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FEB 8 | This I Believe: OU

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More "This I Believe: OU" Events

University of Oklahoma's University College continues to host "This I Believe: OU" in association with their Gateway to College Learning Course. For current event information, please visit their event page.

This I Believe: OU - 2018


Join us Thursday, February 8, 2018 for This I Believe: OU, from 3:00-5:00pm in the Mary Eddy and Freddy Jones Auditorium, located on the lower level of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Avenue, Norman OK.  

A selected group of students who completed University College's Gateway to College Learning course in Fall 2017, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members will present their personal "This I Believe" essays. The event will be a wonderful opportunity to come together as community, share perspectives, and grow in our deepening understanding of human flourishing. Each presenter will share one or more virtues connected to his/her "This I Believe" essay. To further explore the nine virtues, click here.

This event is part of the Institute's Common Read program, which is funded by the Institute and administered through University College's Freshman Programs.

2018 This I Believe: OU Presenters


William, a member of the President's Community Scholars, has a vision for his classmates to bring to light the university's greatest resource, the power of the students and their well-being, specifically in supporting more civic projects that benefit the community and beyond.  William will be volunteering to help elect a gubernatorial candidate this coming year. He will also study abroad in Italy this summer. William has volunteered on campus for many worthwhile projects through his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, as well.  He has been honored to be nominated for the University College’s Dean’s Advisory Council and for Crimson Club.  An Eagle Scout, William is no stranger to hard work, discipline and the importance of character. He is deeply engaged and committed to  creating a better university by serving as the best student ambassador he can be.


In 1967, Dr. George Henderson became the University of Oklahoma’s third full-time African American faculty member at the Norman campus. In 1969, he became the Sylvan N. Goldman Professor of Human Relations, Education and Sociology. Later, he was appointed to three other distinguished professorships: David Ross Boyd Professor, Regents’ Professor, and Kerr-McGee Presidential Professor. After he became the Goldman Professor, he founded the Human Relations Department, which he chaired for 20 years. From 1996 to 2000, he was dean of the College of Liberal Studies. Thus, he was the first African American in Oklahoma to hold a distinguished professorship; and he was the first African American at the University of Oklahoma to create a degree-granting department; and the first African American dean of a degree-granting college on the Norman campus. Although he retired from OU in 2006, he still teaches on a part-time basis.

A civil rights pioneer in higher education in Oklahoma, George Henderson has achieved many other notable accomplishments. His awards and honors include being the recipient of the OU Regents Superior Teaching Award (1977); University of Oklahoma and University of Oklahoma Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award (1992); American Association for Higher Education's Black Caucus Award for Outstanding Educational Service (1993); C.V. Ramana Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Mental Health of Oklahoma's Children (1996); Outstanding Professor Award, University of Oklahoma Interfraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Association (1997); Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Medal for the Outstanding College and University Professor (2000); State of Oklahoma Black Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award (2003); induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame (2003) and also induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (2003). In 2010, the Oklahoma City/Norman Chapter of the OU Black Alumni Society awarded him a “Trailblazer Award for Distinguished Service.” The Henderson Scholars Program and the Henderson-Tolson Cultural Center on the Norman campus bear his name. The University of Oklahoma awarded him an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Humane Letters) at the May 2011 Commencement. In 2015, Oklahoma Today Magazine named Dr. Henderson one of the forty-five most influential African American Oklahomans.

A race relations and civil rights scholar, George Henderson has taught university courses and spoken at conferences and workshops throughout the United States and internationally. In addition, he has written 34 books and 50 articles, presented papers at over 100 professional conferences, been a consultant to dozens of state and national organizations, and been a keynote speaker at over 200 student meetings. Prominent among his books are To Live in Freedom: Human Relations Today and Tomorrow (1972); Human Relations: From Theory to Practice (1974); Cultural Diversity in the Workplace (1994); Migrants, Immigrants and Slaves (1995); Human Relations Issues in Management (1996); Our Souls to Keep: Black/White Relations in America (1999); Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (2004); Race and the University: A Memoir  (2010); and A Human Relations Approach to Multiculturalism in K-12 Schools(2013). In 2011, the Oklahoma Historical Society selected Race and the University as the Outstanding Book on Oklahoma History published in 2010. Also in 2011, Dr. Henderson and his wife Barbara were recipients of the Xenia Institute’s Sam Mathews Social Justice Award. They were the first African American property owners in Norman. They are the parents of seven children and the grandparents of eight grandchildren. Dr. Henderson’s master’s degree in sociology and Ph.D. in educational sociology are from Wayne State University in Detroit.


Madison is a freshman at OU and hails from Catoosa, Oklahoma, a small-town east of Tulsa. She is a psychology major and plans to become an Occupational Therapist, specializing in Geriatrics. Madison loves to play sports and read.


Jonathan Domingo, a freshman, lived in Los Angeles before moving to Oklahoma and graduating from Southmoore High School. Jonathan is working his way through college at a local eatery on campus corner. Jonathan is exploring majors. He enjoys performing stand-up comedy and working out in his free time. Jonathan is extremely proud of both his mother, who is a teacher and a single mom, and his brother, who is a marine.

Jonathan is enjoying OU, exploring his passions, and taking advantage of opportunities to live up to his potential.


Tiandra Forrester is a 19 year-old freshman at OU. She lives by the philosophy that “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Tiandra is the epitome of determination, believing that hard work and dedication will aid in her path to success. She was born in Petersfield, Jamaica, and lived there for most her life. She holds her culture and her heritage close to her heart and is proud to be a Jamaican. Tiandra has interests in the fields of law and journalism. She wishes to become a lawyer for a nonprofit organization and a community leader. Tiandra is involved in various community outreach programs, including BSA and BLISS. She volunteers for local churches, schools, and nonprofits. Tiandra recently won the title of  Miss Black and Gold. Her platform is “Building Bridges Across Cultures” and plans on creating a mentorship program that provides the tools for easing the transition for first generation and immigrant students as well as financial and emotional support. Tiandra is passionate about mentorship.


In 1967, Dr. George Henderson became the University of Oklahoma’s third full-time African American faculty member at the Norman campus. In 1969, he became the Sylvan N. Goldman Professor of Human Relations, Education and Sociology. Later, he was appointed to three other distinguished professorships: David Ross Boyd Professor, Regents’ Professor, and Kerr-McGee Presidential Professor. After he became the Goldman Professor, he founded the Human Relations Department, which he chaired for 20 years. From 1996 to 2000, he was dean of the College of Liberal Studies. Thus, he was the first African American in Oklahoma to hold a distinguished professorship; and he was the first African American at the University of Oklahoma to create a degree-granting department; and the first African American dean of a degree-granting college on the Norman campus. Although he retired from OU in 2006, he still teaches on a part-time basis.

A civil rights pioneer in higher education in Oklahoma, George Henderson has achieved many other notable accomplishments. His awards and honors include being the recipient of the OU Regents Superior Teaching Award (1977); University of Oklahoma and University of Oklahoma Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award (1992); American Association for Higher Education's Black Caucus Award for Outstanding Educational Service (1993); C.V. Ramana Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Mental Health of Oklahoma's Children (1996); Outstanding Professor Award, University of Oklahoma Interfraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Association (1997); Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Medal for the Outstanding College and University Professor (2000); State of Oklahoma Black Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award (2003); induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame (2003) and also induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (2003). In 2010, the Oklahoma City/Norman Chapter of the OU Black Alumni Society awarded him a “Trailblazer Award for Distinguished Service.” The Henderson Scholars Program and the Henderson-Tolson Cultural Center on the Norman campus bear his name. The University of Oklahoma awarded him an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Humane Letters) at the May 2011 Commencement. In 2015, Oklahoma Today Magazine named Dr. Henderson one of the forty-five most influential African American Oklahomans.

A race relations and civil rights scholar, George Henderson has taught university courses and spoken at conferences and workshops throughout the United States and internationally. In addition, he has written 34 books and 50 articles, presented papers at over 100 professional conferences, been a consultant to dozens of state and national organizations, and been a keynote speaker at over 200 student meetings. Prominent among his books are To Live in Freedom: Human Relations Today and Tomorrow (1972); Human Relations: From Theory to Practice (1974); Cultural Diversity in the Workplace (1994); Migrants, Immigrants and Slaves (1995); Human Relations Issues in Management (1996); Our Souls to Keep: Black/White Relations in America (1999); Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (2004); Race and the University: A Memoir  (2010); and A Human Relations Approach to Multiculturalism in K-12 Schools(2013). In 2011, the Oklahoma Historical Society selected Race and the University as the Outstanding Book on Oklahoma History published in 2010. Also in 2011, Dr. Henderson and his wife Barbara were recipients of the Xenia Institute’s Sam Mathews Social Justice Award. They were the first African American property owners in Norman. They are the parents of seven children and the grandparents of eight grandchildren. Dr. Henderson’s master’s degree in sociology and Ph.D. in educational sociology are from Wayne State University in Detroit.


Margarita was born in 1998. She grew up in Yerevan, Armenia. She studied at a school of music for ten years. Margarita plays piano and sings and has toured academic singer soloist with orchestras in France and Armenia. In 2015 Margarita was nominated to take part in the “Atlantic School for Young Leaders” summer course, where she gained knowledge about organizing, writing a business plan, and how to get funds for an individual project. In 2015 she got full scholarship to study IB at UWC Dilijan College. She started her career as Event/Project Manager while in high school. Margarita created the School Choir and Sustainability Service and organized various events, and concerts. She also founded the Dilijan Leadership Program in 2016 and raised funds for two projects. Margarita is a freshman at OU, currently majoring in Business Management and minoring in Voice Performance.


Jeff Ragan is the love & joy filled Founder and CEO of KiZE Concepts Inc., an Oklahoma City based healthy lifestyle company that manufactures KiZE Bars and other food and service concepts with a give-back component. KiZE’s mission, passion, and purpose is to change lives through food, service, and charity. Give-back initiatives range from the “1 Feeds 2” feeding program with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and their “Project Haiti” initiative where each KiZE Bar purchase has helped build family-centered orphan homes and running an entrepreneurial style daily feeding program where almost 1,000 Haitians are being fed daily while learning to run their own business. Jeff graduated from OU in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration.


Deborah Shropshire, MD, MHA serves as the Deputy Director for Child Welfare Community Partnerships and as a pediatrician providing clinical care to children in foster care. She is also the Medical Director for Child Welfare Services. Her advocacy and heart for traumatized children has been nationally recognized. However, it is her belief that we can influence this work to create a better future which makes this presentation informative, innovative, and valuable.

Dr. Shropshire earned a B.S. in Biology from Southern Nazarene University, a M.H.A. – Master of Health Administration and Policy from the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, and an M.D. – Medical Doctor – Board Certified in Pediatrics from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.


Teresa Turner is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Education in Counseling.  She is a former member of the OU Women’s Basketball team and was one of the first Black scholarship recipients. As a student-athlete, Teresa also received the OU Athletics Department Prentice Gautt Award, given for outstanding academic and athletic achievement. 

Teresa serves as Director of Student Athelete Experience. She received an OU Outstanding Service Award and was the inaugural recipient of the OU Athletics Department Inspiring Champions Award which is given for exemplifying the mission and values of the department and the University by performing above and beyond to “Inspire Champions Today and Prepare Leaders for Tomorrow”.

Teresa currently serves as a member of: the OU Professional Staff Association, Varsity “O” Association, the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, Women Leaders in College Sports, Women and Gender Studies Board of Advocates, Health and Exercise Science Board of Advocates, Norman Regional Health Foundation Board member and chair of the awards and grants committee, and a volunteer with Cleveland County as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA).  

Teresa and her husband, Richard, who was also a student athlete at the University of Oklahoma, have three children. Their children: Chelsea, Steven, and Mariah, have all received graduate degrees from OU. 


Anabelle Weissinger is a Non-binary professional writing major and film and media studies minor. They are from Paoli, Oklahoma, and graduated from Paoli High School. They are a martial artist and poet, interested in LGBTQ activism and transcendentalism. Currently, they are involved in engagement at the OU Daily. In the future, they hope to write and publish screenplays, plays, children’s books, poetry books, and short stories.

Videos from 2016 This I Believe: OU