2018 Regents' Alumni Awards Honorees
Michael Burrage, Oklahoma City, earned his juris doctorate from the OU College of Law in 1974 and has since gone on to be an active alumnus and friend to the university and to the college, helping to provide excellence in legal education to students.
While at the OU College of Law, he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as the editor of the Oklahoma Law Review. Following graduation, he worked in a private practice in Antlers, where he was named Outstanding Young Lawyer in Oklahoma and served as the president of the Oklahoma Bar Association. A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Burrage became the first Native American to serve as United States District Judge for the Eastern, Northern and Western districts of Oklahoma when he was nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1994.
In 2001, Burrage returned to private practice, opening the Whitten Burrage Law Firm. He regularly lectures at legal continuing education seminars. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the OU College of Law Board of Visitors and was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers and the OU College of Law Order of the Owl Hall of Fame. He was named one of the Top Ten Oklahoma Super Lawyers by Super Lawyers Magazine. Burrage also sat on the Oklahoma Supreme Court Committee for Uniform Civil Jury Instructions.
Nominated by: Joseph Harroz Jr., dean, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Chris Cheatwood, Colleyville, Texas, is truly Sooner-born and Sooner-bred. His dedication to the university began in the 1980s, when he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in geology in 1984. He went on to receive his master’s degree in geology from the University of Tulsa before joining ExxonMobil.
Cheatwood joined Pioneer Natural Resources in 1997, where he is now executive vice president and chief technology officer. His support of the university has included the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy undergraduate support, discretionary funding for the dean and for the director of the OU ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, capital structures at the Bartell Field Camp for the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, graduate fellowships for students and faculty support. He is instrumental in recruiting interns and full-time employees from the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, and personally matches employee gifts to the college. His involvement in the college has facilitated nearly $1.5 million in support. In 2016, Cheatwood accepted a Seed Sower sculpture, presented to donors whose cumulative gifts to OU total $1 million or more, on behalf of Pioneer Natural Resources. He regularly supports the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, OU Alumni Association and, with his wife Cathy, is an endowed associate in the OU President’s Associates program.
Cheatwood has served on the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics Alumni Advisory Council and on the Mewbourne College Board of Visitors as a member of the executive committee and as past chair. He was awarded the Mewbourne College Distinguished Alumni Award and is a member of the George Lynn Cross Heritage Society, which recognizes donors who benefit future generations through planned giving.
Nominated by: Mike Stice, dean, OU Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, and Dane Riggs, OU Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy
James L. Gallogly
James L. Gallogly, Norman, Oklahoma, is a visionary leader who will become the 14th president of the University of Oklahoma. He received his juris doctorate from the OU College of Law in 1977 and is the retired chief executive officer of LyondellBasell. He also was a senior executive at ConocoPhillips, where he ran every asset in the company at some point in his 29-year career there. He not only supports the university as a whole, but takes the time to work one-to-one with students, recruit international students and advance career opportunities for interns and graduates of OU.
In 2014, Gallogly and his wife, Janet, gave a gift to name the OU Gallogly College of Engineering and to expand facilities on the Norman campus with the construction of Gallogly Hall. In 2016, he and his family established the Gallogly Family Foundation Public Interest Fellowship Program in the OU College of Law.
In addition to serving for more than 20 years on the OU Gallogly College Board of Visitors, Gallogly also served on the 125th Anniversary Campaign Committee. He served on the board of directors of the American Chemistry Council and the Society of Chemical Industry, the University of Colorado Engineering Advisory Council and the University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Additionally, Gallogly served on the board of directors and executive committee at Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas. He is a member of the Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas bar associations. He is the recipient of the Petrochemical Heritage Award, the Chemists’ Club ICIS Kavaler Award, honorary doctorate of science from the University of Colorado, OU College of Law Order of the Owl as well as OU’s highest honor, the honorary doctoral degree of humane letters.
Nominated by: Tom Landers, dean, OU Gallogly College of Engineering, and Jill Hughes, OU Gallogly College of Engineering.
Joi S. Gordon
Joi S. Gordon, Queens, New York, graduated from OU with a degree in journalism before earning her juris doctorate from the OU College of Law. While at OU, Gordon was involved with the Black Law Student Association, General Counsel of the UOSA and served as a resident adviser and apartment coordinator. Since graduating, she has given generously of her time and resources to the university through the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, OU’s Women’s Philanthropy Network and the College of Law. Currently the chief executive officer for Dress for Success Worldwide based in New York City, Gordon hosts events to both match mentors with OU students and to provide networking opportunities for internships and careers. Under her leadership, Dress for Success Worldwide has expanded from a single location in Manhattan to a global entity in 163 cities in 30 countries that serves more than one million women.
Gordon received Gaylord College’s JayMac Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 and was named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by Network Journal Magazine. Additionally, she received the Business Law in Leadership Award from Lawyer’s Alliance, Herbert Woods Community Service Award from the Sylvia and Herbert Woods Scholarship Fund, Vice Chancellor’s Award from the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies, Ellis Island Medal of Honor and Legacy Award from Working Mother Media. She has served on the boards of many nonprofit organizations, including America’s Charities, My Daughter’s Keeper, Westchester Community College Retail Board of Advisors and Leadership America. Additionally, she has served on the women’s advisory boards for American Airlines, Office Depot and Hyperion Books. She is the 2018 Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication convocation speaker.
Nominated by: Ed Kelley, dean, OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Paul Massad, vice president emeritus, senior associate vice president and director of major gifts; and Lee Reynolds, director of development, OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication
Sam Hinkie, Palo Alto, California, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor in Business Administration in Finance in 2000. He was selected as one of the top 60 undergraduates in the nation by USA Today and went on to earn an MBA from Stanford, graduating with honors.
While at OU, he served as president of the Student Business Association, as chair of the Student Advisory Board of the JCPenney Leadership Program, chair of the President’s Roundtable for the college, and as CEO of a company through the Integrated Business Core. He was named both the Outstanding Senior and the Outstanding Finance Student in the Price
College of Business, as well as a Letzeiser Silver Medalist. Hinkie returned to campus as a Distinguished Visitor, received the Recent Alumni Award of Distinction and was named to Price Magazine’s 40 Under 40.
Professionally, Hinkie began his career at Bain & Company before stints in private equity and venture capital. Hinkie helped launch basketball’s analytics movement when he joined the Houston Rockets in 2005. Promoted to become the NBA’s youngest vice president before turning 30, Hinkie agreed to steward the Philadelphia 76ers as president and general manager in 2013. He built an innovative front office at the Sixers that was named by ESPN as the top team in all of professional sports for their use of analytics. In three seasons at the Sixers, Hinkie repositioned the franchise’s future and advocated for a long view by acquiring record numbers of talented young players and draft picks.
Hinkie is an adviser to entrepreneurs and invests as an angel in startups, especially those with a machine learning focus. He is a lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where he co-teaches several courses.
Nominated by: Daniel Pullin, dean, OU Price College Business
Jerry D. Holmes
Retired U. S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jerry D. Holmes, Norman, Oklahoma, brings the strengths and experience from his years in the U.S. Air Force to the students at the university in many ways. For nearly 30 years, he has served on the Gallogly College of Engineering Board of Visitors and as past chair of the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board. When Gallogly College enhanced its curriculum with professional development, Holmes developed a leadership, management and ethics course for engineers. He continues to mentor students and encourages them to learn and serve. Additionally, he served on Gallogly College’s Dean Search Committee, Advisory Council and Centennial Committee. He supports curriculum reviews, evaluates senior capstone projects and speaks regularly to classes and student groups.
While at OU, Holmes was in the USAF ROTC, Engineers’ Club, Society of Geological Engineering and on the Dean’s Honor Roll. While serving in the U.S. Air Force, he was commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Airborne Early Warning Force in Mons, Belgium. His honors include Defense Distinguished Service Medal; U.S. Air Force Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters; U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal; and Outstanding Unit Award with V for Valor in combat. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame; the Gallogly College of Engineering Distinguished Graduate Society; the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame; and the Quarter Century Club. He is a five-time recipient of the Alumni Teaching Award in the Gallogly College of Engineering. His legacy will continue in the Jerry Holmes Leadership Program and Jerry Holmes Student Scholarship for Engineering.
Nominated by: Tom Landers, dean, OU Gallogly College of Engineering, and Susy Calonkey, OU Gallogly College of Engineering
Phil Kramer, Houston, has long been a supporter of the university as a member of the Seed Sower Society; President’s Associates; OU Price College of Business Adams Society; and Sooner Club. In 2012, Kramer received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Price College of Business.
He grew up in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity while attending OU.
Kramer received his Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration accounting from OU in 1978 and then began his career with Arthur Andersen. Over time, he held various positions in Plains All American Pipeline, LLP, retiring as executive vice president in 2017. He is a past member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a current senior adviser
for the Price College Board of Advisors. Kramer also supports the Business Dean’s Excellence Fund and the Tom Love Center for Entrepreneurship. His OU roots run deep, with children Jeff and Kelli also graduating from OU. He and his wife, Patti, also an OU alumna, helped to establish the OU Price College Adams Society. His encouragement and insight have proven invaluable to Price College faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Nominated by: Daniel Pullin, dean, OU Price College of Business, and Kristen Lazalier, executive director, OU Price College External Relations
Julia Mainini, Paris, France, graduated with her master’s degree in marketing in 2004 from the Business School of Strasbourg, France. She then worked for three years as a sales representative for the French luxury international cosmetic brand Dessange. She decided to pursue her MBA at OU and graduated in 2008. While studying at OU, she worked as a graduate assistant at the Education Abroad Office. She also created and served as president of the French and French Speaking Student Association on the OU campus. She was recognized for her outstanding international leadership role on campus.
In 2009, she worked for the advertising company Ackerman McQueen before becoming the international agreements facilitator at Texas Tech University for three years.
She then headed back home to France, where she now works as an executive assistant brand manager for Nestle Waters. Since returning to France, Mainini established the OU France Alumni Network. She welcomes many alumni, donors and undergraduate and graduate students to France, where she also aids in the planning of events, dinners, meetings and galas.
Mainini is the inaugural recipient of the 40 Under 40 for Price College and is a life member of the OU Alumni Association.
Nominated by: Mylene Marchat, treasurer, OU French Alumni Network, and Daniel Pullin, dean, OU Price College of Business
Robert S. McKenny, Sr.
Robert S. McKenny, Sr., Southlake, Texas, graduated from OU in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. While at OU, he was both president and vice president of Sigma Chi fraternity. Following graduation, he joined ExxonMobil as a production engineer. Over his 35-year ExxonMobil career, he has worked in a variety of engineering and engineering leadership assignments on both domestic and international assets. In his current role, he leads the development team for the Midland Basin at XTO Energy.
McKenny served as past chair of the Mewbourne School of Petroleum Engineering Industry Advisory Board; as chair of the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Board of Visitors; and on the Executive Committee, Strategic Plan Committee and Development Committee for the Mewbourne College Board of Visitors. He has supported the university throughout his career, leading both ExxonMobil hiring of OU engineers and OU fundraising at ExxonMobil. Together with his wife Liz, they have created a scholarship in the Mewbourne School of Petroleum Engineering and support discretionary funds at the college and school levels. They are also founding members of the Mewbourne College Trailblazer Donor Society and members of the OU President’s Associates for more than 20 years.
McKenny has four generations of Sooners in his family with his grandfather, father and both children also being graduates. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas.
Nominated by: Mike Stice, dean, OU Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, and Dane Riggs, OU Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy
Gracie (Evans) and John D. Montgomery, Jr.
Gracie (Evans) and John D. Montgomery, Jr., Purcell, Oklahoma, are publishers of the Purcell Register, which was founded in 1887 and is one of the oldest newspapers in Oklahoma, and are longtime supporters of the university through their work with students interested in
Gracie is a member of Chi Omega Fraternity and serves as secretary of the Chi Omega Housing Corporation. Currently, she attends numerous OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication events, including student and faculty recruitment and coordinating fundraising activities. She has served as president of the OU Club of Purcell. In addition to being the second female recipient of the H. Milt Phillips Award, she served as the president of the Oklahoma Press Association. She was one of the original five member panelists of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, appointed by Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Marian Opala. Gracie also is a past chair of the Purcell Municipal Hospital Board. She and her husband, John D., established the Montgomery Family Endowed Scholarship Fund in the Gaylord College, and are members of the OU President’s Associates.
John D. is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and worked for the Sports Information Department while at OU. Since graduating, he has served on the Sigma Chi Housing Corp. and as president of the OU Club of Purcell; president of the Publications Board of OU; and member of the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors. He was honored with Gaylord College’s JayMac Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010 and was then the youngest member to serve as the president of the Oklahoma Press Association. He received the H. Milt Phillips Award from the Oklahoma Press Association. He and his wife, Gracie, established the Montgomery Family Endowed Scholarship Fund to perpetuate print journalism in the state of Oklahoma. Together, they have made invaluable contributions to community journalism. They are both members of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.
Four generations of both their families hold degrees from OU.
Nominated by: Ed Kelly, dean, OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass and Communication, and Lee Reynolds, OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass and Communication
David R. Proctor
David R. Proctor, Dallas, graduated Phi Beta Kappa with special distinction from OU with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1962. While on campus, he was involved in Phi Eta Sigma, Army ROTC and was one of the first National Merit Scholars on campus. He was one of three students to attend the American Mathematical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., in 1961.
Proctor had a distinguished career in the computer industry. He was heavily involved in the Apollo space program and he is a retired IBM executive. His post-IBM career involved working with troubled software companies, and he served as CEO and president of a number of these companies.
He and his wife, Judi, have supported the success of the university in many ways, including establishing scholarships in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts. Proctor served on the Live On, University Campaign, and has been a constant informal adviser to administration. He is a Distinguished President’s Associate; a lifelong member of the OU Alumni Association; Seed Sower Society; OU Bud Wilkinson Society; and the George Lynn Cross Heritage Society. Not only does the couple support students through every year of their academic career, they take the time to get to know the recipients, inviting them to dinners and taking interest in their work. Their friendship and devotion to their students is unequaled on campus.
Nominated by: Mary Margaret Holt, dean, OU Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, and David Wrobel, interim dean, OU College of Arts and Sciences
Jerry J. Ransom
Jerry J. Ransom, Greenville, Texas, graduated from OU in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering physics. He went on to complete his master’s and two doctoral degrees at Southern Methodist University in the following six years. While at OU, he was editor of the Sooner Shamrock, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and named Big Man on Campus.
Upon graduation from OU, he worked on highly-classified reconnaissance and surveillance programs for the U.S. government. In 1978, Ransom founded OmniSYS for the purpose of
developing computer-aided-transcription systems used by court and freelance reporters nationwide. These systems were used to report famous trials such as Pizza Connection, Westmorland v. CBS and both of OJ Simpson’s trials.
Subsequently, his companies focused on systems and services for the healthcare industry with a focus on reducing the cost of healthcare through technology. One of the products is the benchmark for over 25,000 independent, small-to-medium and mega-chain pharmacies nationwide. He is also recognized for his philanthropic efforts and long-term community service.
An avid golfer, his support for OU Golf includes the Ransom Short Course, a world-class facility for recruiting student athletes and training golf course management. He is an honorary member of the Chip-In-Club Board of Directors. Ransom established the Jerry J. Ransom Pro-Jr-Am, a partnership with the Northern Texas PGA, for the perpetuation of junior golf including an annual scholarship for an OU student.
Ransom has two children: daughter Elizabeth Ann, married to Tim Donham; a son, Derrick Ransom; and, granddaughter, Sarah Grace Donham. He sadly notes that both of his children graduated from the University of Texas. He resides in Greenville with life partner, Tommie Lynn Kerr, and three miniature Australian Shepherds. His contributions to the university will live on through many generations of students.
Nominated by: Joseph R. Castiglione, director, OU Athletics
Shawn Emerson Simmons
Shawn Emerson Simmons, Houston, graduated from OU in 1993 with a degree in petroleum engineering and went on to work as an environmental and permitting manager with ExxonMobil. While at OU, she was involved in Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Multicultural Engineering Program, Engineers’ Club, Pi Epsilon Tau and Society of Petroleum Engineers. She was named Miss Black OU and received the Black Engineer of the Year and the Volunteer Spirit Award as a student.
Currently, Simmons serves as chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board on Diversity and Inclusion in the Gallogly College of Engineering and on the Gallogly College Board of Visitors, where she is leading the college through a giving campaign in support of Gallogly Hall’s Inclusion and Diversity wing. She regularly serves as host for engineering events in Houston and is a champion for OU Engineering within ExxonMobil. Other programs that have her support include the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, Diversity and Inclusion Programs, OU Women in Engineering, Wayne Steen Scholarship Fund, Gallogly Hall, Henderson Scholars, National Black Alumni, National Society of Black Engineers and the OU Society of Black Alumni in Houston. She is a true role model for OU students.
Nominated by: Tom Landers, dean, OU Gallogly College of Engineering, and
the OU Gallogly College of Engineering Development Team