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Evening Of Excellence honorees selected by OU medical alumni

The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine will celebrate three individuals and an institution during its 2013 Evening of Excellence on Jan. 31.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: January 13, 2013
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The Stephensons have been active in many community affairs and boards. He has served on the boards of the Salvation Army, Indian Nations Council of the Boy Scouts and Philbrook Art Museum. He served as the capital campaign chairman for construction of the new headquarters building for the Indian Nations Council and has served as president of the Council.

He also sits on boards at the University of Tulsa.

His wife is executive director of the Charles and Peggy Stephenson Family Foundation that provides support for various church, community, education and health programs in Tulsa and throughout the state. She also comanages their personal philanthropic activities which, combined with the Family Foundation, support projects that make significant differences such as the Stephenson Research and Technology Center and the Stephenson Life Science Research Center on OU's rapidly growing Research Campus. Their efforts also support the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City.

She volunteers her time with First Presbyterian Church, American Red Cross, Cystic Fibrosis, American Cancer Society, Philbrook and Girl Scouts.

Both have received numerous awards for their service as well as honoree degrees for their services.

Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust,

Distinguished Oklahoma Institution

A strong scientific, evidence-based foundation is at the heart of the programs funded by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the release noted. Created in 2000 by a voter-approved constitutional amendment, the trust has used payments from the 1998 settlement agreement from a multistate lawsuit against the tobacco industry to invest in research, prevention and opportunities to improve the health of Oklahomans.

The trust's prevention efforts include the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, which has coached nearly 37,000 Oklahomans a year to quit using tobacco. Prevention efforts also include community coalitions that work to create healthier environments by promoting policy and cultural change at the local level by partnering with local community leaders. The work has led to nearly 270 schools that are tobacco free and nearly 80 communities that have adopted clean indoor ordinances to protect the public from secondhand smoke. Nutrition and fitness grants are in the first year of work and will be focusing on improving health and wellness in schools, businesses and communities.

The board of directors has committed to deepening its research investments. Research efforts for the trust began in 2008, when the board allocated $5 million to fund the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center within the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center. The mission of the research center is to fund researchers from institutions and organizations throughout Oklahoma to conduct behavioral and biomedical research in cancer and tobacco-related diseases.

More recently, the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust expanded its role as a research partner to underwrite efforts to attract and sustain world-class scientists to the Stephenson Cancer Center and the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research.

At the Stephenson Cancer Center, the trust has committed $30.2 million over five years to establish the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Cancer Research Program to enhance and accelerate cancer research in the state. An important part of this program is the trust's Phase I Program, which provides cancer patients with early access to emerging therapies. In most cases, standard treatments have failed and new personalized therapies offer hope for those battling cancer.

In 2009, the trust made a $9.5 million investment in the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research, which is collaboratively governed by the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. A portion of the trust's investment helps fund grants that allow scientists to focus on research that could eventually use stem cells to repair tissues damaged from a tobacco-related disease.

At the Evening of Excellence, Dr. James D. Miller will present the Stephensons; T. Boone Pickens, CEO of BP Capital, will present Cooper; and Andrews will present the third award to the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, represented by Casey Killblane, board vice chairman.