Oklahoma Hall of Fame names 2012 inductees

Seven notable Oklahomans will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame this year. The inductees, announced Thursday, are Stan Clark, Bart Conner, Edith Kinney Gaylord, Tom L. Ward, Suzanne Warren, Lee R. West and Ronald H. White.
by Ken Raymond Published: May 11, 2012

The 2012 inductees to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame were announced Thursday at a luncheon at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum.

Honorees are businessman Stan Clark, Olympic champion Bart Conner, journalist and philanthropist Edith Kinney Gaylord, energy executive Tom L. Ward, educator Suzanne Warren, jurist Lee R. West and heart specialist Ronald H. White.

Gaylord will be inducted into the hall posthumously.

Since 2009, the Oklahoma Heritage Association has hosted an announcement luncheon to introduce the hall's new members. They, in turn, meet and dine with those who were inducted before them.

“It's incredibly inspirational to be surrounded by such an accomplished group of people who have literally created our history,” said Shannon L. Rich, president of the Heritage Association and the museum, in a news release.

The association was founded in 1927 with the mission of establishing an Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

The 2012 inductees constitute the 85th class of honorees.

The museum opened in 2007 to honor notable Oklahomans. Portraits of the new class will be hung there, and biographies, photos and facts about them will be accessible through touch screens in the gallery.

“Being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is the single highest honor an individual can receive from our state,” Rich said in the release.

The official induction ceremony will be Nov. 15 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center.

Tickets and sponsorships will go on sale in August.

Stan Clark

Tulsa native Clark built one of Oklahoma's signature brands: Eskimo Joe's. The Stan Clark Companies known as the “Three Amigos” include Mexico Joe's, Joseppi's and Eskimo Joe's Promotional Products Group.

Clark's companies sponsor an education scholarship at Oklahoma State University. They also have donated to the construction of the South Entry Plaza of the Boone Pickens Stadium, the Stillwater Public Education Foundation, Coaches vs. Cancer, Oklahoma Project Women and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Clark received the 2012 Mike Synar Award for Special Olympics Oklahoma. His businesses have sponsored the Juke Joint Jog and the Three Amigos' United Way Golf Classic for years.

“Clark's fun-loving spirit and personal warmth have permeated every aspect of his company and brand, making Eskimo Joe's a Stillwater institution, a statewide tourist attraction and a globally recognized brand,” the release notes.

Bart Conner

Conner is the only American gymnast to win gold medals at every level of national and international competition.

He was a member of Olympic teams in 1976, 1980 and 1984. In that final Olympics, he came back from a second torn biceps injury to win two gold medals.

Conner moved from Illinois to Norman in 1976 to attend the University of Oklahoma and be coached by Paul Ziert. Conner won 14 NCAA All-American honors and led his team to two NCAA team titles.

He teamed with Ziert after graduating in 1984; they own several gymnastic-related businesses, including the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy. He is a public speaker and a commentator for ESPN.

He married Romanian Olympic champion Nadia Comaneci in 1996.

He is a board member for several charities, including Special Olympics International and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He is a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Edith Kinney Gaylord

Gaylord “was a pioneer journalist and philanthropist with a lifelong passion for the news business,” according to the release.

She is the daughter of Inez Kinney Gaylord and E.K. Gaylord, the editor and publisher of The Daily Oklahoman and The Oklahoma City Times. She attended Colorado College, where she later became a trustee, and graduated from Wells College in 1937.

She was the first woman on the general news staff of The Associated Press' Washington bureau. An early assignment to cover first lady Eleanor Roosevelt's news conference blossomed into friendship, and she became Eleanor Roosevelt's media liaison and, later, the secretary of the first lady's Press Conference Association. She was elected president of the Women's National Press Club in 1944.

She supported a variety of organizations and projects, often anonymously. Her interests were broad-ranging, including education, health, the arts and the environment.

She created two foundations in 1982 to continue her philanthropy. The Inasmuch Foundation “continues to lessen suffering and enrich the quality of lives it touches,” the release notes, while the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation builds “the ethics, skills and opportunities needed to advance principled, probing news and information.”

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by Ken Raymond
Book Editor
Ken Raymond is the book editor. He joined The Oklahoman in 1999. He has won dozens of state, regional and national writing awards. Three times he has been named the state's "overall best" writer by the Society of Professional Journalists. In...
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