The 2012 inductees to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame were announced Thursday at a luncheon at the Gaylord-
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.
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.
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-
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.”
So far, giving from both foundations totals more than $130 million. Gaylord died in 2001.
Tom L. Ward
Ward has been chairman and chief executive of SandRidge Energy Inc. since June 2006. Before that, he was president, chief operating officer and a director of Chesapeake Energy Corp., which he co-founded.
In 2006, Ward and his son, Trent, co-founded White Fields Inc., a home for severely abused and neglected boys.
A 1981 OU graduate, Ward is a member of the Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is a Board of Trustees member for Anderson University in Indiana, and he is a member of the Economic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and the Board of Visitors for the OU Health Sciences Center, Department of Medicine.
He has provided scholarship money to Oklahoma colleges and universities to help students achieve their higher education goals and find work in the state after graduation.
Warren grew up in Connecticut and attended Rider College, the University of Connecticut and Florida Atlantic University. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees.
She was hired by the Palm Beach County School System in Florida, working in federally funded programs to help disadvantaged and low-income students as a resource teacher and director. She also taught adult education classes.
Warren works to raise public awareness and funds for Tulsa's arts and social service organizations. She is a director/trustee of the Children's Hospital Foundation at St. Francis and the Mental Health Association Advisory Board.
She is a past director of Cascia Hall Preparatory School, Monte Cassino School, Ronald McDonald House, Tulsa Opera and The Tulsa Philharmonic.
She has been an honorary chair of the Red Ribbon 10-year celebration, which provides home care for AIDS patients, and she helped launch the Painted Pony Ball, an annual fundraiser for the Children's Hospital at St. Francis.
Through her work with the ball, she helped build and financially support the organization so that no child or family is turned away for inability to pay.
Lee R. West
Born in Clayton and raised in Antlers, West received his juris doctorate from the OU College of Law. He was admitted to the Oklahoma State Bar in 1956 and worked in private practice until 1961.
That year, he joined OU's law school as a faculty member teaching students about torts, damages, evidence, trial practice and workers' compensation.
In the 1962-63 term, he was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Law Teaching at Harvard Law School, where he received an LLM degree.
In 1963, he returned to private practice and served as labor arbitrator for the National Mediation Board.
Gov. Henry Bellmon appointed West to be a district judge in the 22nd Oklahoma judicial district; he was also a special justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals.
President Richard Nixon appointed him to the Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington, D.C., and he was designated as acting chairman by President Jimmy Carter.
After another stint in private practice, West was appointed to the federal bench and also served as chief judge of the Western District of Oklahoma. Since taking senior status in 1994, he has remained active, hearing cases at the district and circuit court levels and serving as a settlement judge in complex and protracted cases.
Ronald H. White
White graduated from Seminole High. He earned his medical degrees from OU and did his residency. He served in the U.S. Navy in Da Nang, Vietnam, and the U.S. Naval Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
He completed a fellowship in cardiology at the OU Health Sciences Center and entered private practice specializing in diagnostic and interventional cardiology. He attended one of the first balloon angioplasty training courses in Switzerland and performed the first such procedure in Oklahoma.
He co-founded the American Society of Cardiovascular Interventionalists and the Oklahoma Heart Hospital. He founded Oklahoma Cardiovascular Associates, the state's largest cardiovascular physician group with satellite clinics in more than 40 cities. He served two terms on OU's Board of Regents and was chairman for three years. He is beginning his second term as a State Regent for Higher Education, receiving appointments from four Oklahoma governors.
He was on the board of directors of Oklahoma Gas and Electric and was a member of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. He was a trustee for the OU Foundation, Oklahoma Zoological Society and Westminster Day School.
He is a board member for the Oklahoma Heritage Association, the OU College of Health Advisory Board and the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum.