David L. Boren, who has served Oklahoma as governor and U.S. senator, became the thirteenth president of the University of Oklahoma in November 1994. He is the first person in state history to have served in all three positions.
Boren is widely respected for his academic credentials, his longtime support of education, and for his distinguished political career as a reformer of the American political system. A graduate of Yale University in 1963, Boren majored in American history, graduated in the top one percent of his class and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and earned a master’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University, England, in 1965.
In 1968, he received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where he was on the Law Review, elected to the Order of the Coif, and won the Bledsoe Prize as the outstanding graduate by a vote of the faculty.
As Oklahoma’s governor from 1974 through 1978, Boren promoted key educational initiatives that have had an enduring impact on Oklahoma.
One of Boren’s most far-reaching projects in promoting quality education at all levels is the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, which he founded in 1985. The foundation recognizes outstanding public school students and teachers and helps establish private local foundations to help give academic endowment grants to local public schools.
Boren, also a former state legislator, spent nearly three decades in elective politics before becoming the president of the University of Oklahoma. Boren was the youngest governor in the nation when he served from 1974 to 1978.
During his time in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1994, Boren served on the Senate Finance and Agriculture Committees and was the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Boren left the U.S. Senate in 1994 with an approval rating of 91 percent after being reelected with 83 percent of the vote in 1990, the highest percentage in the nation in a U.S. Senate contest in that election year.
Under Boren’s leadership, the University of Oklahoma has developed and emerged as a “pacesetter university in American public higher education,” with 20 major new programs initiated since his inauguration.
Above all, the Boren years have been marked by an emphasis on putting students first. There is not a university president in the country that is more committed to students as his number one priority. He teaches a freshman-level course in political science each semester and is one of the few presidents of major universities to teach.
Boren is married to Molly Shi Boren, a former judge and English teacher. A native of Seminole, Boren has two children, Carrie Christine Boren, an Episcopal minister, and David Daniel Boren, a member of the United States Congress from Oklahoma. Devoting much of his life to public service, Boren drew from the example of his parents, the late Congressman Lyle H. Boren and Christine Boren.
Amber England is a fifth generation Oklahoman, born and raised in southern Oklahoma. She graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mass Communication with a minor in foreign language. During college Amber served as program coordinator for an after school program for at-risk students in Johnson City, TN, and served as a special education teacher’s assistant at Woodland Elementary School in Johnson City Schools.
Longing to connect to her Oklahoma roots, she moved back to her hometown of Ardmore where she began her career as a journalist for The Ardmoreite, covering topics ranging from public education, state and local government, and breaking news to occasional sports and Sunday features.
Amber transitioned from a newspaper journalist into workforce development with the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center after completing her Master’s in Education from East Central University in Ada.
Amber helped launch Stand for Children Oklahoma in 2013, first as the government affairs director, then ascending to executive director of Stand in June, 2014. Prior to joining Stand, she spent six years leading policy, political, and communication strategy on the leadership staff of the Oklahoma State Senate and two years as policy and communications director for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) and program director for OICA’s statewide childhood obesity initiative, Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition.
Carolyn Stager has worked for the Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) since 1987, when she joined the organization as its assistant director of intergovernmental relations. She was promoted to director of intergovernmental relations and later to chief operating officer. In 2007, she was named interim executive director as the OML Board of Directors conducted an extensive search process for a new leader. In 2008, Stager was named to the organization’s top position, becoming the first female executive director in OML’s 103-year history.
The native of Midwest City, Oklahoma holds a Master’s degree with honors in Political Science with emphasis on Urban Affairs from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is a member of the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives, the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and the National League of Cities. She is a two time finalist for the Journal Record Woman of the Year Award and recently completed a two year term on the National League of Cities Board of Directors and a two year term on the Oklahoma State Chamber Board of Directors.
She is president of the Oklahoma Capitol R&D Investment Club. Carolyn volunteers in various capacities at Crossings Community Church, has served as a volunteer and judge for local pageants with the Miss Oklahoma Scholarship Program and she is a graduate and serves on the Advisory Committee and is a Class Ambassador for Leadership Oklahoma Class XIII.
In 1999, Stager suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of a massive F-5 tornado that struck central Oklahoma. Though her injuries necessitated four years of reconstructive surgeries, she did not relent in her efforts to promote the interests of Oklahoma cities and towns. She continued to lobby on behalf of Oklahoma municipalities at the state and federal level and even took on the added responsibilities of the organization’s chief operating officer post. Carolyn collaborated in writing a book with author Kimberly Suiters about her survival and eventual triumph over the disaster and its effects. The book, Twist of Faith, was released in 2009. Stager continues to receive speaking engagements promoting her book.
Stager is a founding partner of Stick it in Stones, Inc., an Oklahoma City based company that provides jeweled logo brooches and other items for the State of Oklahoma and 15 other states, Native American tribes, businesses, universities, organizations and associations. She currently lives in Oklahoma City. She is married to Bill Strecker has two children, Christi and Nathan and three precious grandbabies, Bo, Manning & Ty.
In February 2016, Ann Ackerman became the fourth President and CEO of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Oklahoma’s primary economic development support organization. The Roundtable provides critical private funds in support of the economic development efforts of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Oklahoma Department of Commerce and other partners.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Dr. Ackerman received a B.S. in Mathematics from OSU and earned a M.S. and Ph.D. from OU. Making her home in Oklahoma City, she began her career as an engineer, but quickly changed to education and spent 25 years in the higher education system. Her positions included Professor of Mathematics, Department Chair of Mathematics, Dean of Science and Mathematics, and Vice President for Economic and Community Development. After leaving academia, she served as the Chief Executive Officer for Leadership Oklahoma, a position that she held for almost ten years prior to her current role at the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
Balancing a career with community involvement, Dr. Ackerman currently serves as Director on the Board of Oklahoma Health Center Foundation, as Advisor to Leadership Oklahoma City, as a Member of the University of Central Oklahoma’s Council of Advisors, as Member of Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Advocates and as a Board Member of the Annie Oakley Society benefiting the Oklahoma Western Heritage Museum. Ann is a member of Rotary Club 29 where she is a Paul Harris Fellow and Past Secretary and Past Director of the Club. She has also served as Chairman of the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, Chair of the Governor’s Youth Council, President of Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges, Member of the Governor’s Council of Science and Technology and Board Member for over 50 other civic and non-profit organizations.
In October, Dr. Ackerman will be inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. Other accomplishments include selection as an American Council on Education Fellow and recipient of Leadership Oklahoma City’s Paragon Award for Service, Journal Record’s Woman of the Year Circle of Excellence, Junior Hospitality’s Woman in the News and OCCC Employee Award for Excellence. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, she was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Oklahoma by Friday and in 2014 was one of The Journal Record’s Most Admired CEO’s.
Believing that the best way to reduce stress is physical activity, Ann enjoys exercising and hiking. She also likes to travel with her husband Wayne Stone.