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Alumni News

Barron Ryan, CFA Alumnus

Barron Ryan (’09) is the son of two musicians who grew up in a house filled with the sounds of artists ranging from Chopin to James Brown. After beginning piano lessons at age four with his father, Ryan studied piano performance at the University of Oklahoma.

Learn more at 60 second Sooner::Barron Ryan

Julie Wilkenson Manley, CFA Alumnus

Julia Wilkinson Manley serves as the Colorado Conservatory of Dance School Director.  Manley began her training with Cristina Munro (London Festival Ballet, Eliot Feld) in Corpus Christi, Texas. Julia attended the Boston Ballet Centre for Dance Education and the Houston Ballet Academy. At the University of Oklahoma, she earned a BFA in ballet pedagogy and danced soloist roles in Balanchine’s Serenade, Miguel Terekhov’s Four Moons, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker as Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as numerous solo roles choreographed for her by Mary Margaret Holt (Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet). She toured with Ballet Ireland under the direction of Günther Falüsy, and performed with David Taylor Dance Theatre and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Her choreographic work has been performed by numerous companies, including Corpus Christi Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theatre and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. In 2009 she served on the committee to rewrite the Colorado Academic Standards for Dance for the Colorado Department of Education, and in 2012 Julia was named as a finalist for the Rocky Mountain PBS Be More Award.

Adrianna Hicks OU graduate

Adrianna Hicks, an OU alumna-Musical Theatre, plays Celie,  the lead role in the touring production of the Tony Award-winning musical revival The Color Purple, directed by Tony winner John Doyle. The musical kicks off at the Proctors Theatre in Schenectady on October 7, 2017 and will come to Oklahoma City Jan. 3-7, 2018 at the Civic Center Music Hall.

Annie Funke, OU WFCFA alumnus

OU Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts graduate, Annie Funke (BFA, ’07), has leapt from the stage at the Rupel J. Jones Fine Arts Center to Broadway and on to Los Angeles and the television industry. In April 2016, Annie was awarded the Regents' Alumni Award, to recognize her dedication and service to the University of Oklahoma.

After scoring her first professional acting job at age 16, Funke has appeared in critically acclaimed productions such as the off-Broadway hit “Punk Rock”; starred opposite Jake Gyllenhall in Roundabout Theater’s “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet”; and was cast in the CBS crime drama “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” which has been picked up for a second season. Funke credits her education in the A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre, and the completion of her BFA, as a compelling factor in her professional success. Watch Annie Funke's video at Live On

WOW FACTOR - Annie Funke 2017 Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador

Annie Funke
Annie Funke holds up her Young Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador award during the 2017 Oklahoma Creativity Ambassadors Gala at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman]

Annie Funke, OU Alumna and Star of the TV series “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”

"I’m so touched by this honor and to be here tonight."

“I am such a proud Oklahoman – I always have been, ask anyone who knows me – born and raised here. I went to the University of Oklahoma, and when I first moved … I met a lot of people – a lot of those coastal people – who seem to be very unaware of this thriving and rich artistic and creative community that I knew and I know in Oklahoma. I feel like in a way I’ve kind of stepped into a role of advocate for our great state because I was so excited to share my experience because I knew firsthand the amazing talent and the work that is cultivated right here. It’s given me even more Oklahoma pride to be able to share my story."

“I have to attribute my entire being and reason, experience in Oklahoma with the unbelievable teachers that I had here.”

-By Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman newspaper, April 10, 2017

Joel Mott Wins Grammy

Grammy Award logo

OU Bachelor of Music Education alumnus, Joel Mott won a Grammy Award for his participation as string arranger of the gospel recording Losing My Religion by Kirk Franklin. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album in 2016.

"I'd love to thank my friend Dr. Roland Barrett for consistently giving time, energy and expertise to teach me to write and arrange when I was in school. Roland gave over and beyond of himself and I'm so grateful." - Joel