NORMAN – Allen King, director of landscaping and grounds, has been named the 2018 recipient of the $20,000 Otis Sullivant Award for Perceptivity at the University of Oklahoma.
The late Edith Kinney Gaylord of Oklahoma City established the Sullivant Prize endowment shortly before her death in January 2001. The award honors the late longtime Oklahoma journalist Otis Sullivant, who covered Oklahoma and national political news for several decades and was known for his ability to analyze and accurately predict political trends. Edith Kinney Gaylord was a longtime supporter of many OU programs and a pioneering journalist. She was the first woman reporter to join the New York bureau of the Associated Press, and was the second president and one of the founders of the Women’s National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the selection committee, which is composed of faculty and staff members, students and alumni, select each year’s recipient.
The Otis Sullivant Award is presented to a faculty or staff member at OU who exhibits “keen perceptivity.” The agreement establishing the prize also states that a person “who manifests intuitiveness, instant comprehension, empathy, is observant and interprets from experience” should be selected. The benefit to society and the broader community, which comes from the insight of the recipient, also is considered.
King joined the university 31 years ago as a temporary groundskeeper and quickly rose through the ranks. He was named director in 2007. With the support of his staff, King is responsible for overseeing all landscaping and grounds keeping efforts on the Norman campus. For the past 26 years, King also has been responsible for maintaining the iconic chrysanthemum display found each fall on the Van Vleet (South) Oval, which attracts thousands of visitors annually. Led by the vision of First Lady Molly Shi Boren, such beautification efforts have resulted in OU’s campus being consistently recognized among the most beautiful in the nation.
In addition to overseeing landscaping for new construction projects on the Norman campus, King has designed several landscaping and beautification projects for the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center as well as OU’s Research Campus. He also oversees the layout and orientation plans for the university’s bench program through which donors are able to dedicate park benches in honor of individuals or groups across campus. Following the ice storm of 2007, under the leadership of First Lady Molly Shi Boren, King helped organize the Rake It Up event during which OU students volunteered to clean up damaged trees and fallen debris on campus. Through the successful Reforestation Campaign, also led by First Lady Molly Shi Boren, King and his staff then aided in the planting of more than 2,000 trees across all three OU campuses.
King has received the Regent’s Superior Staff Award, Award of Merit from the National Chrysanthemum Society, Staff Senate’s Distinguished Performance Award, and was previously an Arbor Day Honoree for his efforts in overseeing the planting of more than 20,000 trees at the university.
“We are thrilled for Allen to receive this award as he is an individual who truly personifies the quality of perceptivity through beautification projects at OU,” said Bob Ross, president and CEO of the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. “It is an honor to present this award to such a talented and deserving recipient on behalf of the foundation.”