Brenda McDaniel, wife of Oklahoma City University President Tom McDaniel, is on campus as much as the students, and her involvement has made a difference since day one. The former schoolteacher was integral in setting up the Light the Campus celebration at Christmastime. She and her husband started OCU Chats, a monthly dinner and conversation with the first 20 students who sign up. They try to attend most activities, events and performances on campus, and she often sits in on classes. She went door to door in her neighborhood asking neighbors to clean up their yards. She also is involved with civic organizations and tries to align groups with OCU. She and her husband also invite every student who is alone on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to spend it with them. Since 2001, she has been an ambassador, a leader, a visionary and a doer for the school and students. "She has been one of the movers and shakers of that campus,” said Helen Ford Wallace, who nominated McDaniel.
Meet five remarkable women from Oklahoma. Whether they’re entertaining millions, serving their communities or sharing their knowledge, they’re using their gifts to inspire others. The Oklahoman’s Features Department narrowed finalists for the you! section’s Woman of the Year to five extraordinary women. A panel of staffers from The Oklahoman chose our winner, Dawn Welch, owner of the Rock Cafe in Stroud. Each of these women had a standout year in 2009. — Lillie-Beth Brinkman