Dr. Steadman Upham was re-named the president of the University of Tulsa Oct. 1, 2012. Upham had retired June 30 after eight years. During his tenure, TU saw unprecedented achievements, raising more than $700 million and rising to number 75 among national research universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey.
Upham has several challenges awaiting him in his second term of office. One, the university community was embarrassed when his successor, Geoffrey Orsak, was fired after 74 days in office. Later, TU’s Athletic Director, Ross Parmley, was fired for gambling. The situation in the athletic department is becoming critical as TU’s conference, Conference , is falling apart with rival schools , Houston, Memphis, East Carolina, Tulane and Central Florida leaving to be replaced by upstart schools such as Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic. TU’s attendance in all sports is also a challenge to be addressed.
Jim Bridenstine won the U.S. House Seat for Oklahoma District 1 by upsetting incumbent John Sullivan in the primary and defeating John Olson in the general election. A Republican with a conservative background, Bridenstine will represent most of the readership of Newspapers. Highly educated, he has degrees in economics, psychology and business from Rice University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Cornell University.
He previously served as the executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, and as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, participated in Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq and Operation Shock and Awe in Iraq.
A man of many ideas, he lobbied to bring the space shuttle to Tulsa. Issues facing him include the debt, deficit spending and the size of government, education, energy and the environment, health care, illegal drugs, term limits, and the second amendment.
In October 2012, Diane Rafferty was named of Oklahoma State University Medical Center (OSUMC).
Rafferty previously served as of University Physicians Hospital in Tucson, Ariz., and comes to Oklahoma with 35 years of healthcare experience, including hospital operations, finance, quality and compliance, and reorganization. She helped Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, Calif., to emerge from bankruptcy and served as part of the audit and clinical compliance team for the Parkland Health System in Dallas.
Rafferty became after St. John Health System requested to terminate its management agreement with OSUMC. Jan Slater, of St. John, previously held the position.
In 2008, the OSUMC Trust was established and took over hospital ownership. In 2009, legislation was passed to allocate state funds of $5 million per year for the next five years to support continued operations.
One of the most outstanding players in the history of college basketball, Danny Manning became the University of Tulsa’s 29th head basketball coach on March 29, 2012.
A Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer and former great, Manning spent nine seasons on the Kansas men’s basketball staff working under former TU Head Coach Bill Self. In March 2007, Manning was named assistant coach for the Jayhawks. He was hired at Tulsa just days before he would be coaching in the Final Four as a member of the University of Kansas staff.
Manning’s goal is to bring the TU basketball program back to national prominence. He is trying to build the team with young freshmen and incoming recruits.
During his time on staff at Kansas, Manning was part of one National Title, two Final Fours, five Elite Eight appearances, eight Big 12 regular season conference titles, five Big 12 tournament championships and 269 career victories.
Dr. Kirt Hartzler will become Union Public Schools superintendent July 1, 2013, replacing Dr. Cathy Burden who served for nearly 19 years.
Hartzler holds a Bachelor’s in social sciences from Evangel University in Springfield, Ark. He earned his Master’s in school administration from Northeastern State University and his Doctorate in educational leadership from Oklahoma State University.
Hartzler has spent 28 years in the Union School District working as a teacher, coach and administrator.
“I love what I do,” he says. “There’s nothing greater than watching young people develop over time.”
Hartzler plans to keep the school district on its current path in its vision of student support and its innovative programs. One such program is community schools, which he hopes to grow by increasing community partnerships.
Hartzler would also like to see future facility expansion for fine arts and athletic programs.
Hillary Parkhurst will serve as 2013 Chair of Tulsa Young Professionals replacing outgoing chair Kate Hoback.
Parkhurst currently serves the role as Director of Development for George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center where she leads efforts in fundraising, special events and scholarships for the Bartlesville non profit.
The New Year will start off busy for the young professional leader. Two new “crews” were recently announced: Arts & Entertainment and the Attraction Crew. She will also help spearhead the newest Street CReD, which will be on the corner of 36th Street North and Peoria. The project will be done in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa.
Tulsa Young Professionals (ros) was founded in 2005 in response to the region’s “brain drain” of new graduates and young professionals to other cities and states. The organization now boasts 8,000-plus local members.
Thomas Moton became Broken Arrow’s city manager Nov. 6. Moton has previously worked as assistant city manager in University City, Mo., Corsicana, Tex., and Greenville, N.C., where he also served as interim city manager.
“Broken Arrow’s potential is only limited by the extent of its imagination and the willingness of the community to remain engaged to building a better tomorrow,” he says. Moton brings to his position an in-depth understanding of local government and experience in developing downtown areas.
Moton hopes to see more cultural events and festivals come to the Rose District as well as outdoor art installations, which encourage foot traffic.
Moton expects to see continued expansion of retail options and economic development in 2013, including the Rose West Dog Park, plus Tiger Hill, a drinking water treatment center that will equip Broken Arrow for further growth and an events park.
David Blatt helped found the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a 501©(3) non profit organization in 2008. The non-partisan policy research initiative grew out of work that had previously been conducted by the public policy department of Community Action Project of Tulsa County.
Recognized as one of the state’s leading experts on fiscal policy, Blatt’s work involves conducting research, writing papers and giving public presentations on state budget and tax policy, poverty, asset development, and various other subjects.
Holding a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University, Dr. Blatt conducts valuable analysis with easy-to-understand explanations on a variety of platforms. For those looking for a hi-tech way to get Oklahoma Policy news, check out the ever-expanding okpolicy.org which contains a blog and the “In The Know” column, a daily synopsis of state policy-related news.
In December, Arianna Moore became one of Tulsa’s newest city councilors and its youngest. “I don’t think age makes a difference,” says Moore, 25. “Some people think I’m too young or naïve. But it’s about passion, and I love this city.”
Moore grew up in Bixby and now lives in Tulsa. “There’s no place where I would rather start a family than here, and I want to serve the people that I have grown up with.”
As Moore adjusts to her new role, she plans to help her fellow council mem
\bers reach their goals for the year and to listen closely to her constituents. “I want to do what the citizens tell me as to how they want to improve our city,” she says.
At the top of her priorities are road improvements. She plans to support an extension of the Fix Our Streets program, which may be on the ballot in Fall 2013.
“I grew up in Tulsa, and I know our streets are not always the best,” she says. “That is the first thing people say that they want fixed.”
HENRYJake Henry Jr., president and chief executive officer of Saint Francis Health System, will serve as the 2012 chair of the board of directors of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.
Henry has served in his position at Saint Francis since August 2002. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science in health care administration from Trinity University. Henry is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on a number of local corporate and civic boards. The Saint Francis Health System has grown dramatically under his leadership.
In his Chamber position, Henry and Tulsa leaders will be faced with local economic challenges such as cutbacks at American Airlines, the Hertz-Dollar Thrifty merger, the negative Vision 2 vote of 2012, competition from rival cities, and a possible national tax on carbon emissions, which would impact Tulsa’s energy sector, and therefore all of greater Tulsa.