Fallin, a fellow OSU graduate, apologized for wearing red but explained it was Valentine's Day. Then she called Pickens “one of Oklahoma's true sweethearts, who has done so much for our state. This is something long past due and well deserved.”
The 49th portrait out of 135 paintings commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund was produced by Norman artist Mike Wimmer, who grew up in Muskogee.
Growing up Oklahoman was a theme of the day.
“I didn't ever forget,” Pickens said. “I know where I'm from. I know I'm from Oklahoma. And I'm proud to say so. Big day for me.”