Famous Graduates of Oklahoma CollegesIt's graduation season, and there are numerous famous graduates of Oklahoma colleges. The University of Oklahoma (OU) and Oklahoma State (OSU) are the largest and are represented by several famous alumni, including those from sports, acting and politics. Athletes, such as Adrian Peterson and Blake Griffin are well known alumni from Oklahoma institutions but, for one reason or another, did not graduate college. Below is a partial listing of famous graduates of Oklahoma colleges:
- Fred Wallace Haise, Jr. – Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Wallace Haise, Jr., graduated from Biloxi High School in Biloxi, Mississippi, and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He's received a number of distinguished honors throughout the years, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 and the Air Force Association's David C. Schilling Award in 1978.
Haise logged more than 9,300 hours flying and 6,200 hours in manned jets. He took part in the Apollo 13 mission as a lunar module pilot and logged a whopping 142 hours and 54 minutes in space. He eventually resigned from NASA to become the Vice-President of Space Programs at Grumman Aerospace Corporation (NASA.gov).
If you're interested in an Oklahoma university, but don't think you can fit in onsite learning, don't worry. Check out a list of online universities.
- J.C. Watts – A prominent politician and avid political mind, J.C. Watts graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1981, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Watts became the first African-American Republican elected into federal office in 120 years. Born in Eufaula, Oklahoma, in 1957, Watts served as the Conference Chairman of the House Republican Leadership committee.
Watts may be best known by Oklahomans as the OU quarterback who led the school to two Big Eight titles and consecutive Orange Bowl championships. He currently resides in Norman, where he is the president of Watts Energy Corporation.
- Gary England – One of the most famous meteorologists in the country, Gary England has won two Emmys, the Silver Circle Award, and more such honors. He graduated from OU with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and meteorology. He is known around the country (and world) as the man who implemented the first commercial Doppler radar system.
England is a foremost authority on severe weather. In 2009, Gary was awarded the National Edward R. Murrow Award for his work as the best in the country in breaking news and weather to viewers. He is, without a doubt, one of the most famous graduates of Oklahoma colleges around.