News Story- OU Awarding Honorary Degrees

April 2, 2019

This Year, OU is Awarding Two Honorary Degrees at the Commencement Exercises

NORMAN- This year, OU will award two honorary degrees to a telecommunications pioneer and a Pulitzer Prize winning attorney. OU graduate George T. Hale and OCU graduate, Rachel Cabanis will be honored at the commencement exercises in May. Since the first was given at the university in 1991, only 100 others have received an OU honorary degree. 

Standards to receive the prestigious award are made by the board of regents. Awards are granted “only in recognition of extraordinary achievement in such fields as science and technology, the arts and humanities, business and public service; or in recognition of outstanding contributions to the welfare and/or enrichment of the University, state, nation, or world.” 

Hale, age 65,  is a University of Oklahoma 1963 graduate who established the state’s first educational television cooperative in the late 1960s. When he retired from his company, Hale Communication Inc., it had more than 40 percent of the cable market. 

“Professionally, George Hale is a true pioneer in telecommunications. Personally, he is a true humanitarian,” said Provost Kyle Harper. 

Cabanis, age 44, is a graduate of Oklahoma City University. After a 20-year career working as a legal secretary for her husband, Cabanis went to Harvard and completed a degree in law. She is the author of the book, Breaking Through, which won her the Pulitzer Prize. 

“I am as thrilled to be receiving this honorary degree as I was to receive my law degree from Harvard. There is nothing like being recognized in your home state by the people who truly know you,” said Cabanis.

Harper has known Cabanis personally for many years. “She was a remarkable example then and now of the human spirit and reflects humankind’s inextinguishable desire to learn and to succeed in one’s own right,” said Harper. 

“The process for selecting honorary degree recipients at OU is rigorous, and it is fitting and appropriate to include these two in the elite corps of recipients.” said Harper, “These two outstanding individuals have made life better for scores of Oklahomans in all walks of life.”

The two will be honored at the commencement exercises at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, in the football stadium. 

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