In 1949, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher became the first African American student admitted to OU Law. Her admission to law school, however, was preceded by a three-year legal battle. At the time of her application to OU’s law school in January 1946, Oklahoma schools were segregated, and she was denied admission on racial grounds. With the support of civic leaders and grassroots supporters, Fisher challenged the decision through the court system, ultimately reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously in her favor. Fisher was finally admitted to the OU College of Law on June 18, 1949. Her landmark case laid the groundwork for the elimination of segregation in public education nationwide. After graduating from the OU College of Law in 1951, Fisher practiced law in Chickasha and later joined the faculty at Langston University. In 1991, OU awarded her an honorary doctorate of humane letters, and the following year, she was appointed to the OU Board of Regents – the very group that once rejected her. Fisher died Oct. 18, 1995.
“Dr. Fisher was an everyday person who had the courage, the spirit, the smarts and the love to do superhuman things. She empowers each and every one of us by showing us what standing up and speaking up can do. She believed in herself, and paradoxically in so doing, she revealed her belief in us. She is an inspiration come to life.” - OU Law Dean Katheleen Guzman