reside in Oklahoma or be a former resident of the state; have performed outstanding service to humanity, the state of Oklahoma and the United States; and be known for his or her public service throughout the state. Nomination forms for 2013 are due to the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum on March 1 and can be downloaded from www.oklahomaheritage.com.

For more information, contact Millie Craddick, executive administrator of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, at 523-3203 or mc@oklahomaheritage.com. For information about the Oklahoma Heritage Association or Gaylord-Pickens Museum, visit www.oklahomaheritage.com or call 235-4458.