News and Events

OFE News Release

Foundation to Honor State's Top Educators, Students at 25th Academic Awards Banquet May 21 in Norman

April 28, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – Five outstanding Oklahoma educators will be honored along with 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors when the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence hosts its 25th anniversary Academic Awards Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, 2501 Conference Drive in Norman. Doors open at 6 p.m.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 25th anniversary Academic Awards Banquet, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 25th anniversary Academic Awards Banquet, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman.

The event will feature a keynote address by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. David L. Boren, founder and chairman of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, will serve as emcee for the statewide tribute honoring “the best of the best” in Oklahoma’s public schools. The gala event, which is attended by nearly 1,000 people, will also feature musical entertainment by the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute Orchestra. Admission is $50 per person. A mail-in reservation form is available online at www.ofe.org.

“Celebrating Our Past, Inspiring Our Future” is the theme of this year’s banquet, which is chaired by Foundation trustee Les Risser of Norman and co-chaired by 1998 Academic All-State alumna Morgan Harris of Oklahoma City.

“We are excited to welcome New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help us honor Oklahoma’s most outstanding public school seniors and educators,” Risser said. “The Academic Awards committee is working hard to make this 25th anniversary banquet a very special and memorable occasion for all our honorees and guests.”

Bloomberg is the 108th mayor of New York City, now serving his third term. After graduating from Harvard Business School, Bloomberg worked in equity trading and later information systems for Saloman Brothers. In 1981, he began his own business, Bloomberg LP, with a vision of using emerging technology to bring transparency and efficiency to buyers and sellers of financial securities. Today, Bloomberg LP has more than 285,000 subscribers to its financial news and information service in more than 160 countries.

During his tenure as mayor of New York, Bloomberg has been credited with cutting crime, creating jobs by revitalizing neighborhoods and attracting new investment, creating new city parks, reducing welfare rolls and combating poverty, and improving public health. In addition, Bloomberg launched dramatic reforms that have resulted in higher test scores, lower dropout rates and improved teaching.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1985 by then-U.S. Sen. Boren to recognize and encourage academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation has provided more than $3.8 million in scholarships and cash awards to honor outstanding graduating seniors as Academic All-Staters and exceptional educators as Medal for Excellence winners.

The foundation will present its 2011 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence Awards in Teaching to elementary honoree Patsy McIlvain, Horace Mann Elementary School, Woodward; secondary winner Susie Stevens Edens, Latta High School, Ada; regional university/community college winner Wei R. Chen, Department of Engineering and Physics, University of Central Oklahoma; Edmond; and research university winner David Ray, associate professor of political science and dean of the Honors College, University of Oklahoma, Norman. The recipient of the Medal for Excellence in elementary/secondary administration is Cindi Hemm, principal of Eugene Field Elementary School in Tulsa.

Each medal recipient will receive a $5,000 cash award as well as a glass “Roots and Wings” sculpture, created by the late Oklahoma artist Ron Roberts and produced by Jim Triffo of Oklahoma City. With support from scholarship sponsors, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence will also present merit-based Academic All-State Scholarships of $1,000 each and medallions to 100 Academic All-State Scholars. The 2011 All-State class hails from 78 different schools in 69 Oklahoma school districts. The honorees were selected from 597 nominations in what is described by Boren as “Oklahoma’s most rigorous academic competition.”

The Academic Awards Banquet will premiere statewide on public television at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 28, on OETA. Subsequent airings will be shown on OETA’s OKLA digital channel. For digital broadcast listings, visit the station’s Web site at www.oeta.onenet.net.

For more information on the Academic Awards Banquet, visit the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Web site at www.ofe.org or call (405) 236-0006.