The flagship event of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is its annual Academic Awards Banquet, which honors 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors and five exceptional educators. The gala event – broadcast statewide on public television – has been called the “Academy Awards” of public education in Oklahoma.
Winners of the 2020 Academic Awards will be honored at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 16, at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Norman.
Since 1987, the foundation has selected 100 graduating seniors annually as Academic All-Staters. This prestigious award provides each recipient with a merit-based scholarship and medallion. The selection of Academic All-Staters has been described as Oklahoma’s “most rigorous academic competition.”
The banquet also salutes educators who are making exceptional contributions to public education in Oklahoma. Medal for Excellence Awards are presented annually to one educator in each of the following categories:
- Elementary Teaching
- Secondary Teaching
- Elementary/Secondary Administration
- Community College/Regional University Teaching
- Research University Teaching
The Academic Awards Banquet has featured a variety of distinguished keynote speakers, including the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, journalist Fareed Zakaria and astronaut Leland Melvin.
An orchestra from the Oklahoma Arts Institute provides music for the banquet. This group of outstanding high school musicians is an important part our gala celebration.