News and Events

OFE News Release

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Announces New Board Members

October 30, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has announced the addition of 16 new members to its Board of Trustees.

Appointed to serve three-year terms are: Sen. Tom Adelson, attorney, TULSA; Connell Sullivan Branan, community volunteer, OKLAHOMA CITY; Leroy Wade Bridges, director of Outreach and advisory council chairman, University of Oklahoma Political Communication Center; OKLAHOMA CITY; Ken Busby, executive director and chief executive officer of the Arts & Humanities Council of TULSA; Lou Christian, chief executive officer of Cornerstone Financial Strategies, BLANCHARD; Vanessa Drummond, community volunteer, BARTLESVILLE; and Anil Gollahalli, vice president for Technology Development and assistant general counsel, University of Oklahoma, NORMAN.

Other appointees are Morgan Harris, events coordinator, Full Circle Bookstore, OKLAHOMA CITY; Leslie Hudson, community volunteer, OKLAHOMA CITY; Kathryn Jones, executive director, Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma, OKLAHOMA CITY; Sherrel Jones, food columnist for The Oklahoman and owner and instructor for Just Delish!, ENID; Jerome Loughridge, chief operating officer, Great White Energy Services, EDMOND; Vincent F. Orza Jr., dean of the Meinders School of Business, Oklahoma City University, EDMOND; Lisa Robertson, attorney, Reynolds, Ridings, Vogt & Morgan PLLC, EDMOND; Marian Joullian Story, manager of special projects, Mustang Fuel Corporation, OKLAHOMA CITY; and Deacon Turner, principal, Bernstein Global Wealth Management, TULSA.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a non-profit, charitable organization founded by former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren in 1985 to recognize and encourage academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation provides $258,000 in scholarships and cash awards annually to honor outstanding high school seniors as Academic All-Staters and exceptional educators as Medal for Excellence winners. The foundation provides free technical support and training to local education foundations across the state.

Among its other initiatives, the Foundation for Excellence coordinates a program to send Oklahoma teachers to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute each summer and provides grants for schools to receive Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips, bringing history to life in the classroom. In 2005, the foundation launched the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative to promote the establishment and growth of school-based mentoring programs throughout Oklahoma. The foundation also administers Teacher Scholarships for Professional Development and Fund for Teachers grants for Oklahoma educators.

(EDITORS: New trustees are listed below by hometown.)

BARTLESVILLE – Vanessa Drummond is an active Bartlesville community volunteer, serving on the board of the Bartlesville Public School Foundation and the Bartlesville Library Trust Authority. She is also president of the Richard Kane Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. Drummond is a member of Oklahoma CattleWomen and American National CattleWomen.

BLANCHARD – Blanchard resident Lou Christian is chief executive officer of Cornerstone Financial Strategies in Oklahoma City. She is president of the Blanchard Public Schools Education Foundation and an active volunteer with the Local Education Foundation Outreach Committee and Fall Forum Steering Committee for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Christian is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners; the National Association of Insurance & Financial Professionals; and the Million Dollar Round Table, an association of financial professionals.

EDMOND – Jerome Loughridge is chief operating officer of Great White Energy Services, an Oklahoma City-based manufacturing and oilfield services firm with operations throughout the United States, Canada and China. He also has held executive positions in banking and real estate development. In 2003, Loughridge was appointed a White House Fellow by President George W. Bush and served as a special assistant to the secretary of Defense, traveling to Iraq to work with the Coalition Provisional Authority on Iraqi reconstruction. Loughridge was an Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic All-Stater in 1991.

Vincent F. Orza Jr. is a resident of Edmond. (See Oklahoma City.)

Lisa Robertson is an Edmond resident and an attorney for Reynolds, Ridings, Vogt & Morgan PLLC of Oklahoma City. She serves as a volunteer attorney for the American Diabetics Association. She is past president of the Downtown Exchange Club of Oklahoma City.

EL RENO -- Leroy Wade Bridges is former chairman of the Redlands Community College Board of Regents and a former Yukon resident. (See Oklahoma City.)

ENID – Sherrel A. Jones is a food columnist for The Oklahoman and the owner and instructor for Just Delish! of Enid. A member of Leadership Oklahoma, she serves on the board of St. Gregory’s University and is chair of the Garfield Country Trust Authority. She is also a member of the Junior Welfare League of Enid. A Master Gardener, Jones is active in the Oklahoma Native Plant Society and ColorOklahoma. Among her professional affiliations, Jones participates in the Oklahoma Food Policy Council, the Southern Foodways Alliance and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

NORMAN – As vice president for technology development and assistant general counsel for the University of Oklahoma, Anil Gollahalli provides counsel on issues of intellectual property and directs the commercialization operations for the Office of Technology Development. He is a fellow of OU’s Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth, a program designed to expose students to the entrepreneurial process. Gollahalli serves on the Governor’s Science and Technology Council and is a board member of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the Norman Economic Development Coalition and Southwest Nanotechnologies Inc. He is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Gollahalli was honored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 1993 as an Academic All-Stater.

OKLAHOMA CITY – An active Oklahoma City community volunteer, Connell Sullivan Branan serves on the boards of the Oklahoma Arts Institute, the Library Endowment Trust of Oklahoma City and Allied Arts. She is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Oklahoma City and serves on the national board of American Mothers Inc. She traveled the country promoting Oklahoma’s mothers and strong families as 2006-07 National Young Mother of the Year. Branan and her husband, Oklahoma Sen. Cliff Branan, have two children, Ford and Langley.

Leroy Wade Bridges is director of Outreach and chairman of the Advisory Council for the University of Oklahoma Political Communication Center. An Oklahoma City resident, Bridges is one of the founders and a board member of Red Earth Inc. He is chairman of the state’s Cultural Diversity and Economics Committee, a member of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission and a past member of the Oklahoma City MAPS Project Board. Bridges is former chairman of the Redlands Community College Board of Regents and an active alumnus of Oklahoma City University, twice earning its Distinguished Alumni award. A longtime member of the North Oklahoma City Rotary Club, Bridges has been honored as the chapter’s Outstanding Rotarian of the Year.

Morgan Harris is special events coordinator for Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City. A 1998 Academic All-Stater, Harris has been an active volunteer for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, serving as All-State alumni coordinator for several Academic Awards Banquets and other alumni activities.

Leslie Hudson is an active community leader in Oklahoma City, serving as a trustee for the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Heritage Hall School. She also serves on the advisory boards for the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health and the OU Breast Health Institute.

Kathryn E. Jones is executive director of the Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma. She is active in Leadership Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women, the Oklahoma Academy, the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and the North Oklahoma City Rotary. She is also a member of Oklahoma Women in Higher Education.

Vincent F. Orza Jr. is dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University. A former Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate, Orza is also the founder, chairman and CEO of Eateries Inc. Orza, who earned his doctor of education degree, has 16 years of teaching experience at the university and high school levels. He serves on the boards of the Francis Tuttle Foundation, Liberty Mutual Southwest and the Restaurant Leadership Conference. He is a member of the Oklahoma City University Board of Trustees, the Broadcasters Advisory Board and the Pinnacle Bank Advisory Board of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Marion Joullian Story is manager of special projects for Mustang Fuel Corp. She is a sustainer for the Junior League of Oklahoma City and serves on the board for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. She is also an honorary/advisory member of the State Fair Board. Joullian is the daughter of the late Edward C. Joullian III, who founded the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute Scholarships and colonial American history programs administered by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Marion and her family continue to support and sponsor the programs established by their late father.

TULSA – Oklahoma Sen. Tom Adelson is a private practice attorney who has represented District 33 since 2004. The former secretary of Health under Gov. Brad Henry, Adelson serves as co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Social Services. He is a founding member of the Tulsa Coalition of Children’s Health and past president of the Tulsa Mental Health Association. Adelson is also a member of the Community Hospital Authority and the OU Health Care Task Force.

Ken Busby is executive director and chief executive officer of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa. He is immediate past chair of the Tulsa Global Alliances and serves on the boards of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Holland Hall School, the Oklahoma Center for Poets & Writers and Leadership Oklahoma. Among his professional affiliations, Busby is active in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Americans for the Arts and the American Association of Museums.

Deacon Turner is principal of Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He is chairman of the Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center of Austin, Texas, and serves on the board of the Gilcrease Museum of Tulsa. He serves on the Will Rogers Memorial Commission and is a member of the Cherokee Nation Historical Society. Turner was named an Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic All-Stater in 1987.

YUKON -- Leroy Wade Bridges is a former Yukon resident. (See Oklahoma City.)