The Edmond Hall of Fame banquet occurs every five years and has since its inception in 1981. The Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the banquet to honor individuals whose civic and professional contributions are exceptional.
To date, 74 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The formal presentations of the 2020 inductees will be at Edmond Chamber Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, Jan. 24, at the Edmond Conference Center.
The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are: Claudette Dills (posthumously), Ray Hibbard, Steve Murdock, Gov. George Nigh, and Avilla Williams.
The late Claudette Dills’ love for children was evident as the founding member of UR Special Ministries.
Dills worked diligently to see that at-risk Edmond children could be clothed. A lifelong seamstress, Dills’ love for children was evident before she died in April 2007.
“The parents are so appreciative, and the kids too,” Dill had said. “Their little faces just light up.
UR Special Ministries is a non-profit with the mission of fostering self-esteem by providing hand-sewn clothing to needy and at-risk children. What began with sewing dresses for 60 girls quickly grew to a registered non-profit organization serving hundreds of boys and girls in the community. Dills’ legacy of loving and caring for Edmond children has lived on long after her passing.
City Attorney Steve Murdock was honored with the distinction of 2014 Citizen of the Year at the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet. Murdock has been Edmond’s City Attorney since 1987.
“Edmond is a great place to grow,” Murdock said. “It’s been my privilege and benefit to serve the citizens of Edmond.”
He earned the Juris Doctorate from OU in 1982, followed by a legal career in Norman as assistant district attorney. He then returned to Edmond in 1986 to serve in municipal government, followed a year later by serving as city attorney.
As city attorney, Murdock has earned many recognitions, among which include the 2007 recipient of the Oklahoma Municipal League’s Don Rider Award and the City’s Excellence of Character Award. As a Rotarian, Murdock was honored with the George Mikesell and Rotarian of the Year awards.
Murdock has also as president of the Oklahoma Association of Municipal Attorneys, and also serves on the Board of Trinity Legal Clinic of Oklahoma, a faith-based non-profit legal clinic that provides legal services to those in poverty.
As a boy, George Nigh peddled his bike down shady McAlester roads to deliver groceries until he was old enough to drive. His determination down quaint boyhood paths would serve him well later in life when his delivery became one of leadership.
Oklahoma has been good to former Gov. George Nigh, he said. A Democrat, Nigh was Oklahoma’s governor from 1979-87, and he played a key role in Edmond for five years as president of the University of Central Oklahoma from 1992-1997.
“History will judge whether or not I was a good governor, but I feel personally that I was a good president,” Nigh said.
Nigh founded the Nigh Institute of State Government at UCO to give students the opportunity to learn about government in action from prominent speakers.
At an age when many people chose to retire, then 65-year-old Nigh initiated a $55 million construction project with new buildings, student housing, landscaping, and new heating and air-conditioning on campus.
Nigh’s UCO projects included major renovations and additions at the University Center, a new Education Building, expanded parking, improved handicap accessibility, additions and renovations to the Max Chambers Library, Mitchell Hall, Howell Hall, additions to the Business Building and the Math and Science Building.
In 1999, Nigh and his wife, Donna, created the George and Donna Nigh Public Service Scholarship to assist students preparing for careers in public service.
Avilla Williams was chosen to propel INTEGRIS Health Edmond into a successful future upon its opening in 2010.
“The most exciting thing is bringing back women’s services in Edmond so we can have babies born in Edmond and moms believing they need not leave the community to receive quality women’s care,” she said in 2010.
Williams has been on board to see the full-service hospital expand with economic growth that extends into the community.
Williams leads a team of more than 400 physicians, nurses, clinicians and other healthcare professionals in the delivery of patient care and community service. As an experienced leader and registered nurse, she provided oversight to the development of a new acute care hospital and medical office building on a 44-acre site in Edmond, giving citizens access to a state-of-the-art full- service community hospital.
Among many other accomplishments under Williams’ leadership, the INTEGRIS Arcadia Trails Center for Addiction Recovery, a 65,000-square-foot residential treatment facility located on the INTEGRIS Health Edmond campus, opened in May 2019. Williams’ long-term goal for INTEGRIS Health Edmond is to build a medical campus that meets the needs of the community.
Longtime newspaper veteran Ray Hibbard is among Edmond’s 2020 Hall of Fame inductees. Hibbard has been the publisher of Edmond Life and Leisure for nearly 20 years and currently serves as the chairman of the board for Citizens Bank of Edmond.
Hibbard has a long list of community involvement including the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Edmond Rotary Club, Downtown Edmond Business Association, Leadership Edmond Class XII, Edmond Arts and Humanity Board of Directors, City of Edmond Capital Improvements Board and the INTEGRIS Health Edmond Board. Hibbard was named Edmond Citizen of the Year in 2004.
“Edmond is fortunate to have citizens who go above and beyond for the community. Choosing inductees was a difficult task for our selection committee,” said Edmond Chamber President and CEO Sherry Jordan.
For Edmond Hall of Fame banquet tickets or for additional information, visit www.edmondchamber.com/events or contact Savannah Whitehead at 405-341-2808. Reservations are required by Friday, Jan. 17.