OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) – The Oklahoma Hall of Fame today announced the presenters who will help induct the 89th Hall of Fame class at the 2016 Banquet & Induction Ceremony at 6 p.m. on November 17 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Each of this year’s honorees chose someone who has inspired them to present them at the ceremony.
This year’s presenters are Molly Shi Boren, Norman; Ree Drummond, Pawhuska; Theodore Elam, Oklahoma City; Jane Jayroe Gamble, Oklahoma City; NBA icon Michael Jordan, Charlotte, N.C.; and Pat O’Hara, Edmond.
Jordan, a 14-time NBA All-Star who won six championships with the Chicago Bulls, will present Westbrook. Jordan is owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time. Drummond, an award-winning blogger, New York Times bestselling author, food writer, photographer and television personality, will present Dixon for induction. Jayroe Gamble, a broadcaster, author, public official, former Miss America and a member of the 2007 Oklahoma Hall of Fame class, will present Aragón for induction. Boren, an attorney, First Lady of the University of Oklahoma, former First Lady of Oklahoma and member of the 2004 Oklahoma Hall of Fame class, will present Burrage for induction. Elam, retired counsel at McAfee & Taft, lecturer and adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, will present Dillingham for induction. O’Hara, an attorney and partner at Tisdal & O’Hara, PLLC, a CPA and a rancher, will present his daughter, Kelli O’Hara, for induction.
“We are honored to have an incredibly distinguished group of presenters for our 2016 ceremony,” said Shannon L. Rich, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum. “These presenters are people who have inspired our inductees, supported them and contributed to their success.”
The 2016 Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductees are: Rita Bly Aragón, Dale; Michael Burrage, Antlers; Dan Dillingham, Enid; Rebecca Dixon, Lenapah; Kelli O’Hara, Elk City/Edmond; and Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles/Oklahoma City. These Oklahomans will join the 677 individuals who have been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame since 1928.
Rita Bly Aragón | Dale
Maj. Gen. Aragón served as the first female general officer and first female commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. In 2010, she was selected as the first woman and fourth Oklahoma secretary of veterans affairs under Gov. Mary Fallin.
Born and raised in rural Dale, Oklahoma, she taught elementary school and was an award-winning principal in Oklahoma City Public Schools. She joined the military to supplement her income as a single mother raising two daughters.
Her military career culminated in two tours in the Pentagon, serving as assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for financial management and as the assistant to the deputy chief of staff of the Air Force for manpower and personnel.
She has served on the boards of the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, the YWCA, The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, INTEGRIS Health Edmond, 4 Star Leadership for General Tommy Franks, Folds of Honor and Honoring America’s Warriors Foundation. Aragón serves also on the President’s Advisory Board at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Her awards include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and others. Aragón has been recognized as Oklahoma’s Woman of the Year by The Journal Record, Oklahoma Woman Veteran of the Year and Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame and is the recipient of the Valley Forge Freedom Award.
Michael Burrage | Antlers
Michael Burrage, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was born in Durant, Oklahoma. He received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1971, and earned a juris doctor degree with honors from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1974.
Burrage was in private practice in Antlers, from 1974-94. He was named Outstanding Young Lawyer in Oklahoma in 1977 and served as president of the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1990.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Burrage to be a United States District Judge and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 8, 1994. He served as a federal judge for all three of the U.S. District Courts in Oklahoma and was the first Native American federal judge. He also sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by designation.
Burrage was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1993 and served as State Chairman in 2008 and 2009.
In 1996, he became the chief judge at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, where he served until 2001. He’s now senior managing partner at Whitten Burrage law firm in Oklahoma City.
Burrage was inducted into the University of Oklahoma College of Law Order of the Owl Hall of Fame on Oct. 30, 2013. He is married to Aletha and has two sons, Sean and David.
Dan Dillingham | Enid
Dillingham was born in Enid, Oklahoma, where he attended public schools. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics. Dillingham then served two years in the 3rd Armored Division Finance Office in Frankfurt, Germany. Upon discharge, he returned to Enid and has since been in private business in the insurance, ranching, oil and gas industries.
In 1960, he married Kay Camp. They were blessed with two daughters, three sons and now enjoy them and their spouses, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Dillingham has maintained an active interest in both public and private education and nonprofit organizations. He served on Phillips University and Enid Higher Education boards. Dillingham was active in the establishment of branch campuses for Northern Oklahoma College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University, now serving 1,500 students in Enid.
His nonprofit board service includes director of Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, chair of St. Mary’s Regional Hospital, director of Oklahoma State Chamber and member of the Kerr Foundation Agricultural Board.
In 2002, Dillingham was elected to the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank-Kansas City, where he served as building committee chair during construction of a new bank building.
Becky Dixon | Lenapah
Becky Dixon, President of AyerPlay, began her groundbreaking career in broadcasting, first at KTUL-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Next, Dixon became the first woman to host a network sports show, joining ABC Sports, as co-host of Wide World of Sports, with Frank Gifford. Becky also served as a broadcaster for the Super Bowl, Olympic Games, World Gymnastics Championships, college football and triple crown of horse racing.
Dixon later returned to Tulsa and launched the television special “Oklahomans.” The show was the first statewide broadcast of its kind and for two decades was instrumental in promoting the achievements of Oklahomans.
In 1994, Dixon joined forces with communications pioneer Ed Taylor to form AyerPlay. The company broke new ground on the Internet with one of the first live webcasts, when Dixon co-hosted a World Aids Day Symposium, in conjunction with Harvard University. Today, AyerPlay provides integrated marketing services to 7,000 clients nationwide.
Dixon has received numerous industry awards, including the Saidie Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Women in Communications. She is also a member of the University of Tulsa Communications Hall of Fame. Community work includes the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Board of Directors, plus the Sutton Center and Pencil Box Boards. She also serves on the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Dixon is married to Patrick Keegan and has two children, Jennifer and Dan Dixon.
Kelli O’Hara | Elk City/Edmond
O’Hara has unequivocally established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies. Her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of “The King and I” garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Drama League and Outer Critics nominations.
Recently, O’Hara starred as Mrs. Darling in NBC’s live telecast of “Peter Pan” alongside Allison Williams and Christian Borle and made her Metropolitan Opera debut in “The Merry Widow” with Renee Fleming. Other Broadway credits include “The Bridges of Madison County,” “Nick Work if You Can Get It,” “South Pacific,” “Pajama Game,” “The Light in the Piazza,” “Sweet Smell of Success,” “Follies,” “Dracula” and “Jekyll & Hyde.” Her regional/off-Broadway credits include “Far From Heaven,” “King Lear,” “Bells Are Ringing,” “Sunday in The Park with George” and “My Life With Albertine”
Her concerts span from Carnegie Hall to Capitol Hill, and film and television credits include “Sex & the City 2,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Key to Reserva,” “Blue Bloods,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “N3mbers,” and the animated series “Car Talk.” She is a frequent performer on PBS’s live telecasts and the Kennedy Center Honors. Her solo albums, “Always” and “Wonder in the World” are available on Ghostlight Records.
Russell Westbrook | Los Angeles/ Oklahoma City
Since joining the Oklahoma City Thunder with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Russell Westbrook has made an impactful difference in the state of Oklahoma, both on and off the court.
A five-time All-Star, two-time All-Star Game MVP, NBA scoring champion and Olympic gold medalist, Westbrook has helped the Oklahoma City Thunder become one of the premiere organizations in all of professional sports. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Thunder has amassed the second best record in the NBA and the fourth best record among the four major professional sports leagues in the United States.
The past season Westbrook recorded 18 triple-doubles, the most since Magic Johnson accomplished the feat during the 1981-82 season. Additionally, he joined Oscar Robertson as the only other player in NBA history to finish a season averaging 23-plus points, 10-plus assists and seven-plus rebounds.
Beyond Westbrook’s accomplishments on the court, he has taken a leading role in advancing the state through his community and philanthropic efforts. Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation is dedicated to supporting community-based education and family service programs while encouraging youth to believe in themselves. Whether it’s Thanksgiving meals to the homeless, giving away shoes and backpacks to children during the holiday season or opening another one of his signature Russell’s Reading Rooms, Westbrook has made it a top priority to better the community in which he lives. In 2015, Westbrook was recognized with the NBA’s season-long Community Assist Award for his philanthropic efforts.
“We are truly excited to have Michael Jordan presenting Russell Westbrook, and we are equally fortunate to have a full slate of accomplished presenters joining us at this year’s ceremony,” Rich said. “They provide us a meaningful opportunity to celebrate this year’s inductees and forward our mission of telling Oklahoma’s story through its people.”
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame was founded in 1927 with the purpose of honoring Oklahomans in their lifetime with the state’s highest honor and educating Oklahoma’s youth on our rich history. The Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, was opened in 2007 with the intent of giving the public access to the stories of these and other notable Oklahomans. The 2016 inductees will be recognized in November with the unveiling of their portraits at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum; their biographies, photos and fun facts will be accessible through interactive exhibits.
“Being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is the single-highest honor an individual can receive from our state,” Rich said. “This year’s ceremony promises to be a very special evening for our honorees and all our guests.”
Tickets and table sponsorships for the induction ceremony went on sale in August and a limited number are still available at OklahomaHOF.com or by calling 405-523-3203. For more information on ticket sales, contact Millie Craddick, honoree relations and induction administrator, at 405-523-3203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.