A few weeks ago, the OU Alumni Association received an email from a soldier serving in Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Kleinsorge told us that there were entirely too many Texas fans (meaning more than zero) where he is stationed and asked if we wouldn’t mind sending him and his fellow Sooners some OU gear that would boost morale and maybe bug the Texas fans a little. Of course we are always willing to support our troops, and ruffling the feathers of a few Longhorns is just the icing on the cake. The care package included t-shirts, sunglasses, dog tags, a pennant and a few other OU items.
The brave soldiers featured in this picture are (left to right) Staff Sergeant Labryant Venson, Staff Sergeant Michael Kleinsorge and First Lieutenant Samuel Vaughn. Even though these soldiers never attended OU, they are still connected to the university and are devoted Sooners at heart. SSG Kleinsorge’s wife is an OU alumna, who received her master’s in social work. First Lieutenant Vaughn’s father received a bachelor’s degree in nursing and SSG Venson is the nephew of one of OU’s favorite quarterbacks- JC Watts.
We are extremely grateful to these men and the other service men and women of the US Armed Forces who are overseas fighting for our country and we hope that the care package provided them a little comfort and a touch of home.
Live on, University and live on, America!
I’m sure you’ve noticed, and probably agree, that OU has the coolest telephone booths. The distinctive red boxes are a campus favorite and we’ve all at least thought about going into the them to pretend to phone the Queen and ask her (in a British accent, of course) if she’d like a “spot of tea”.
The six phone booths were brought here by President David Boren not just for the beautification of our campus but for the convenience and safety of our students as well. The idea of the phone booths came from the President’s time spent in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
We hope that these unique telephone boxes are serving another purpose, too. As the twelve athletes and the seven staff members with OU ties, who are currently in London, see the signature British phone booths, we hope they are warmly reminded of Norman and know that everyone back at home is supporting them and sending them positive thoughts.
Five Sooners are running, jumping and throwing in various Track and Field events. Brittany Borman (Javelin) and Tia Brooks (shot put) are representing the United States. Three Sooners are representing their native countries: Latoya Greaves (100-Hurdles) of Jamaica, Kerri-Ann Mitchell (100 meters) of Canada and Laverne Jones- Ferrette (100 & 200 meters) of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Freestyle Wrestlers Sam Hazewinkel, competing in the 55kg, and Jared Frayer, in the 66 kg, are pinning down the competition for the United States.
Jonathan Horton, Jake Dalton and alternates, Chris Brooks, Steven Legendre and Alex Naddour, flipped their way to glory for the US Men’s Gymnastics team.
Helping athletes achieve their goals are the Sooner Olympic staff members: Brian Blutreich (Team USA-Track & Field Personal Coach), Dr. Robert Hines (Team USA-Wrestling Team Doctor), Michael Lightner (Team USA-Wrestling Personal Coach), Tom Meadows (Team USA-Men’s Gymnastics Assistant), Bo Overton (Team China-Women’s Basketball Assistant), Mark Williams (Team USA-Men’s Gymnastics Personal Coach) and Keith Williams (Team USA-Women’s Wrestling Assistant).
The OU Alumni Office is ecstatic about all the Sooners participating in the Olympics. Talk about Sooner domination!
Live on, University!
Just when you think the University of Oklahoma couldn’t get any more awesome, five Sooners are in London right now to compete on the Men’s USA Olympic gymnastics team. We are so very proud of our boys!
Jon Horton, OU letter winner from Houston, attended OU from 2005 to 2008. London will mark Jon’s second Olympic appearance. During his time at OU, he was the 2008 Nissen Emery Award winner and a six-time NCAA individual champion.
Jake Dalton is currently a junior at OU via Reno, Nevada. ”I think it’s very special for our program,” Dalton said. “It says a lot about what we have accomplished here, thanks to amazing coaches, facilities and all the support. I am very honored to go over there (London) and represent Team USA and OU. It’s pretty amazing for all of us to be going. It’s going to be fun.”
Chris Brooks, a native of Houston, Texas, who attended OU from 2006 to 2009, is making his first Olympic appearance as an alternate. Brooks is an accomplished gymnast. When he competed for OU, his team won the 2006 and 2008 national titles and he was a seven-time All-American as well.
Steven Legendre, from Port Jefferson, New York, is another alternate and first-timer to the Olympics. Legendre was a student at our great university from 2008 to 2011 where he was the 2011 Nissen Emery Award winner and a 12-time All-American. He also helped his team win the 2008 National Championship and has six individual national titles.
Alex Naddour is the third alternate for the Olympic team and London is his Olympic debut as well. He is from Gilbert, Arizona and attended OU from 2010 to 2011. As a Sooner, he was a five-time All-American and the 2010 and 2011 National Champion on pommel horse.
Even OU’s very own Gymnastics Head Coach Mark Williams, who has coached all five gymnasts at Oklahoma, is in London for his fourth Olympic Games as a coach. Williams says, “I think it’s pretty incredible that we are talking about a select group of eight athletes and five of them are from the University of Oklahoma program. It’s an amazing accomplishment to have such representation. I am proud of these guys and the work they’ve put forth and to display it on the biggest stage in the world should be very exciting.”
We could not be any more excited for these fine young men and look forward to watching them lead our country to victory.
Visit SoonerSports.com for complete coverage of the Sooners in London and print/download the calendar here so you don’t miss any of the action!
We wish them luck and, of course, Boomer Sooner!
Did you miss us? Don’t worry, the Alumni Association is back on the blogging wagon and we have no intentions of getting off. We are starting a weekly blog to keep you all updated on what’s going on in our office and with your fellow Sooners.
This week in the Alumni Association world, we’re all busy, getting ready for the fall. RSVPs for OU/Texas are pouring in, plans for our Boomer Bashes are coming along nicely, there are some exciting changes coming to Alumni College and the 2013 Sightseeing Sooners brochure is out! If traveling the world with other OU alumni and friends sounds like your kind of thing, we’d be happy to get a brochure to you (click here and follow the form). We have tons of fabulous trips planned and spots are filling up quickly!
We are very excited about getting this little project going and have lots of good blogs planned. Of course, we would love to hear from you, too. If you have any ideas for a blog that you would like featured, just let us know! You can give us a call, shoot us an email or come by our office. We want to hear from you!
Live on, University!
Hello Sooner Country! Hope you had a happy commencement day! The Alumni Association spent Friday morning with President Boren celebrating some outstanding alumni in Beaird Lounge in the Oklahoma Memorial Union.
|President Boren greets the crowd.|
President Boren opened this prestigious awards ceremony and offered several comments related to the line “Live on, university” from our school chant. “Institutions alone cannot live on themselves. An institution is sustained by individuals. And today we honor some remarkable individuals.”
JP Audas, Associate Vice President of the Alumni Association was up next and gave a brief overview of this award. The Regents’ Alumni Awards are presented each year to honor alumni and friends for exceptional dedication and service to the University of Oklahoma. The OU Board of Regents and the OU Alumni Association present the awards.
Nominations are accepted from alumni, friends and OU faculty and staff. The names of each year’s recipients are engraved on a permanent plaque that hangs in Oklahoma Memorial Union as a testament to the important role that OU’s alumni play in the life of the university. Below are this year’s recipients:
|Alan Armstrong – ’85 Civil Engineering|
|Jim Dicus – ’63 Business Finance|
|Bill Hancock – ’72 Journalism|
|Che Miller, M.D. – ’98 Chemistry/Biochemistry, ’02 Medicine, ’07 Surgery|
|Carolyn Clark Powers – ’96 Business Finance|
|Richard Trautman, M.D. – ’71 Medicine|
|Leon Unger, Ph. D.|
|Reggie Whitten – ’77 Political Science, ’80 Juris Doctorate|
|Robert Zinke – ’75 Business, Petroleum Land Management|
|Singing of the OU Chant after award presentations.|
|2012 Regents’ Award Recipients and presenters.|
|2012-2013 Commencement Scholars|
Are you a graduate of OU? Maybe not a graduate, but you love the university? Do you know someone who should be a member of the OU Alumni Association but isn’t? If so, now is the perfect time to join or purchase a membership for someone. Not only is it a great way to show your support, but members also receive exclusive perks. And with three ways to join, it’s easier than ever:
Going online is a quick and simple way to join OR renew. Click HERE or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://www.oufoundation.org/onlinegiving/JoinAlumniAssoc.aspx
Once on the page, fill out the simple form and you will receive your membership kit in the mail in a few weeks. The online form is available 24/7, so no matter your schedule, it will be there when you need it.
Joining by phone is also simple and can be done by calling us at (405) 325-1710. Our office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
And finally, if you are in Norman and would like to stop by our office, we’d love to meet and talk with you! We are located on the fourth floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union, at 900 Asp Avenue. Didn’t know the Union had a fourth floor? Surprise, we’re up here! We have a form to fill out to join or renew your membership and will process it upon completion.
What is the cost of a membership?
Membership rates vary and are as follows on the chart below:
|Please note, all gifts are 100% tax deductible.|
How can I pay for a membership?
Payment can be made by check (made out to OU Foundation) or any major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover).
What are the perks to having a membership?
Perks of having a membership include receiving Sooner Magazine, special consideration at Boomer Bash, a discount at the OU Alumni Store, Legacy Program for kids, Library checkout privileges, discount at university book stores, career services and online career resources, discounted membership rate for the Huston Huffman, discounted alumni membership rates to the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course and discounts at many other national and local stores.
In 1965 Dr. M.S. Bartlett and his brother Charles “Buzz” Bartlett donated the original “Sooner Schooner” and the ponies, Boomer and Sooner, to circle the field on home game days and at bowl games. After several groups passed on the care-taking of the Schooner, the RUF/NEKS, the oldest male spirit group of any college in the country, took the reigns. In 1980, the University of Oklahoma officially named the Sooner Schooner as its mascot. Today the Schooner is kept in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, at the Bartlett Ranch. The RUF/NEKS are still the official caretakers and drivers of the Conestoga wagon and each year one member is selected to become a Schooner Driver. These well-trained young men are responsible for driving the Schooner out onto the field after OU touchdowns.
It’s also tradition for the RUF/NEK queen to sit beside the driver and a young member of the RUF/NEKS usually hangs by his legs off the back, waving the university’s flag as the Schooner is driven out onto the field and then back into the tunnel.
To honor the tradition, a retired Schooner has been placed in the student union in the Clarke-Anderson Room, adjacent to the union food court.
|Jonathan Horton, ’08|
When the 2012 Olympic games open this summer in London, a Sooner will be among the world’s elite athletes. Jonathan Horton, Olympic Gymnast, earned his bachelor’s degree in 2008 in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma, with hopes of using his Price College education to open his own gym someday. While at OU, he became one of the most successful and decorated gymnasts in university history. As a freshman, he took home over 10 event titles and two all-around titles. As a sophomore, he accomplished more, winning 13 event titles and an astonishing six all-around titles and qualified for his first world team. In his third season as a Sooner, Jonathan set records at OU, breaking Bart Conner’s career marks for career NCAA titles (5) and career All-American honors (15). He was also the first athlete since Blaine Wilson to win back-to-back American Cup titles.
His senior year was one for the record books as well. He was one of five finalists for the 78th AAU James E. Sullivan Award presented to the nation’s top amateur athlete, but the best was yet to come. He was the sixth OU gymnast to be named a Nissen-Emery Award winner. OU took home its eighth national title – five of which were in the last seven years. He finished first in the all-around at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team trials, and was named to the 2008 Olympic team. He was also the 2008 USA Gymnastics Men’s Athlete of the Year.
He’s now on another US Olympic Team. The 2012 Summer Olympics are sure to set more records and push more limits. Jonathan is proud to call the University of Oklahoma his alma mater and is a great representative of our university anywhere he goes. Here’s to Jonathan! The Sooner Nation will be rooting for you!
Oklahoma’s Arbor Day celebration is the last full week of March. It’s a little earlier than some communities nationwide due to different planting times. Arbor Day is very near and dear to the University of Oklahoma and our first lady, Molly Shi Boren. Today we celebrated on campus with a picnic at the David A. Burr Park and then a tree planting on the grounds of the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education.
Today was extra special because we were planting the 1,000th tree since OU began officially recognizing Arbor Day in 1997. It’s a Water Oak, also known as spotted oak or possum oak. This type of tree grows quickly and reaches 50′ to 80′ in height and lives hundreds of years.
During the picnic, President David Boren spoke about the importance of Arbor Day and gave a brief history of the significance of trees on our beautiful campus: It all began when OU’s first president, David Ross Boyd stepped off the train and saw what would eventually become the University of Oklahoma. At the time, there were only nine students who had class in a tiny building and there were no trees on campus. Boyd had a vision and was so determined to make his vision a reality that he took half of his first year’s salary, which was $2,000, and purchased as many trees as he could. He enlisted in the help of others, telling them he’d give them a tree if they would take care of it. He planted the rest on campus.
“Planting a tree is an unselfish act. It’s for future years. The tree you plant will not provide shade for you, but for other people in future generations.” – OU President, David Boren
Chances are, when you attended OU you participated in some sort of Arbor Day celebration. Maybe you planted a tree or perhaps you were one of the many lucky ones who got to bask in the shade provided by other generations. Either way, these trees are yet another special bond that tie us together and unite us as Sooners. Happy Arbor Day!
|OU President David Boren addresses the crowd gathered in Burr Park for Arbor Day festivities.|
|Student, staff and members of the community enjoy a picnic for Arbor Day in OU’s Burr Park.|
|OU Jazz Combo plays in the gazebo prior to OU’s Arbor Day presentation.|
|The planting of the 1000th tree on OU’s beautiful campus.|
|Saying hello to the 1000th tree.|
|Debbie Copp, ’78, ’84|
Longtime University of Oklahoma Athletics Department employee, Debbie Copp, has been selected for induction into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame and will join the 2012 class at the Hall of Fame dinner on June 25 in St. Louis, MO at the annual CoSIDA convention.
Debbie received her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1978 and later went on to complete a master’s degree in education in 1984 at OU.
Throughout her career, Copp has garnered the attention of her peers for her outstanding work. In 2008, she was named the recipient of the 2008 Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award by CoSIDA. That award came on the heels of her 25-year award, which she earned from CoSIDA in 2001.
Speaking of the hall of fame selection, Copp said “I am absolutely overwhelmed with this honor and would like to thank the current hall of fame members and the friends who were involved in making my nomination and the upcoming induction possible.
“When I received the Bob Kenworthy Award in 2008, I thought that would be the highlight of my professional career. Four years later, I am to be inducted into the hall of fame and that has left me speechless, a place I don’t often visit.”
Former Oklahoma football Academic All-America student-athlete Dewey Selmon – himself a 2010 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductee – said of Debbie, “I could go on and on about Debbie’s accomplishments. But what I really want you to know is her heart and compassion.
“I first met Debbie as a member of the football team at the University of Oklahoma,” Selmon continued. “She was continually supportive, enthusiastic, and interested in contributing to my success both off and on the field. It has been over 30 years since I donned a Sooner football uniform, but Debbie remains continually supportive, enthusiastic, and interested in contributing to my success. It is amazing to me that when I had a daughter playing basketball for OU, Debbie was there with the same enthusiasm she had when I was playing. I am only one of hundreds of athletes that Debbie has supported throughout her life; she has been a constant advocate for student-athletes. And when Debbie Copp is in your corner, she is in your corner for life!”
Brad Lund, owner of SOLDOUT Strategies noted of Debbie, “Ms. Copp was my direct supervisor during my stint as a student assistant at Oklahoma from 1984 thru 1989. Dozens and dozens of student assistants benefited from her tutelage – none more than I.
“Debbie not only paved the way for my career in professional sports, but she had a sincere desire for me to succeed in my personal life as well,” Lund concluded. ”I would be hard pressed to find someone that had a more positive influence on my collegiate experience than Debbie.“
She has been active in CoSIDA since the 1970s, serving as the CoSIDA Committee on Committees’ chairperson the past six years. She has also been active on the special awards, publicists for women’s sports, publications awards, and computer committees. She has welcomed women and minorities into the profession and mentored many as an active member of FAME.
Debbie joined the Sooner staff as a student in 1975 during the first year that women’s athletics were a part of the department. She went to full-time status in 1977 and has worked events in 19 of the 21 sports that OU sponsors. She moved into her current position in 1990. As the director of publications for OU athletics, she has worked on numerous award-winning publications, including national award winners for football, post-season, softball, track and field, soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, and wrestling media guides. She also has received writing awards from the organization.
For the last six years, Debbie has coordinated the award nominations for the department. In that time, OU has produced two NCAA Top VIII Award winners; one NCAA Sportsmanship Award winner; four NACDA McLendon Memorial Minority Scholarship winners ($10,000 each); three NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners ($7,500 each); two Wooden Citizenship Cup winners; four Big 12 Sportsmanship Award winners; one Big 12 Athlete of the Year, and one NCAA Inspiration Award winner.
Additionally, two former student-athletes have been inducted in the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame while others have been honored with OU Regents Award for their contributions to the university. Several Sooner athletic staff members also have received national awards as well in that time period.
“None of this would ever have been possible without the many incredible opportunities that I have been given by the University of Oklahoma, my alma mater and only “grown up” world employer I have ever had,” Debbie said. “I truly am Sooner born and bred and it is because of that this award has become a reality for me.”
Congratulations on this remarkable honor, Debbie! We’re proud to call you a Sooner!