Elizabeth Freeman, a four-year starter for Oklahoma Christian's women's golf team and the immediate past president of OC's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, was named Wednesday as the recipient of the prestigious Everett Dobson Award by the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame.
Freeman, from Edmond, is the award's first female recipient. The Dobson Award is a $5,000 cash award to help a collegiate golfer embark on a career after graduating from their university. Freeman is enrolled in law school at Oklahoma City University with a goal of becoming an advocate for children.
"I want to work on issues such as foster care, termination of parental rights and child support, in hopes of placing a child in the right direction for the best life possible," Freeman said in her application. "Ultimately, I want to use my legal education to be the voice for children who do not have someone to protect them and/or stand up for their rights and their life."
Lew Erickson, the chair of the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame's Awards Committee, said it's difficult to select winners for the annual Dobson Award.
"Being able to participate on the Everett Dobson Award Committee is a great honor, but it's not easy," Erickson said. "We have great nominations. Elizabeth's nomination stood out as she completed four years of golf at OC and started law school. While at OC she showed diligence, discipline and patience, while excelling at academics and athletics."
Freeman also impressed the selection committee with a heartfelt essay on what the game has meant to her and how her appreciation deepened for the game during a time her father, who introduced her to golf, suffered serious health issues.
Freeman was a fixture in the lineup for Oklahoma Christian the past four seasons, helping the team to eight tournament victories and, this past May, its first berth in the NCAA Division II Championship.
She had three top-10 and 14 top-20 individual finishes, was a three-time Women's Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar, earned the Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Award three times and made the Heartland Conference President's Honor Roll (3.5 GPA or higher) all eight semesters of her career.
Freeman graduated magna cum laude in April with a Bachelor of Science in History/Pre Law. In addition to her studies and golf, she was the president of the OC SAAC, a key advisory board for the university's athletic program that serves as the voice of OC's student-athletes.
She also was a leader in an on-campus social service club Theta Theta Theta and a member of Phi Alpha Theta, a national history honors society, in which she was selected to present a paper at a regional conference this year.
"I am so proud of Elizabeth," OC coach Greg Lynn said. "She always puts others first and still is always prepared to give her best at everything. She is so very deserving of this honor!"
Freeman will receive the honor at the 2019 Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame Induction Dinner Nov. 24 at Southern Hills Country Club. The 2019 class includes Melissa McNamara Luellen, Bill Glasson, Orville Moody, Jim Awtrey, and William Nichols. Tickets and more information are available at www.oklahomagolfhof.org.
"I am so grateful to win the award and to be the first female recipient," Freeman said. "It's so cool that Mr. Dobson gives this award and I don't know if he truly realizes just how much it means and will be a benefit."
The Everett Dobson Award is named for the Oklahoma City businessman, philanthropist and avid golfer and champion of the game who provided the initial impetus and funding to start the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame.
Dobson, who played his collegiate golf at Southwestern Oklahoma State and is a former president of the Oklahoma Golf Association, is the owner of Oak Tree National in Edmond, among other business and philanthropical interests.
Criteria for the award include that the recipient should exemplify strong citizenship, sportsmanship and character — attributes that the OGHOF believes are engendered by the game of golf. Golf accomplishment is considered, but it is not the sole or determining factor for the award.
The non-profit Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame was established in 2014 and merged with the previously established Women's Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. The Class of 2019 is its fourth induction class. Videos of each inductee, narrated by Jim Nantz of CBS Sports, are on the website. Tickets, sponsor tables and more information are also available at www.oklahomagolfhof.org.