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Gaylord College scholarship opportunities

Each year the Gaylord College awards nearly $250,000 in scholarships exclusively to journalism and mass communication majors. Approximately $36,000 of that is reserved for incoming freshmen demonstrating academic and journalistic promise. Recipients of freshman scholarships usually participate in a scholars class enrichment program. Transfer students are eligible for all upperclassmen scholarships.

Scholarship Application Process

Fill out the FAFSA every year.


Go to
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Go to the CASH site and submit your application(s).

Go to the CASH site
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Watch your OU email and mailbox for notification.

Application Deadlines

Applications Open! Visit the CASH site to fill out the form. 

Scholarships for study abroad now open until February 14, 2019. 

Scholarship and Awards Ceremony

Held in the Spring Semester

Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation Auditorium
Gaylord Hall, Room 1140

Freshman Scholarships

Students apply for the Freshman and Four-Year scholarships by indicating an interest in journalism and mass communication on their OU admission application.

Journalism Merit Scholarship

Barbara and Don Sessions of Burneyville, Oklahoma, are longtime supporters of the University of Oklahoma and Gaylord College. Mrs. Sessions, a 1968 and 1971 degree-holder and member of the Oklahoma Daily staff, and Mr. Sessions, a 1968 and1970 degree-holder, established the Journalism Merit Scholarship fund. These scholarships are awarded to the best and brightest high school graduates expressing a desire to major in journalism and mass communication at OU. 

Gaylord Family Freshman Scholarships

In conjunction with the $22-million gift by the Edward L. Gaylord family, the Gaylord Family endowment provides scholarships for deserving high school students who have expressed an interest in journalism and mass communication. Priority is given to freshman students in an effort to recruit outstanding high school seniors who have excelled in their school’s newspaper, yearbook, and broadcast programs.

Four-Year Scholarships

Mildred Nichols Hamilton Memorial Scholars

Mildred Nichols Hamilton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma in 1943. Ms. Hamilton challenged the convention of her time when she broke the all-male barrier in the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium press box by taking a seat reserved for The Oklahoma Daily’s editor, a position she held in the fall of 1943. A simple act, perhaps, but its impact would ripple across generations of women studying journalism at OU.

Times may be different, but Hamilton, who passed away in 2010, continues to have an impact on women in journalism, directing over $1 million of her estate to OU which established a scholarship endowment for female students in Gaylord College. The scholarship endowment is one of the largest in the Gaylord College.

Hamilton’s lengthy professional career included reporting for the Baton Rouge, La. Morning Advocate and News; the Oklahoma City bureau of the Associated Press; the Vallejo Times-Herald; and the San Francisco Examiner, where she spent 30 years as a top feature writer.  She also covered national and international conferences on women’s rights. In 1955, she received the Reid Foundation Fellowship, established by the Ogden Reid family of the New York Herald Tribune, and spent a year in Europe. After retiring from journalism, Hamilton earned her master’s degree in history from San Francisco State University in 1996 and also conducted research for the Hearst Foundation. She later contributed a chapter on Phoebe Apperson Hearst to the book “California Women and Politics: From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression.”

McMahon Memorial Scholars

The McMahon Foundation of Lawton, Oklahoma, has been supporting University of Oklahoma and journalism students since the early 1950’s. The McMahon Memorial Scholarship is a total of $10,000 paid over the course of four years. The scholarship is awarded to twenty students each year, five per class.

The Gaylord College Selection Committee chooses recipients based on ACT/SAT scores, GPA, and interviews. Scholarship recipients must maintain an overall OU GPA of 3.0, a Gaylord College GPA of 3.25 and major in Journalism with a focus on either print or broadcast journalism in order to continue receiving the award each semester.

McMahon Scholars are required to complete the following coursework through enrollment at the University of Oklahoma: macro-economics, micro-economics, and two courses in political science and US government.

International Travel Scholarships

Jim Dolan International Study Scholarship

Jim Dolan, a 1971 journalism alumnus, is the President and CEO of the Dolan Company of Minneapolis and member of the Gaylord College Board of Visitors. Dolan established this annual scholarship to assist students participating in the Gaylord College Study Abroad program. 

Joe and Jody Foote International Study Scholarship

Joe Foote, a 1971 broadcasting graduate and current Dean of Gaylord College and his wife, Jody, established this scholarship to assist students participating in the Gaylord College Study Abroad program. Dean Foote also serves as one of the faculty adviser/mentors and travels abroad with Gaylord College students each summer. 

Roger Frizzell International Study Scholarship

Roger Frizzell, Vice President of Corporate Communications of Carnival Corp., and member of the Gaylord College Board of Visitors, is a 1982 public relations alumnus of the college. The Frizzell scholarship assists students participating in the Gaylord College Study Abroad program.

Gaylord Family Study Abroad Scholarship

As a part of the $22-million gift by the Edward L. Gaylord family, the Gaylord endowment funds scholarships for deserving students majoring in journalism and mass communication wishing to participate in the Gaylord College’s Study Abroad program.

Upperclassmen Scholarships

These scholarships are available to both returning and transfer students enrolled in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.

Byron L. Abernethy Scholarships

Wishing to perpetuate the memory of her late husband, with whom she published The Duncan Banner, Georgine H. Abernethy endowed this scholarship fund in 1986. Under the terms of the endowment, the scholarships go to students who are majoring in journalism and have demonstrated outstanding scholastic ability; possess sound basic objectives in life; and strong ability, character, and attitude.


Harold R. Belknap Journalism Scholarship

This fund was established to honor Harold R. Belknap, late publisher of The Norman Transcript. The scholarship is awarded to Gaylord College students hailing from the state of Oklahoma having reached at least a sophomore standing, while demonstrating experience in proven newspaper-related activities, and maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or better.


Arney Brown Memorial Scholarship

Established by the C. Arnold Brown family of Tulsa, this scholarship is awarded annually in memory of the Brown’s son, Arney, a 1972 advertising alumnus and successful advertising professional whose life was cut short by pancreatic cancer in 1997. The scholarship is awarded to Gaylord College students majoring in advertising or public relations, maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.


Carol J. Burr Scholarship

Awarded to undergraduate students of Gaylord College maintaining a minimum 3.25 GPA or higher. The scholarship was funded by Owen Hewitt, 1960 alumnus, in recognition of 1959 Journalism alumna, Carol J. Burr, to honor the many contributions she has made to the University of Oklahoma, the OU Foundation, and as editor of Sooner Magazine.


Mary Ellen Hipp Doyle Scholarship

A 1956 graduate and longtime supporter of journalism at OU, Mrs. Doyle sponsors this scholarship to “enrich the lives of others as much as the university has enriched me.” The scholarship is awarded annually to a student demonstrating creativity and excellence in the College.


Brad Edwards Memorial Scholarship

 This scholarship was established by the family, friends, and colleagues of the late and much-loved KFOR-TV reporter and “In Your Corner” segment founder, Brad Edwards. Edwards’ accomplished career and gifted life was cut short in 2006. However, his legacy lives on with this scholarship.

William Foster-Harris Scholarship

Friends and former students of former faculty member William Foster-Harris funded this scholarship as a way to honor and thank Foster-Harris for the dedicated years he spent developing the creative writing talents of students. This scholarship is awarded annually to a student showing promise as a professional writer.


Gaylord College General Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded through the Gaylord College general scholarship endowment fund. Awards are made to sophomores, juniors and seniors seeking degrees in the five majors offered by the College.


Tripp Hall Scholarship in Public Relations

Jim “Tripp” Hall, III, who has served in leadership positions in alumni affairs and development at the University of Oklahoma for more than 15 years, was named Vice President of University Development in 2008. Vice President Hall (PR, ’86), has generously funded this annual scholarship to benefit undergraduate Public Relations students exhibiting scholastic excellence and financial need.


Mike W. Hammer Scholarship

Established through the estate of Marianne Hammer, in memory of her son, Mike, this scholarship is available to eligible Gaylord College students exhibiting the qualities indicative of an individual who might pursue a career as an investigative reporter.


Will Hancock Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was funded by Bill Hancock, a 1972 alum, and his wife, Nicki Hancock, of Kansas City, in memory of their son, Will. Will was the Media Relations Director for Oklahoma State University when he died on January 27, 2001, in an airplane accident that also took the lives of multiple OSU Athletics officials and men’s basketball team members. It is the desire of the Hancock’s that the scholarship is awarded annually to a Gaylord College student expressing an interest in print journalism and/or sports public relations. 

Stewart Harral Memorial Scholarship

Given in memory of Stewart Harral, former director of the Journalism School and Press Relations Director for the University of Oklahoma. Harral established the public relations sequence at OU, the first such degree program in the United States. The scholarship fund was established by family, friends, colleagues, and former students of the much-loved Harral. This award goes to public relations juniors and seniors who have demonstrated high potential for success. 

“Hold the Johnson Land” Scholarship in Honor of Margaret and Sam

This scholarship is funded by 1967 journalism alumna Linda Johnson in honor of her parents Margaret and Sam Johnson. As a student, Johnson, former editor of The Oklahoma Daily, benefited from scholarship assistance throughout her career at OU. Upon graduation with distinction, Johnson promised herself that she would “repay” her scholarship funding and more. “There will always be OU journalism students in need of financial support to meet their dreams of becoming an OU graduate. I am fortunate to be able to do my part as a proud alum.” Preference is given to students interested in pursuing a career in newspaper or broadcast sports or public relations. 

C. Joe and Marie B. Holland Scholarship

Dr. Holland, director of the Journalism School in the 1960’s, also served as editorial supervisor of The Oklahoma Daily, was an officer of the OU chapter of Phi Beta Kappa fraternity, and sponsored the J School’s chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha honorary society. This scholarship is awarded to a sophomore, junior, or senior enrolled in Gaylord College.

Charles T. (Chuck) House “Man Bites Dog” Oklahoma Daily Honorarium

Friends and former students established this award to honor “Chuck” House, former editorial adviser of The Oklahoma Daily. The award goes to a junior or senior staff member who epitomizes the qualities House believed in and passed on to his students.

J. W. and Grace Muckle Kayser and Theodore A. Gilbert Memorial Scholarship

Awarded in memory of the late J.W. and Grace Muckle Kayser, owners and publishers of the Chickasha Star for 47 years and Theodore A. Gilbert. This scholarship is awarded to outstanding sophomore students with an interest in journalism or mass communication.

Rob Kelley Memorial Scholarship

 Awarded in memory of Rob Kelley, a 1992 Radio/TV/Film alumnus, who sadly lost his battle with cancer in 1994. His parents, Bob and Judy Kelley endowed this scholarship for a deserving student in the creative media production sequence.

Michael Tod Lilburn Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was endowed by the family of Michael Tod Lilburn, a 1986 Radio/TV/Film graduate. Following college, Tod polished his craft while on television news assignments in Lawton, OK, Tulsa, OK, and Winston-Salem, NC.  He moved to San Diego with his wife, Koren, in 1997, and after the birth of their son David in 1998, successfully embarked upon his career with the San Diego Insider, a TV news magazine. Although his work gave him opportunity to interview many celebrities and dignitaries, his love of everyday people shone through in the human interest stories that earned him numerous awards - including four Emmys, four Golden Mikes, and four La Plumes. Tod had a genuine interest in all people he met, and those in his stories became his friends. On August 3, 2006 Tod was en route to produce a documentary on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. A helicopter crash off the coast of Oregon took his life and all aboard. The Lilburn family established the Michael Tod Lilburn Memorial Scholarship to live on in perpetuity. The scholarship is awarded each year to a Gaylord College student majoring in creative media production, with an interest in photo journalism. The Lilburn family has been generous enough to share a DVD of the episode of “Eye on San Diego” featuring Tod’s final two segments of photo journalism. The DVD will be shared annually with each scholarship recipient to impress upon them the importance and talent that was Tod Lilburn.

Charlie Long Memorial/Gaylord in Washington Scholarship

This scholarship was funded by Phil Kyle, Esq. (1957, Accounting, 1963, Juris Doctorate), the Ralph and Francis McGill Foundation, and the Lloyd K. and Peggy L. Stephens Foundation to honor the memory of Charlie Long, a loyal and dedicated Sooner and 1960 Journalism alum whose career saw stints as the editorial writer for The Norman Transcript and as editor for the Society of Professional Journalist’s Quill magazine.

Paul Massad Scholarship in Public Relations

This endowed scholarship was generously funded with an initial and subsequent gifts by Ann Basinger (’61, PR) in honor of classmate, Paul D. Massad (’60, PR). Vice President Emeritus Massad was awarded the 2008 JayMac Distinguished Alumni Award. Massad’s stellar career at OU spans over 50 years. Since the initial gift from Mrs. Basinger, many friends, family members, and colleagues have followed suit by making contributions to the Massad Scholarship Fund for undergraduate Public Relations students with financial need.

Wheeler Mayo Scholarship

Recognizes long-time Oklahoma newspaper figure Wheeler Mayo (1902 - 1975.) Mayo was publisher of several weekly newspapers in eastern Oklahoma and was president of the Oklahoma Press Association in 1944. Mayo’s son, Jim, 1964 Journalism alum and 1996 JayMac Distinguished Alumni Award winner, carries on the family newspaper torch after taking over as publisher for the Sequoyah County Times in Sallisaw following his father’s retirement. This scholarship is awarded to students with an outstanding scholastic record and exceptional professional promise in the area of community journalism.

Gary McKinney Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship for students majoring in journalism was made possible through an endowed estate gift from the Hardy and Ann McKinney Trust, created in memory of their son, Gary, a successful journalist prior to his death.

Davie Belle Eaton Mercer Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship fund was created by the late Mrs. Mercer, a 1933 Journalism alumna, to bestow upon outstanding students in the field of journalism.

Jim Miller Journalism Scholarship  

Awarded in honor of Jim Miller, retired publisher of The Norman Transcript. Mr. Miller retired from The Transcript after a newspaper career in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. His son Tim endowed this fund in an effort to provide scholarships for journalism students in good standing and rewarding satisfactory progress toward graduation. 

Louise B. Moore Award for Reportorial Excellence

To honor the memory of much-loved Associate Professor Emeritus Louise B. Moore, this award is given to the reporter for The Oklahoma Daily who demonstrates the highest level of excellence in reporting. Professor Moore retired after nearly 20 years as editorial supervisor of The Oklahoma Daily.

Howard F. and Jane Price Scholarship

Funded by 1971 OU alumnus and member of the Gaylord College Board of Visitors Howard Price and his wife, Jane. Price is President of Multi-Net Marketing, Inc. a national firm, founded in 1995, serving small to medium-sized radio networks and various programming syndicators. Multi-Net is the second largest advertising agency in Colorado Springs, placing advertising for accounts ranging from Geico, Pfizer, Conagra, Discover Card, American Express, and many more. As a student at OU, Price received a scholarship from Oklahoma City’s KOCO-TV which made such a lasting impression on him that he feels it is his duty and responsibility to do the same for Gaylord College students now and always. The scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving student with an interest in broadcasting.

Richard L. Reynolds and Lee Reynolds Senior Scholarship

Established by long-time Norman businessman and 1955 OU Finance alumnus, Richard L. Reynolds and his daughter, Lee Reynolds, a 1977 Public Relations alumna. This scholarship was created to assist in-state students entering their senior year majoring in any of the five degrees Gaylord College offers. The student must maintain a 3.0 GPA and exhibit a need for supplemental financial assistance.

Wilbur Rice Memorial Scholarship

Funded by Janis Rice Grogan, daughter of the late Wilbur Rice, former advertising manager of the Lawton Constitution for more than forty-five years. This scholarship is awarded to advertising majors exhibiting scholastic excellence.

Dorrance D. Roderick Scholarship 

Established in 1964, this scholarship was made available by Dorrance D. Roderick, 1922 OU journalism graduate and former editor of the Sooner Yearbook. Roderick, who was publisher of The El Paso Times, was instrumental in the establishment of the Herbert-Priestley Resources Center to honor his long-time friend and former teacher. The scholarship is awarded annually to scholastically talented and promising journalism students from the Southwestern part of the United States.

Minnie and Robert Rubenstein Family Scholarship

This scholarship fund was established by Greg Rubenstein, a 1972 public relations graduate, as a way to express his love for and deep appreciation of his late parents, Minnie and Robert, and his late brother Bart, for the support and guidance they so freely gave throughout his life, particularly during his college years. Rubenstein also felt it his responsibility and absolute obligation to give back to the college that gave him so much during his years at OU. Following graduation, Rubenstein spent 10 years with Oklahoma newspapers in Durant, Enid and Tulsa, followed by cutting his teeth in corporate public relations and spent 15 years with oil giants, Getty Oil of Tulsa and Amoco Oil in Chicago. Prior to his retirement, Rubenstein spent five years in the marketing and corporate communications department of CNA Insurance Corp. in Chicago. The Rubenstein scholarship is awarded annually to students involved in college-sponsored activities and organizations that further the five sequences offered by Gaylord College. 

Ralph Sewell Scholarship in Political Reporting

Awarded to a student with an interest in political reporting. This scholarship honors Ralph Sewell, assistant managing editor of The Daily Oklahoman and The Oklahoma City Times for more than 39 years, began his journalism career with The Oklahoma Daily while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Known as the patriarch of the Capitol News Bureau in Oklahoma City, Sewell’s “Capitol Spotlight” column was published in 56 state newspapers. Following his “retirement” from The Daily Oklahoman, Sewell joined the faculty of OU’s J School. During his tenure, Sewell introduced the Legislative Reporting course, which he taught from 1973 until 1984. Students in the class were assigned to a small office in the basement of the Capitol, reporting on Oklahoma politics for small newspapers from around the state. Gaylord College students continue to benefit from Sewell’s principles annually through the Ralph Sewell Scholarship in Political Reporting. Throughout his noted career, Ralph Sewell set the tone for professional excellence and leadership, leaving an indelible legacy for generations of journalists.

Sherry Family Scholarship

This scholarship was established by Gaylord College Board of Visitors member and 1974 advertising alumna, Debbie Yount to honor her family and their commitment to educational excellence. Yount is Principal for The Clover Group, and is also a Gaylord College faculty member. The scholarship is awarded to students with an interest in advertising multimedia.

Robert E. and Allie Malvina Stephenson Political Journalism Scholarship

Malvina Stephenson, a 1936 Journalism School graduate, political columnist for The Tulsa World, and press secretary for the late Senator Robert S. Kerr, funded this scholarship to honor her parents, Robert and Allie. Allie Malvina Stephenson was a pioneer school teacher and Robert a pioneer lawyer and former Supreme Court Commission judge in the state of Oklahoma. Malvina Stephenson established the scholarship fund to encourage students to prepare themselves for reporting on government and political activities.

C. Renzi Stone Scholarship in Public Relations

Established by C. Renzi Stone, Gaylord College Board of Visitors member, 2000 OU alumnus, and the President and CEO of Saxum, headquartered in Oklahoma City. The scholarship is awarded to public relations students holding at least a 3.25 GPA with an interest in pursuing a career in the state of Oklahoma, following graduation. Recipients should also have a demonstrated commitment to community involvement, preferably with regular volunteer activities.

Joyce M. Taylor Memorial Scholarship

Brothers Alan and Warren Taylor chose to honor the exemplary life and carry forward the legacy of their sister, the late Joyce Marie Taylor, by establishing this scholarship in her name. A role model and leader even as a young student in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Joyce was a 1979 Phi Beta Kappa journalism graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She went on to become a highly successful and admired businesswoman. She began her professional career as a reporter in Muskogee, then joined Southwestern Bell, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, ultimately advancing to Regional President, Bay Area, and then Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Northern California, AT&T. Known for her intelligence, warmth and elegance, Joyce also had a passion for community service, working to improve, enrich and positively impact the lives of others. She was permanently honored as one of eight Bay Area humanitarians in the “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity,” a bronze monument in Oakland, California. Joyce remained committed to making the world a better place until her passing at the age of 53 in 2010.

Elmer J. and Juanita S. Thrower Memorial Scholarship

Elmer J. Thrower was the former publisher of The Hartshorne Sun. The children and family of Elmer J. and Juanita S. Thrower established this scholarship to honor the legacy of their father and his distinguished lifelong accomplishments.

Erik Logan Toppenberg Scholarship

Created by Erik Logan Toppenberg, president of Oprah Winfrey Network and an Oklahoma City native. Toppenberg did not have the financial ability or the academic standing to gain admission to the University of Oklahoma upon graduation from Northwest Classen High School in 1989. He was fortunate to find his passion in radio while in high school and that career continued to open doors for him. While Toppenberg worked through his career he has been struck by the lack of gender diversity in the media landscape. He has seen trends of improvement, but acknowledges there remains room for improvement. Eligible candidates for this scholarship must be full-time female students in Gaylord College, be residents of the state of Oklahoma, exhibit a need for supplemental financial assistance, and maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. Priority consideration is given to students who graduated high school from the OKC metro area public schools systems.

Jeannette B. Turner Memorial Award

Awarded to any student, regardless of program of study, who reports and/or provides commentary and reviews of fine arts-related activities, events and issues for The Oklahoma Daily. Nominee’s examples of fine arts news stories, commentaries an/or reviews are evaluated and awarded by their peers.

Stanley Vestal Memorial Scholarship

The professional writing program was begun by Walter S. Campbell at OU in 1939. Stanley Vestal was the pen name used by Campbell throughout his professional career. This scholarship is awarded to students who have completed a minimum number of hours in the professional writing sequence and exhibit potential in the field.

Larry Wade Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established by the family of the late Larry R. Wade, a 1971 Journalism alumnus, former mayor of Elk City, Oklahoma, and owner/publisher of The Elk City Daily News.  Wade, an Oklahoma native and longtime supporter of the university, served as the Chairman of the OU Board of Regents until his sudden death in 2011.

H. Merle Woods Scholarship for Community Journalism

This scholarship was established in memory of longtime El Reno newspaperman H. Merle Woods.  Woods was thought by many to be Oklahoma’s oldest journalist when he died at the age of 93. He was the publisher of the Weekly American from 1946 until he leased it to the El Reno Daily Tribune in 1958 where he wrote his “Americanisms” column. Woods graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1917 and was instrumental in starting The Oklahoma Daily. Woods served as president of the Oklahoma Press Association and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1973.