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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Documentary Treatment

I Am A Water Taxi Pilot 

In Indie Alaska, the only way to get places is by boat or plane. I Am a Water Taxi Pilot tells the story of Mako Hagerty, who loves what he does, but endures the sometimes treacherous waters to get the job done.  Go inside the life of Mako to learn the struggles and rewards of life on Kachemak Bay. 

The film will give some back story on Mako and how he got into the water taxi business. He was always a mariner but started as a commercial fisherman. When he came to Alaska, he dabbled in being a taxi pilot. Over time he grew to love the boat life and decided to do it full time. The camera will mostly be on Mako during the interview but there will also be a few voiceover moments. 

In the beginning of the film, Mako explains what it takes to do what he does. Through his explanation, it’s apparent that being responsible for the transportation of a community takes grit, love of people and love of the water. This is an interesting concept to viewers because most people don’t live in Alaska and have no idea what life is like in that environment, much less the jobs it requires. 

He goes on to explain the importance of water taxis and the challenges he faces day to day. Water taxis are vital to the community because people who can’t fly or have a fear of flying don’t have another choice. Also, planes in that region are limited to where they can land. The documentary would display scenic photos of  the Alaskan mountain range and ocean. 

Mako explains that rocky days are fun and excite him. The challenge of the job is what he loves. He loves the job because not one day is like the next. It’s not a typical nine to five, that’s why he loves it and why others don’t. 

The film will show internal conflict about recurring fears Mako has. The fear of drowning is the most notable fear he talks about. Viewers will want to keep watching and know more because of how common that fear is among people. For him though, drowning is a real fear in his everyday life. “I spend my whole life on water, so that’s probably natural,” Mako said. Although this fear is in the back of his mind, it’s not something mariners focus on. He does it to help his community and he has done just that. 

Mako is the only person that was interviewed since it is all about his own personal experience. At each scene and location, stills and video of rough waters, calm waters, the water taxi, and the mountains. The visuals would show viewers how monstrous the waters can be. 

The beginning section including introduction is about a minute long. After that, Mako talks about the what it’s like on the water, what’s fun, and what’s challenging for about a minute. For the next couple minutes he discusses the importance of his job and some personal fears.

In the end viewers can tell that Mako is fulfilled by giving back to his community. The beauty of Alaska helps him realize that despite the danger and chaos of the water, there is nowhere he would rather be. I chose to do the documentary on Mako because I love telling the stories of people who otherwise would never have their story told. Stories like these broaden our horizons and help us understand people different from us. After watching this documentary, people will have an appreciation for Mako and people like him even though they cannot relate to him in many ways. That is just what documentaries should do.

Distinguished Visiting Artist Mildred Howard Exhibition Showing  at the Fred Jones Museum of Art


Distinguished Visiting Artist Mildred Howard Exhibition

The Fred Jones Museum of Art is presenting the Mildred Howard Exhibition, which will be showing until April 7. Howard is the seventh Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair at the University of Oklahoma.

Howard is a mixed media artist and uses a variety of mediums such as “printmaking, sculpture, textile, glass installations” said White. 

Using those materials, she confronts social and political issues. She does this by “Appropriating images from history in a fashion that speaks to contemporary issues,” said the museum director Mark White. 

“There is a little something for everyone,” said White.

Melissa Ski, Director of Learning and Engagement, said Howard’s art is directed towards the history of oppression, slavery, civil rights, the black lives movement, and women’s rights. 

The art makes the viewer think about social issues by contrasting the past and the present. 

For example, a print from her series, “I’ve been a witness to this game” shows Beyonce placed in front of a civil war militia. “You’ve got this very influential African American woman in what is seen in contrast to slaveholders,” said White. 

Howard is a native of San Francisco and got her MFA from John F. Kennedy University. Throughout her career she has received many awards such as the Adeline Kent award, the Joan Mitchell Foundation award, the Lee Krasner award, the Nancy Graves grant and the Douglas G. MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award. 

She gets much of her inspiration from from her parents, who were actively involved in the civil rights movement. Through her work, she carries on her parent’s legacy. 

For Mildred Howard’s full bio, you can go to Admission to the museum is always free thanks to the OU office of the president and the OU athletics department. 

Melissa Ski (

Mark White (

*No previous relationships to sources This is a link to the upcoming events at the Fred Jones Museum of Art This is the link to Howard’s full bio on the OU museum site. 


OU Alumni Association Newsletter



OU Alumni Association Newsletter 

May 2, 2019 

[Alumni Legacy Program] 

As an Alumni Association member, you can join the Alumni Legacy Program. If your children are Sooner born, this program is a great opportunity for your children to join in on the spirit of the university.  

“The goal of the program is to foster the Sooner spirit and loyalty to OU to our children. It is meant to encourage our future Sooners to follow in their parents footsteps,” said Jennifer Dooley, the program coordinator. 

Legacy members will have a scholarship opportunity their freshman year at OU, they will receive a special invitation to be a part of the Student Alumni Association and recognition at commencement activities.  

“The benefits of being a Legacy member include free entrance to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History during their birth month, fifteen percent off OU gear in the online Alumni Store as well as invitations to future Legacy events,” Said Dooley. 

Every legacy member will also receive age appropriate gift such as toys, clothing, commencement cord and an enrollment certificate.  

“The gift program is for children aged 0-16 however there are benefits for incoming freshmen and current OU students.” said Dooley. 

Enrollment is a one time fee of $120 per child for OU Alumni Association paid members and $150 per child for non-members. Only children or grandchildren of OU graduates are eligible for Legacy enrollment. 

[OU Clubs] 

OU Alumni Clubs are an extension of the University of Oklahoma Alumni Association. If you’re living out of state, find an OU club near you to stay connected! 

“We have about 110 clubs and they are mostly regional groups but we do have some affinity groups like the black alumni societies and the American Indian societies,” said Andrew Wertz, coordinator for the OU Clubs program. 

All OU clubs are volunteer based and want to keep OU grads connected through fun things like watch parties in the fall. 

“One of the impactful things we do among the clubs is raise money for scholarships,” said Wertz.  The university will match the amount of money that was raised by the club in a tuition waiver. 

Another goal of the OU clubs is to acclimate young alumni into their new environment, wherever that may be. The OU community does not leave you after graduation. Having a community of Sooners 

“If you’re a young alum and moved to a new state or city, we want you to be involved so that you can make connections to other OU graduates but also so they can get involved in the new community,” said Wertz.

Clubs are a great way to celebrate being a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. If you have questions regarding a club in your area and want to be involved, contact Andrew Werz at

[SAA: OU Ring] 

The OU ring is a token of pride and memories that you can have after you graduate from the university. The ring symbolizes the people you met and places you have been at your time at OU. 

“When you’re able to wear your ou ring, you have so much pride for your school but also your accomplishments,” said Caitlin Montgomery, Director of Student Engagement. “We refer to it as your wearable diploma.”

When you go out into the work world, you can carry that pride with you and remember all the things you did at OU. 

“My ring has had a part in guiding my career path. Not to mention, it’s a great conversation started and can help you get connected to other alum,” said Montgomery. 

With the purchase of the OU Ring, you will also receive a keepsake box decorated with the OU seal. The ring has a unified design and you are able to customize your ring in yellow gold, white gold and two-tone gold with either an antique or natural finish. 

To get your ring, you are required to have completed 75 credit hours. OU rings are available to all student and alumni. 

[Boomer Bash] 

  Boomer Bash is a tailgate hosted by the Alumni Association. Come enjoy the pre-game excitement with food, drinks and  The Pride of Oklahoma.  

Boomer Bash makes tailgating easy by providing you with everything you need to enjoy your gameday. 

“Boomer bash is one of our largest events, especially in the fall semester,” said Caitlin Montgomery, Director of Student Engagement. 

Boomer bash is held in the union courtyard before home football games. 

“There are games, food and drink and alcohol for those of age” said Caitlin Montgomery, “The Pride comes by as well as the OU cheer and pom teams, the mascots and even basketball teams”. 

The event is an opportunity to unite with other alumni, family and friends to share the pride of the university. 

“Typically we have an average of 400 to 500 people come,” said Montgomery

To attend Boomer Bash, you can register before game day by contacting the alumni office or pay the day of the game. 

[OU Texas Weekend] 

OU Texas weekend is the most looked forward to event of the Fall at the University of Oklahoma. Thousands of fans gather together at the Cotton Bowl to witness the Longhorns and the Sooners compete once again. 

The Alumni Association travels to Dallas, TX and experiences all the excitement together. The goal of the alumni association is to carry on the traditions of the university. 

“We give everyone a place to gather to be with other alumni, family and friends,” said Deborah Foster, OU Texas event coordinator.

When you travel with Alumni, you are surrounded by friends, family and other alumni. There is a reception, breakfast, Sooner store and more. 

“We have an Alumni Association reception, a breakfast and also a store where you can buy OU merchandise before the game,” said Foster.

More information will be available on OU Texas 2019 this coming summer. For more information, contact the OU Alumni Office. 


Alumni and Alumni Association Sources:

1: Caitlin Montgomery (

2: Andrew Wertz (

3: Deborah Foster (

4: Jennifer Dooley (