OSU finance alumnus inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame

by Spears School News Staff 
(November 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm)

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor Oklahomans can receive for their contributions to our state,” Rich said.

Country music singer and guitarist Ty England was also honored Thursday, as the 2010 Ambassador of Goodwill.

Kristin Chenoweth

Chenoweth is a Broken Arrow native and Oklahoma City University graduate who is known for her performances on stage, television and film.

She won a Tony Award in 1999 for her role as Sally in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” Chenoweth was later nominated again for her performance as Glinda in “Wicked.”

In addition to those and other performances on Broadway, Chenoweth has appeared in a variety of television shows and films, including the TV series “Pushing Daisies.” Chenoweth earned an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in that show.

Chenoweth supports a number of charitable organizations and campaigns, including a national animal organization called Maddie’s Corner. Her autobiography, “A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love and Faith,” was a New York Times Best-Seller.

Chenoweth started her acting career as a rabbit in a kindergarten production. Chenoweth said she doesn’t remember the performance, but her mom said she stole the show. The next year, Chenoweth landed the part of a mean teacher. The role was intended for another student, but Chenoweth told the directors she could do it better.

Chenoweth said her induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame means as much to her family as it does to her.

“It’s the biggest honor I’ve ever received because it represents my home, my family, my upbringing, my roots — things that I always want to get back to whenever I can,” Chenoweth said. “It’s a gift to get to be back home to receive this.”

Robert A. Hefner III

Hefner is founder and owner of The GHK Company, an oil and natural gas firm in Oklahoma City. He started the company in 1959, two years after graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in geology.

Hefner has spoken to members of Congress, presidents and world leaders about energy policy. His company is known for pioneering natural gas exploration in western Oklahoma. Hefner helped to found OU’s Energy Center. He serves on a number of state and international organizations, including the American Clean Skies Foundation.

Hefner and his wife, MeiLi, established a program called the Hefner Initiative, which funds trips to China for Oklahoma students and works to develop positive relations with China.

Hefner and his wife have three children, seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Hefner’s father, Robert Hefner Jr., and grandfather, Judge Robert Hefner, are also members of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

“It makes it very, very special for me to follow in their footsteps,” Hefner said. “It’s a profound honor and responsibility. I think it just increases the responsibility for stepping up to the state and helping the state grow and move forward.”

Edward F. Keller

Keller is the nonexecutive chairman of Summit Bank of Tulsa and a member of Mutual of Omaha Bank Holding Corporation’s board of directors.

He was born in Nowata and raised in Dewey. Keller played baseball for Oklahoma State University, where he earned a degree in finance.

During his earlier career, Keller worked at banks in Bartlesville, Blackwell and Claremore. In 1978, he became executive vice president of First Oklahoma Bancorporation. Keller has also been chairman and CEO of Bank IV, BankOne Oklahoma and J.P. Morgan Chase Oklahoma.

Keller is a member of the board for the St. Francis Health System. He has chaired a number of organizations, including the Oklahoma Bankers Association, the Oklahoma State University Regents and the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce. Keller was also chairman of the OSU-Tulsa Board of Trustees after he helped to bring the public-supported research university to Tulsa.

Keller and his wife, Marilyn, have four children and seven grandchildren. Keller said his induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame was a recognition of what he has been able to do with the help of many others.

“I’ve always thought that individual honors were really made upon the shoulders of others,” Keller said. “I come to this knowing full well that while I may be recognized, another hundred, perhaps thousands of people, made all this possible.”

Judy Love

Love and her husband, Tom, started Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores in 1964. Love worked for the company full-time for 11 years before she returned to school to study interior design. She is secretary of the corporation and chairwoman of Love’s Family Foundation.

Love graduated from Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City. The school has a theater award in her name and a gymnasium in her father’s name.

Love serves on a number of boards, including boards for the St. Anthony’s Foundation, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. She has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Woman Award from Oklahoma City University and the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Oklahoma City Chapter of the National Fundraising Professionals, among other honors.

Love and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren. Tom Love, who is also a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, presented his wife for induction during Thursday’s ceremony.

“Tom and I both feel the whole thing is a wonderful tribute to the family and something that hopefully the children and grandchildren will be very proud of,” Judy Love said.

Michael C. Turpen

Turpen is a Tulsa native and University of Tulsa graduate with a decorated legal career. He is a partner in the law firm Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison and Lewis, and a former Oklahoma attorney general.

In 1975, the Oklahoma Bar Association selected Turpen as Oklahoma’s Outstanding Young Lawyer. Ten years later, Turpen argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as district attorney for Muskogee County from 1977 to 1982.

Former President Bill Clinton appointed Turpen to serve on the Kennedy Center Board in Washington, D.C. In 2009, Gov. Brad Henry appointed Turpen to serve on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Turpen is president of the Lyric Theatre and a member of the boards of Allied Arts, the Oklahoma State Fair, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

He is married to wife, Susan, and has three children. Turpen said his daughter, Sarah, was proud of him, but she attended Thursday’s ceremony to see Chenoweth. Turpen was excited to share the celebration with friends and family.

“It’s one of the highest honors in my life because I get to share it with my mother, my wife, my family and my friends,” Turpen said.

Lew O. Ward III

Ward, an oil and gas producer from Enid, is chairman of Ward Petroleum Corp. He was born in Oklahoma City.

Ward’s father worked as a driller, pusher and drilling superintendent. When Ward was old enough, he started working as a roustabout and roughneck during summers.

Ward graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1953 with a degree in petroleum engineering. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War. After his military tour, Ward started working for Delhi-Taylor Oil Corporation in Tulsa.

In 1956, Ward and his wife, Myra, moved to Enid, where Ward and his father-in-law formed Ward-Gungoll Oil Investments. In 1963, Ward founded what became known as the Ward Petroleum Corporation. He has founded several other companies.

Ward is a former president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, among other organizations. He serves on several boards, and received the Oklahoma Military Academy Distinguished Alumnus Award, among other honors.

“I feel like it’s an awesome responsibility,” Ward said. “The situation in Oklahoma has been one of progress, and we’re building on that progress.”

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