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The highest honor offered in Oklahoma, the 84th Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductions, will be held Nov. 17 at Cox Convention Center, and this year’s honorees include nationally recognized military, business, sports and political figures.
“The Oklahoma Hall of Fame event is a chance to take a moment to honor the present and to inspire the future,” says Shannon L. Rich, president of the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum. “The Oklahoma Hall of Fame was founded in 1928 to create [educational opportunities] and to provide Oklahomans with heroes. To this day, it’s a very thorough and deliberate process of choosing the honorees, and out of the 100 or more nominees, we only choose about six or seven every year. It’s not an easy process.”
This year’s seven honorees include former commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command Gen. Tommy Franks, Wynnewood; Continental Resources Chairman and CEO Harold Hamm, Enid; former First Lady of Oklahoma Cathy Keating, Tulsa; former Harlem Globetrotter and basketball great Marques Haynes, Sand Springs; former chairman and president of the Williams Companies Steve Malcolm, Tulsa; and assistant to the president and special adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury Elizabeth Warren, Oklahoma City.
Songwriter and musical great Roger Miller (pictured) is being inducted posthumously.
“The great thing about Oklahoma is that we have so many great people who have done so much for our state and country,” Rich says. “To a child living in Wynnewood, to know that someone from that small town went on to be chief of staff for the United States Central Command is inspiring.”
The inductees join 641 other Oklahomans in the Hall of Fame. Their portraits will be included in the Hall of Fame Gallery at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
“We look for an Oklahoman who shows the diversity and the spirit of inspiration for our state,” Rich says. “In the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, there is someone that every person can relate to. Our mission is to tell Oklahoma’s story through its people.”
Masters of ceremonies for the event include Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis, and attorney Michael Turpin.
Nominee Hamm was born in 1945, the youngest of 13 children of sharecrop farmers. He graduated from Enid High School and went on to create Continental Resources, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company operating in 20 states.
“I am honored to be selected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame,” he says. “I never expected to achieve this recognition. I am very pleased to be joining the ranks of so many esteemed Oklahomans who have accomplished so much.”
Hamm says America’s freedoms allowed him to start from a humble beginning and achieve great success, and he hoped that his induction will inspire others from all walks of life.
“I hope to be a very fine example to all of those young, ambitious people who may be limited in their financial standing, lack of educational opportunity and position in life. My life achievements might inspire them to make the effort to reach beyond their means and fulfill their dreams,” he says.
All nominees chose a friend or relation to introduce them at the event. David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma, will present Hamm as an inductee.
“Harold Hamm represents the true spirit of Oklahoma. Our state is a place where people of ability who are willing to work hard can become important leaders in civic and professional life,” Boren says. “Harold’s rise from humble beginnings to national leadership in the energy field is an incredible story. In many ways, it reflects the pioneer history of Oklahoma. Harold Hamm represents the thousands of Oklahomans during our history who have not been afraid to work to make their dreams come true.”
Other presenters include:
• Clay Bennett, president of Dorchester Capital and 2007 Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductee, will present Tommy Franks;
• NBA great Bill Russell will present Marques Haynes;
• Political reporter and ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson will present Cathy Keating;
• Alison Anthony, president of The Williams Foundation, will introduce Steve Malcolm; and
• Oil and gas entrepreneur and 2003 inductee of the Hall of Fame T. Boone Pickens will introduce Elizabeth Warren.