The Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society has selected 11 individuals for induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. The 2020 induction ceremony, scheduled for Nov. 2, has been cancelled due to the continuing health and safety risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The society will announce its plan for rescheduling the event to honor the class of 2020 in the near future.
Each of the 11 individuals inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame class of 2020 exhibit distinguished levels of service and contribution to the state’s system of higher education.
A member of the Southwestern Oklahoma State University faculty for 29 years, Les Crall taught accounting, finance and business law and for his last seven years served as associate dean of the Everett Dobson School of Business and Technology. A founding member of the SWOSU Athletic Association, Crall still serves on its board and was received the Cecil Perkins Service Awards in 2018.
JoLaine Draugalis came to the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy as its new dean in 2007, having previously served at the University of Arizona. In the 13 years she has served as dean at OU, the College of Pharmacy has seen annual publications, extramural funding, national and international presentations and national student recognition increase substantially.
The 15th president of Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Tim Faltyn has helped the institution achieve all-time highs in graduation rates, fundraising, enrollment growth and national rankings. A first-generation college graduate, Faltyn’s educational pedigree includes degree from Central New Mexico University, the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and postdoctoral training at Harvard.
A mainstay of the Enid community for many years, Bert Mackie currently serves as the vice chairman of Security National Bank’s board of directors, though his tenure with the bank reaches back nearly 60 years. Mackie has championed higher education in northwest Oklahoma, leading fundraising efforts for scholarships in the area and previously serving with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Joseph Missal is celebrating 35 years as the director of bands and regent’s professor of conducting at Oklahoma State University. His ensembles have performed nationally and internationally in a wide variety of settings, and many of his former students now serve as music educators in high school, college or hold professional conducting positions throughout the United States.
Professor of chemical engineering and Gallogy Chair at the University of Oklahoma, Daniel Resasco specializes in the study of catalysts and nanomaterials for a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications. He is the author of over 300 publications, holds more than 40 industrial patents, and has received approximately 27,000 citations in scientific literature.
Carl Renfro served as the chairman and CEO of Pioneer Bank & Trust in Ponca City from 1979-2006 and played a major role in establishing the city’s University Center, which provides access to college courses from institutions throughout the state. Renfro and his wife have endowed permanent scholarship funds with the University Center Foundation as well as a lecture series at Northern Oklahoma College.
Originally from Blackwell, Okla., Paul Risser held a diverse range of professional positions throughout his long career, but always showed an absolute dedication to the importance of higher education. The well-published ecologist taught in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Ohio and Oregon, among others, and served as chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education from 2003-06. Risser died in 2014.
Part of the first generation of his family to go to college, David Sabatini went on to earn his Ph.D in civil engineering from Iowa State and take a position at the University of Oklahoma. Throughout his career, he has sought to integrate his teaching, research and service missions, always emphasizing what is best for the individual student. In 2005, he founded OU’s WaTER Center, which has gained global recognition.
A McAlester native, Tom Volturo earned a bachelor’s in business from Oklahoma State University before dedicating his 47-year professional career to serving his home state. In the world of higher education, Volturo served as first director of internal audits for the state regents as well as holding executive positions at East Central University and Rogers State University.
Since 1999, Bob Blackburn has served as executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society and was instrumental in the planning and construction of the 215,000 sq. ft. Oklahoma History Center. He joined the group in 1980 as editor of The Chronicles of Oklahoma and became the deputy director in 1990. He published several articles and his first book while still working on his Ph.D at Oklahoma State University and has since authored or coauthored 22 books and dozens of articles, journal entries and screenplays.
The Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society was established in 1991 as a nonprofit to support awareness of higher education’s vital role in Oklahoma history and honor individuals, living and deceased, for outstanding service to higher education in the state. Since its establishment in 1994, the society has inducted almost 300 educators, administrators and others who have made distinguished contributions to higher education into the hall of fame.
To be eligible for induction, an individual must have been employed by one or more public or private institutions of higher education in Oklahoma on a full-time basis for at least 10 years. Individuals, outside organizations or institutions who have performed outstanding service to higher education in the state above and beyond financial contributions are also eligible.