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OU Regents' Alumni Awards to be Presented to Eleven Outstanding Individuals

4-25-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NORMAN – Eleven exceptional University of Oklahoma alumni and friends will receive Regents’ Alumni Awards for their dedication and service to OU in a ceremony scheduled for Friday, May 12, on the Norman campus.

Presented by the OU Board of Regents and OU Alumni Association, the Regents’ Alumni Award honors the important roles of OU alumni and supporters to the life of the university. A committee formed by the Alumni Association selects the award recipients from nominations made by alumni, friends, and OU faculty and staff. Each year’s recipients receive a plaque, and their names are engraved on a permanent plaque in the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Jack Edwin Counts Jr. of Oklahoma City, founder of Candid Color Systems and supporter of the Michael F. Price College of Business
  • Jim R. Dewbre of Spring, Texas, senior vice president of land at Southwestern Energy and chairman of the OU Energy Management Board of Advisors
  • Christopher Gibbs of Newport Beach, California, president and CEO of Christopher Homes/PLC Land, generous advocate and supporter of the College of Architecture
  • Wayne Greene of Tulsa, skilled journalist for the Tulsa World and a fourth-generation Oklahoman who has been a strong supporter of OU and the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication 
  • Leslie Simcox Hudson, Ph.D. of Oklahoma City, a dedicated advocate for the OU College of Public Health
  • Cathey Simmons Humphreys of Dallas, Texas, supporter of education and study abroad
  • Randy Laffoon of Norman, active civic leader and owner of both Norman-based KREF 1400 sports talk radio and Boyd Street magazine
  • Homer Paul of Edmond, supporter of many university initiatives and retired president of Citizens Security Bank
  • Lisa M. Rogers of Houston, Texas, chemical engineer at ExxonMobile and mentor to OU engineering students
  • Erin A. Wiley of Washington, D.C., president and Founder at Wiley Ideas and avid alumni club supporter
  • Linda Lake Young of Norman, past president of the OU Alumni Association and lifetime member of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication alumni board, JayMac

Counts of Oklahoma City earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from OU in 1970 and credits his time here and in a fraternity with helping to launch his business career. While a student at OU, Counts founded the event photography business Party Pics, which soon expanded coast to coast. He has gone on to found multiple photography-related businesses over the last 40 years, including Candid Color Systems in 1972 and Glamour Shots in 1989, which reached 400 stores in eight countries.

Today, Candid Color Systems and its subsidiaries supply thousands of franchisees and independent photographers with professional photographic services and his TSS Sports division was recently recognized as a Top 50 Franchise in the U.S. by Franchise Business Review. But more importantly, these services have provided hundreds of millions of memories for people across the world, and Counts’ photo businesses have employed more than 25,000 Oklahomans.

When not working, Counts enjoys family-time and supporting OU-related events and organizations, including the Sooner Air program and membership in the Arthur B. Adams Society to support the Price College of Business at OU. He was recently named to the Seed Sower Society for his substantial contributions to OU, which has now educated four generations of the Counts family. 

Counts and his wife, Alison Counts, have also made significant contributions to Sooner Athletics totaling more than $1.5 million. He is a member of the Bud Wilkinson Society, recognizing some of the Athletics Department’s most generous donors and he most recently made a gift to the south end zone renovation project for The Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.  

To intertwine his passion for OU and photography, he enjoys providing photos from athletic events, most of which he captures personally, to share with the school, alumni and donors to ensure everyone has memories of our great Sooner moments. Counts said he is thrilled to continue support of the university that has given so much to his family, and he is excited to have two more sons joining the Sooner family this fall.

Dewbre of Spring, Texas, has put his heart and soul into making OU a leader in energy education. A member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society during college, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1983. As an alumnus, he has taken his role seriously to advance the work of the university – never missing a chance to tell others about the world-class opportunities available to OU students.

Dewbre and his wife, Jill Dewbre, have been incredibly generous to the university – providing the financial assistance necessary to allow countless students to attend OU, many of whom would not otherwise have been able to do so. In 2012, they made a lead gift that helped establish the National Scholars Scholarship Fund, which supports many students in their educational expenses. Previously, they also have made contributions to the Stephen M. Sutherland Scholarship Endowment Fund. He is also a Life Member of both the President’s Associates and the OU Alumni Association. Recently, Dewbre was the lead donor for the Nim Razook Outstanding Legal Studies Scholarship Fund.

An executive member of the Price College of Business’ Adams Society, he was the driving force behind the annual Helmets and Hard Hats event in Houston, which has raised more than $350,000 for the Michael F. Price College of Business and the Energy Management Program at OU. Dewbre also is a member of the Bud Wilkinson Society supporting OU Athletics.

Dewbre is a proud member of the Sooner family, and his commitment to OU students is unwavering, hiring many OU students as interns and offering alumni positions within his company.

As senior vice president of land at Southwestern Energy, Dewbre has been actively involved with the American Association of Professional Landmen, where he served as president, became the first vice president on the executive committee and served as chair for a number of committees. In addition, he is a founding member of the North Houston Land/Business Development Association.

Dewbre currently serves as chairman of the Energy Management Board of Advisors at OU and is an ex-officio member of the Price College of Business Board of Advisors. He also serves on the Energy Management Board of Advisors at both West Virginia University and the University of Tulsa. 

Gibbs of Newport Beach, California, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from OU in 1967 and since then has played an instrumental role in enhancing his alma mater.

A generous advocate and supporter of the College of Architecture, Gibbs has endowed a Recruiting and Retention Scholarship for architecture students. He also endowed the Christopher C. Gibbs Integrated Learning Center in Gould Hall, an interactive space with state-of-the-art technology that allows students of all disciplines to collaborate and give presentations. Gibbs serves on the College of Architecture Board of Visitors and takes time each year to meet with students and provide lectures in studio courses on his experiences as an architect, home builder and businessman.

During his 50-year career, Gibbs has planned communities and neighborhoods that have earned regional and national building awards for design, merchandising, marketing and sales excellence. His companies, Christopher Homes and PLC Land, are responsible for planning, financing, developing and constructing more than 15,000 homes throughout southern California, Florida, Texas and Saudi Arabia.

While he and his wife, Ania Ratomska-Gibbs, currently reside in southern California, Gibbs remains a Sooner at heart. His dedication to OU goes beyond his philanthropic support. He inspires students and faculty and is a walking example of true grit, hard work and dedication.

Greene has left his mark on the state of Oklahoma in his three decades-long career at the Tulsa World. A fourth-generation Oklahoman, Greene came to OU as a National Merit Scholar, earned a permanent place on the dean’s honor roll and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1985 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and History with highest honors. Since then, he has been a strong supporter of OU and Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

A skilled journalist, Greene has covered a multitude of stories that have impacted northeastern Oklahoma over the last 30 years. He served four years at the Tulsa World’s state capitol bureau, covering nearly every aspect of state government. In 1995, he became the World’s city editor, serving in that role for 13 years. He led the city desk’s award-winning coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing, the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the Interstate 40 bridge collapse over the Arkansas River, several natural disasters and six general elections. He now serves as the World’s editorial pages editor and has amassed a trophy case full of awards for commentary and public service. Earlier this year, the Tulsa Regional Chamber named him the “Conscience of the Community.”

When he isn’t working or serving as a supernumerary for Tulsa Opera, Greene is probably running. He has completed 13 marathons and plans number 14 for October.

Greene is a proud alumnus and OU supporter who encourages the recruitment of Gaylord students, resulting in many internships and employment opportunities at the Tulsa World. He always looks for ways to support and enrich the journalism program at OU and takes great interest in activities on campus.

Hudson of Oklahoma City is a dedicated advocate for the OU College of Public Health. While earning her Doctor of Epidemiology in 1990, her Master of Public Health in 1986 and her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy in 1977, Hudson was an exemplary student. In the years since, she has earned a reputation as a demonstrated community leader.

As a student, Hudson achieved the Dean’s Honor Roll for all semesters and was a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. She earned the Paul S. Anderson Jr. Ph.D. Outstanding Student Award and served as a graduate assistant in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

From 1990 to 2000, Hudson served as a faculty member in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the College of Public Health. Since then, she has continued to provide invaluable advice and assistance to the college’s fundraising efforts.

Since leaving the university, she has become a devoted leader in the community, where she has fostered many opportunities for OU faculty and students. Through the Hudson Family Scholarship, the Advisory Board Scholarship, the Linda Cowan Doctoral Dissertation Research Award and the Hudson Fellows in Public Health program, Hudson and her husband, Clifford Hudson, have provided more than $1 million in support of students in the OU College of Public Health.

Hudson serves on the College of Public Health’s Advisory Board and the OU Health Sciences Center Presidential Professor Selection Committee. In addition to her service to the university, Hudson serves on the governing boards of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, the Greater Oklahoma City Parks and Trails Foundation, the Central Oklahoma Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Humphreys of Dallas has made it a priority to serve her alma mater since earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Education from OU in 1970. She has proven to be an outstanding leader for the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, where she established the Cathey A. Simmons Humphreys Distinguished Education Lecture Series, which brings nationally recognized education experts to campus. She also worked to create the Cathey A. Simmons Humphreys Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship Fund to ensure that education students have the opportunity to study in other countries. Without her generous support, students in the college would not be able to study in places like Gulu, Uganda, where they have worked to create and teach new curriculum at St. Monica’s Vocational School for Girls.

In honor of her commitment to the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at OU, Humphreys was presented with the college’s Meritorious Service Award in 2015. She and her husband, Donald Humphreys, were also inducted into the university’s Seed Sower Society in 2016. She served on the executive committee for OU’s 125th anniversary fundraising campaign, “Live On, University.” In addition, Humphreys remains involved in her local chapter of Chi Omega and has been recognized in the Dallas community for her work in teaching English to immigrants.

Laffoon has been a lifelong resident of Norman and has dedicated his life to strengthening the Norman community and supporting his alma mater. His devotion to the community began as an OU student, where he volunteered for the Norman Parks and Recreation Department as a coach in addition to carrying a full class schedule and working for his family’s business.

After earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from OU in 1982, Laffoon became an active civic leader, always ensuring that his business, energy and time helped enhance the quality of life for the entire Norman community, including OU’s students, faculty and staff. He has been an invaluable contributor to numerous civic organizations, including Norman’s annual United Way Campaign. As past president and Paul Harris Fellow of the Norman Rotary Club, he also has achieved the Red Star Award for his service to the Assistance League of Norman. He currently serves on the board of the Norman Chamber of Commerce, the executive committee of the Norman Public Schools Foundation and is chair of the foundation’s corporate giving program.

The only person ever to serve two terms as chairman of the Norman Regional Hospital Foundation, Laffoon led the foundation’s Highway to Health capital campaign, which raised $3 million for the Norman Regional HealthPlex construction project. In recognition of his outstanding work, he was named the recipient of the 2007 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Laffoon later went on to raise almost an additional $2 million for renovations at other health and medical rehabilitation facilities.

As the owner of both Norman-based KREF 1400 sports talk radio and Boyd Street, Norman’s oldest community magazine, Laffoon is committed to covering the latest in OU news, academics and athletics, among other subjects.

Laffoon is a lifelong member of the OU Alumni Association and is a great reflection of the values that define what it means to be a Sooner.

Paul of Edmond has made it a priority to serve the University of Oklahoma – from academics to athletics.

Soon after graduating from OU in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts in History, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served on active duty for two years, including service in Korea and Japan. Upon release from active duty in 1956, Paul returned to Norman and enrolled at the OU College of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1959.

Over the years, Paul has supported many university initiatives. He has sponsored the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education’s loan forgiveness program, the Bizzell Library Society, The Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium expansion and the Curtis W. Mewbourne Nu Omega Endowed Scholarship. The first floor conference room in Ellison Hall was named in his honor in recognition of his gift toward the building’s renovation. In addition, he established the Homer and William G. Paul Families Internship in the College of Arts and Sciences. His philanthropic support of the university has helped improve the lives of students, faculty and staff as he has contributed to building, scholarship and discretionary funds. 

Paul has been an active member of the President’s Associates for 20 years. He currently serves on the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors and the College of Law Dean’s Leadership Circle. 

He has had a distinguished career in the banking industry, retiring as president of Citizens Security Bank in Bixby. His service to the community includes chair of the Oklahoma Finance Authorities, former president of the Oklahoma Bankers Association, Boy Scouts of America-Oklahoma City Council board member, trustee of the National Fraternity Phi Gamma Delta Educational Endowment, chair of the Oklahoma Blood Institute Foundation, board member of the Chickasaw Nations Industries, and Rotarian for more than 50 years.

Rogers of Houston has been an active supporter of her alma mater since earning her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2002.

Her leadership has played a vital role in the Gallogly College of Engineering. Through her service on the Chemical Engineering Advisory Board, she has made it a priority to serve and also has become an honorary recruiter for OU. As an OU alumna, she knows firsthand the impact the university has on students, and she is dedicated to seeing programs prosper.

During her time at OU, Rogers’ Sooner Spirit was evident through her student roles and her honors and awards. As an honors student and an active member of the Student Chemical Engineering Society, she was on the Dean’s Honor Roll each semester and was an Oklahoma Scholar, an SAE Scholar and a Lawrence Reid Gas Conditioning Conference Scholar. Selected as Outstanding Sophomore and Outstanding Senior for Chemical Engineering, she was part of a chemical engineering team that placed first in the School of Chemical Engineering and Material Science Senior Design Awards.

Dedicated to guiding and encouraging students through their pursuit of an engineering degree, she has spent countless hours mentoring and coaching OU students. In addition to her services as a mentor, she is one of the youngest alumni to join the J.H. Felgar Society – a program that supports the Gallogly College of Engineering. An Alpha Sigma Kappa sorority alumna, her support also has extended to the Women in Engineering Thousands Strong campaign, for which she was a major contributor.

An IRONMAN Triathlon competitor, she supports numerous causes outside of OU. Currently, she is product optimizer for ExxonMobil.

Wiley has proved to be an outstanding leader to the OU Alumni Capital Club, which serves OU alumni in the Washington, D.C., area. She has helped lead the club as a board member for more than 10 years, serving as its president for eight of those years. During that time, she has worked with other OU alumni in the area to dramatically expand the scope of the club’s activities. Under her leadership, the club began offering summer scholarships to OU students with internships in the D.C. area. Thanks to her fundraising efforts, the club has been able to offer support that will help cover all costs of campus housing at one of the area universities for a summer internship. Wiley also coordinates a number of other club events including pre-game events, fundraising efforts and assisting graduates with job searches in the Washington, D.C., area.

Wiley earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from OU in 2003. An active member of the Young Democrats, she volunteered on several political campaigns, assisting candidates for lieutenant governor and president of the United States.

Wiley is the founder and president of Wiley Ideas, an event management and consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Prior to establishing her own company, she was a founding member and vice president of Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, where she successfully managed national and international conferences of more than 4,000 attendees in the United States, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Russia. Many of these events featured notable speakers including Sir Richard Branson, former United Kingdom Prime Minster Gordon Brown, Russell Simmons and Mark Cuban. In addition, she was also responsible for securing and maintaining over $2 million in event sponsorships.

Young has been a steadfast supporter of the university since earning a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1972. She has made it a priority to serve the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication as a lifetime member of the college’s alumni board, JayMac, for which she is currently helping with a rebrand and reorganization.

Young also serves as a valuable resource to current Gaylord students, observing them and providing professional feedback. She is incredibly proud of the broadcast students behind Sooner Sports Pad, a weekly show highlighting the latest in OU Athletics.

A generous supporter of OU Athletics and enthusiastic proponent of OU students, she and her late husband, Robert Young, provided a lead gift in support of the Barry Switzer Center. Young holds season tickets to numerous Sooner sports and is a member of the Sooner Stilettos Club. She was instrumental in the development of the OU Softball locker rooms.

Young’s commitment to OU has been outstanding. She has helped many students pursue an education at OU through gifts made in support of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gallogly College of Engineering, the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts and the College of Medicine. She was also instrumental in establishing the Paul D. Massad Endowed Sooner Heritage Scholarship and is a proud member of the OU President’s Associates and the OU Alumni Association. The Youngs were part of the Commitment of 50 supporters that provided a lead gift for the renovation of historic Holmberg Hall.

Young has served as president of the OU Alumni Association and was an alumni representative to the Athletic Council. She also was recently appointed to the President’s Associates Council.

The Regents’ Alumni Awards ceremony will take place at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, May 12, in Beaird Lounge, Oklahoma Memorial Union. For additional information or accommodations, please contact Jill Stephens at (405) 325-1710 or email jills@ou.edu

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