Hall of Fame Students

  Other Names

David Gates – 1958
Inducted 1989

Born 1940 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, David Gates was best known as the leader of the 70’s soft rock group Bread. During High school, David formed a band called David Gates and the Accents with a piano player by the name of Russell Bridges-later to be known as Leon Russell. After leaving the University of Tulsa and traveling to Los Angeles, he played the club circuit with Leon. Besides being a great session player proficient on several instruments, Gates could also write charts, lead sheets and sing background. He arranged, wrote and produced for Glen Campbell, Ann-Margaret, Bobby Darin, Glen Yarbrough and Rod McKuen before forming the Group Bread. He made 16 albums and earned several gold records. Bread broke up and David launched a solo career recording Good-bye Girl for a Neil Simon film. He rejoined Bread for another album, but has not written much or per- formed since. He is best known for hits Aubrey, Baby I'm A Want You, Diary, Everything I Own, Goodbye Girl, If, It don't Matter To Me, Make it With You, and Sweet Surrender. David lives in California with his high school sweetheart and wife Jo- Rita and their two children.  

Susan “S.E.” Hinton

Class of 1966
Inducted 1989
Susan Eloise Hinton published her first work, The Outsiders, only one year after graduation from Will Rogers. Always an avid reader, her best-selling novel was a result of the dissastisfaction she had with books written for young adults. Countless young people have said that The Outsiders was the first book they had ever read cover to cover, and S.E. Hinton soon became known as “The Voice of the Youth.”

She followed The Outsiders with That was Then, This is Now, published in 1971. In 1975, she expanded her short story, Rumble Fish, into a novel, which garnered the entire spectrum of reviews, from “her best book” to “her last book.” Tex followed in 1979. In March, 1983, the movie The Outsiders was released, starring Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane and another of Will Rogers’ Hall of Fame members, Gailard Sartain. In October 1983, the movie Rumble Fish, was released, again starring Matt Dillon and Diane Lane, with Dennis Hopper, Nicholas Cage and Laurence Fishburne. The movie, That was Then, This is Now was released in 1985, starring Emilio Estevez and Morgan Freeman.

In 1988, Susan received the very first YASD/SLJ Author Achievement Award, which was given by the Young Adult Services Division of the American Library Association and the School Library Journal. That same year she released Taming The Star Runner.

In a complete change of direction, her last two books are for children of elementary school age: Big David, Little David, and The Puppy Sister. When not writing books, S. E. Hinton loves to ride her horses and spend time with her husband and son.

Ernest Moody

Class of 1944
Inducted 1989
Ernest Moody is a name known to every Will Rogers senior who proudly wears the Rogers class ring. We all remember lining up early in the morning under the hot August sun to receive our rings.

Since 1944, customers have come to recognize the Moody name as synonymous with quality and integrity. It all began with a broken clock that teenaged Ernest and his mother could not afford to repair; the cost was $1.00. A neighborhood watchmaker sold young Ernest the 25 cent part he needed and showed him how to repair it himself.

Ernest began to visit the watchmaker’s shop and help with repairs. When the owner retired, Ernest took his life savings of $200, purchased the shop, and Moody’s Jewelry was Ernest’s ethic of quality service enabled him and his beloved wife, Mildred, to build Moody’s Jewelry. His love for his alma mater, Will Rogers High School, made him Tulsa’s first high school ring headquarters.

Moody’s is still a family-owned company, operated by his five children, with the third generation now entering the business. Moody’s is the largest family-owned jeweler in Oklahoma and is honored to serve our community by giving a portion of every sale to its Route 66 Giving Campaign, which supports over 66 charities right in our own backyard. Ernest spoke often of “gifts of love” and demonstrated it as he gave generously to benefit others.

His family is honored to continue this loving legacy in the Tulsa community.

David Rader

Class of 1975
Inducted 1989
David Rader, football star, coach, business executive, and author started his football career as a Will Rogers Roper and went on to play quarterback for The University of Tulsa, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1980.

In 1979 he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the National Football League. He later joined the New York Giants. After brief time in the NFL, David began his coaching career in 1983 at the University of Alabama, where he was the coach of the quarterbacks and then, receivers. In 1986 he became the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State University.

David came home to Tulsa in 1987 as the assistant head coach at The University of Tulsa. Being named head coach in 1988 at age 31, he was the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I Football. He remained in that position until 1999. During that time, the Golden Hurricane played in two bowl games (winning the 1991 Freedom Bowl and finishing 22nd in the nation). His teams consistently graduated at a higher rate than the campus norm, defeated teams from much bigger conferences such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas A&M, and had many go on to play in the NFL. David returned to coaching and to the University of Alabama in 2003 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2010, he became co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Mississippi.

David is now in Tulsa as vice president of marketing at Pacer Energy Marketing. He and his wife, Janet (WRHS ’75), have three children: sons Daniel and Jordan and daughter Kendal. In the fall of 2011, Rader published his first book, Missing Page from the Playbook: Fundamentals Behind the Physical, Mental and Emotional Elements of Commitment.

Rodger A. Randle, JD

Class of 1962
Inducted 1989
Rodger Randle began a distinguished career after Will-on-the-Hill, graduating from the University of Oklahoma, and a earning a law degree from the University of Tulsa.

He began public service with the Peace Corps in Brazil. In 1970, at the age of 27, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, followed by election to the Oklahoma Senate in 1972, with re-election in 1976, 1980 and 1984. Rodger was twice elected president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, the Senate’s top leadership position.

In 1988 he became mayor of the City of Tulsa and led the successful campaign to change the city’s form of government to mayor/city council. The vote came after four unsuccessful charter change attempts during the previous 35 years. Re-elected in 1990 by the largest margin in Tulsa’s history, he became Tulsa’s first mayor under the new form of government, marking the most significant change in the City of Tulsa in the previous 50 years. Rodger became professor in the Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma in 1998. He also holds the title of professor and director of the Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture.

His many civic activities include president and chairman of the national Board of Directors of Sister Cities International, the world’s largest volunteer citizen diplomacy program; locally, he is a past president of various organizations, including Tulsa Global Alliance, Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and the United Nations Association of Northeastern Oklahoma. He currently is the honorary British consul for Oklahoma. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Bond Oversight Committee of the Tulsa Public Schools.

Paula Combest Unruh

Class of 1947
Paula Combest Unruh graduated from Will-on-the-Hill and attended The University of Tulsa and The University of Arkansas. She soon discovered an active interest in politics, which took her all the way from the Oklahoma Young Republicans to the national political arena in Washington, D.C. Her position as Oklahoma Young Republican National Committeewoman led her to Page Belcher, First District congressman, who offered her a job in his Washington, D.C. office. She ultimately became his campaign manager for many years. Paula’s list of community service and honors include American Red Cross Board, Parent/Child Center, Legal Aid Chairman for Tulsa County Bar Association, Jr. Association of Tulsa Boys’ Home, Tulsa Town Hall Board, president of the Tulsa Philharmonic Jr. Association, president of the Women’s Association and Cinderella Ball chairman. In 1973 Paula was honored by Women in Communications as one of their Women of the Year, and in 1974 the mayor asked her to co-chair the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Bond Issue Campaign, which passed after being defeated three previous times. In 1975, President Ford appointed Paula to a nine-year term on the National USO Board. In 1981, President Reagan appointed her to serve as the director of consumer affairs for the Department of Energy. President Reagan again appointed her as principal deputy director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, the first woman to serve in that capacity. She has led international trade missions to Europe and Japan, and was named executive vice- president of the Tulsa Global Trade Foundation.

Preston C. Caruthers

Class of 1945
Preston Caruthers came to Tulsa at age three, after his father’s death. Summers were spent working on his uncle’s farm to help support his family. In addition, he held part-time jobs as a newspaper carrier, grocery delivery boy, and in a butcher shop. Trips to the library fostered a lifelong desire for education. After Preston finished his junior year at Will Rogers, where he was class vice-president, he, like scores of his classmates, answered the call to arms for World War II. Preston’s hard work as a boy prepared him well for the rigors of military life. He continued his studies in English, math and history through military correspondence. Navy Medical Corps School taught him anatomy, physiology and nursing. Preston settled in Arlington, Virginia, where he attended college at George Washington University on the GI Bill. At the age of only 23, Preston started his own construction business, and in the boom of post WWII, was hugely successful because of his talent, energy and business acumen. His crowning achievement was the creation of Belmont Bay in the 1990s—a thriving, beautiful waterfront community only 30 minutes south of Washington, D.C. Preston is affectionately called “Mr. Arlington” because of his outstanding community involvement, including serving on the Arlington County School Board, Virginia State Board of Education, Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges and the Advisors of George Mason University. Preston and his wife have provided generous financial support to Marymount College, the Virginia Hospital Center Foundation and the National Museum of the United States Army.

Lynette Bennett (Danskin)

Class of 1955
LLynette Bennett (Danskin) was a star at Will Rogers and went on to become a star internationally. During her Tulsa days, besides singing, dancing and playing the piano in the Round-Up and other events at Rogers, she appeared in the Annual Sunrise Easter Pageant. Lynette went on to become an award-winning Broadway, film and television actor/singer/dancer. She has lived and performed in New York City, London and Los Angeles, and starred in productions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and London’s West End. Her films have been shown at the New York and Sundance Film Festivals. Lynette’s Broadway performances include Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand, and The Yearling, starring David Hartman. In London, she played reporter Mary Sunshine in the West End production of Chicago. Other London performances included leads in The Merry Widow, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Magic Flute. Off-Broadway, she starred in The Lion in Winter and Gigi. Television appearances include The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, One Life to Live, As the World Turns, America’s Most Wanted and Married With Children. Lynette’s cabaret act was orchestrated by her former pianist Barry Manilow. Lynette is probably best known to television audiences for her marvelous one-woman show on PBS: Will Rogers’ Romance with Betty and America, performed and written by Lynette. Commissioned by Gilcrease Museum, Lynette also wrote and performed in Home Lands: The Surprising Women of the West. She is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who of American

Stephen D. Chesebro’

Class of 1959
Stephen Chesebro’ went from winning the title of “Ugly Man” and barely making the football team to proving himself an outstanding student, both at Will Rogers and the Colorado School of Mines in petroleum engineering, then on to the position of top executive of one of the largest oil companies in America. At CSM, he was quarterback of the football team, all-conference baseball, and a member of the golf team. In 1991 Steve was awarded the school’s Distinguished Achievement Medal; an Honorary Ph.D. followed in 1998. In 2009 he was appointed to the Colorado School of Mines Foundation Board of Governors, and in 2011 was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. During Steve’s leadership with Tenneco Oil Company, their technical team developed a revolutionary gas well completion technology that is now the industry standard. In 1994, he helped to lead the formation of the Gas Industry Standards Board that vastly improved the efficiency and accuracy of the natural gas delivery system throughout North America. These same standards are now being applied to the electrical industry. Steve retired in 1997 as chairman of the board and CEO of Tenneco Energy only to take a two-year position as president and chief operating officer of Pennzoil. Currently, he serves as chairman of the board of Harvest Natural Resources, Inc., an international exploration and production company. Steve’s impressive business career is almost eclipsed by his outstanding community service—a hands-on commitment to youth advocacy programs. He was named Houston’s Child Advocate of the Year in 1996. Steve married Miss Will Rogers XXIII, Dollie Austin, in 1965. They live in Houston and have two children and seven grandchildren.



Class of 1944 - Inducted 2009

Robert Stuart was known as “Jackrabbit” while at Will Rogers because of his 1943 and 1944 state championships in the 100 and 220-yard dash. His 100-yard time was an impressive 9.7 seconds. Robert was an outstanding athlete—track, basketball and football—but it was football that made him a Roper legend. Archrival Central High had held the Ropers scoreless the first three years they played each other (’40, ’41, ’42), but Jackrabbit changed all that when he scored all four touchdowns in the Ropers’ defeat of Central in 1943. He starred at Tulsa University, playing in the Orange Bowl game of 1945, before being drafted into the Army, which led to a West Point appointment. Army was a football powerhouse in the late 1940s, finishing in the top six teams in the nation for five years. Graduating from West Point in 1949, Robert was assigned to the Air Force, where he helped install their first computer system. He left the military in 1955 and worked for Douglas Aircraft in Washington, D.C. and Tulsa. In 1958 Robert joined J. D. Young Co. as a microfilm salesman and is now the chairman of the board. He has been instrumental in the evolution of copiers and printers and streamlined operations for clients such as American Airlines and Phillips Petroleum.


Donald Gene Chandler


Birth: Sep. 5, 1934, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Death: Aug. 11, 2011 Tulsa Oklahoma, USA
Professional Football Player. For twelve seasons (1956 to 1967), he played at the punter and kicker positions in the National Football League with the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Born Donald Gene Chandler, he was raised in Oklahoma where he attended Will Rogers High School (Tulsa) and played collegiate football at the University of Florida. Selected by New York during the 5th round of the 1956 NFL Draft, Chandler experienced a world championship with the Giants while a rookie. As a Packer, he contributed to two world championship titles from the 
dynasty era (which happened to be the first two Super Bowl contests in 1967 and 1968) and during Super Bowl II, he kicked a record 4 field goals, as Green Bay defeated the Oakland Raiders 33 to 14 played on January 14th, 1968. Chandler set a Packers' team record, when he kicked a 90-yard punt against the 49ers in 1965 and holds the team record of eight extra points in a regular season game, when he accomplished this against Atlanta in 1966. In 154 regular season games, he recorded 660 punts for 28,678 yards and totaled 530 points as a kicker. He was a participant in nine world championship contests. He achieved Pro-Bowl status in 1967. Chandler was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1975 and was named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade team.

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Class of 1945 - Inducted 2012

Dr. Warren G. Guntheroth, MD passed away September 17 after suffering a heart attack at his office at University Hospital. He reached the Emergency Room within minutes, fully conscious and giving directions. Dr. Guntheroth met death on good terms; his wife Sally nearby, with little pain and no fear, and without lingering physical or mental disability.
Warren was born in 1927 to working-class parents and grew up in Depression-era Oklahoma. He attended Harvard College and Medical School on an academic scholarship. He met his first wife Ellie when he was a medical resident and she was a nursing student. They had three children together; Kurt, Karl, and Sten, and six grandchildren. Their marriage lasted 52 years, only ending on Ellie's death. Warren's second wife Sally was Ellie's nursing school roommate and maid of honor at his first wedding. Warren was an avid skier, and climbed 500 named mountain peaks. Warren loved his dogs, and loved to talk about them, particularly Sasha, about whom he wrote a book. Dr. Guntheroth joined the faculty of the University of Washington in 1957, founded the department of Pediatric Cardiology, and became a full professor in 1969. He published 184 peer-reviewed papers, four medical books and 54 chapters, including the first medical textbook on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He maintained a clinical practice for 55 years, following thousands of patients from infancy to middle-age. Dr. Guntheroth was the first American to publish a paper calling for the "back to sleep" position for infants, preventing thousands of deaths from SIDS each year. Professor of pediatrics (cardiology), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; author, "How to Read Pediatric ECGs," "Crib Death: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome." Dr. Guntheroth died September 17, 2012.Warren Guntheroth graduated from Will Rogers and received a full scholarship to Harvard University. He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1952 and began his career in  pediatric medicine as a Research Fellow at Harvard from 1953-55. Warren joined the medical staff  of the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle in 1957, where he founded the department  of Pediatric Cardiology and remained for fifty-five years. At the time of his death in 2012, he was the  most senior member of the medical school staff. Dr. Guntheroth’s contributions to pediatric medicine were significant. He was the first American physician to publish a paper calling for the Back to Sleep position for infants, preventing thousands of deaths each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He published hundreds of articles and three books, one of which was translated into five languages. Warren loved mountain climbing and his dogs, and he loved talking about both, so he wrote a book, Climbing with Sasha, his favorite Husky. His autobiography, My Life, Loves and Battles,  honored the profound influence of women in his life and saluted the importance of hard work and honesty. Warren was a fighter for social justice and equality all his life and a generous contributor  to social justice-oriented charities and political causes. As a medical resident in the 50s, he met two nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital, best friends and roommates, Ellie and Sally. In 1954, he and Ellie were married. They had three sons and a happy marriage until Ellie’s death in 2007. Sally had been around the Guntheroth family for 53 years. She and Warren fell in love after Ellie’s death and were married in 2009. Warren and Ellie both valued education and knowledge. All three children went to college. Two became engineers, and the third became an entrepeneur

Fred Sanders


class of 1945

Fred Sanders wanted to study aeronautical engineering after graduation from Will Rogers. Only four schools in the nation offered a degree in that field, and one was Tulsa’s own Spartan College. He completed the four-year program in two years and joined McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis as a design engineer, making $1.22 an hour. After his military service, Fred returned to McDonnell and worked on the F-4 jet fighter at the Northrop facility in California. Future assignments in St. Louis and Florida included design and managerial leadership positions on the Mercury and Gemini space programs; then it was back to California for the Skylab project.
Because of his excellent communication skills, Fred was frequently called upon to host tours and provide information to Congress, astronauts and scientists, such as Dr. Wernher von Braun. Fred was awarded the NASA Prestigious Public Service Award in 1974, and was vice president and general manager of the St. Louis division of McDonnell-Douglas Astronautics when he retired in 1988. The engineers held the lives of the astronauts in their hands and astronaut Bill Pogue, pilot of Skylab 4, said of Fred, “This may seem a trivial problem, but as an ‘end user’ of a product, one certainly feels a surge of confidence when people managing the program, led by Fred Sanders, solved even the most trivial problems with speed, dedication and dispatch.”
Fred died in 2010.


Gordona Duca


Gordona Moore Duca received her real estate license in 1971, and was recognized, both locally and nationally, as one of the outstanding realtors in residential real estate. She opened her own real estate firm in 1975, and was named realtor emeritus in 2011 by the National Association of Realtors. During her extraordinarily successful career, Gordona received many recognitions and honors. She was appointed by Governor David Walters to the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission. She was reappointed to a second term by Governor Frank Keating, and served as chair of the commission. Gordona served on the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank board in addition to serving on the boards of the Metro Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority, Tulsa Regional Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Metro Christian Academy, Indian Nations Council of Boy Scouts, Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, Cystic Fibrosis, Tulsa Area United Way, Leadership Tulsa, Arts and Humanities Council and the Junior League of Tulsa.
Tulsans voted Gordona the Best Business Owner in Tulsa People Magazine in 1988. In 1997 Gordona was named the Oklahoma Business Woman of the Year by The Journal Record, and in 1993 she was named Realtor of the Year by the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors. She was presented with the PHH Cup in 1992, which is the highest award given by the largest relocation company in the real estate industry. Gordona is married to Larry Heiliger and has one daughter, Dawn Duca.

Carol Walsh Morsani

Class of 1949
Inducted 2009
Carol Walsh Morsani and Frank Morsani met at Will Rogers, graduated from Oklahoma State University, and have been married for 62 years. Carol has been extremely active in many nonprofit organizations and served on countless boards. Currently Carol serves on the Foundation Board of the Moffitt Cancer Center. She is a major benefactor and has served on the board of the Tampa Museum of Art. Carol was instrumental in the creation of the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy at the University of South Florida as well as the Merit Society associated with Both Carol and Frank have many prestigious awards, including doctor of humane letters from the University of South Florida, and honorary doctor of letters from Oklahoma State University, which has awarded only 18 honorary doctorates in its 123-year existence. Carol received the Henry Bennett Award for Distinguished Service from Oklahoma State University, as well as the Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction. She shares with Frank the Judeo Christian Humanities Award and the Philanthropists of the Year award from the City of Tampa. In 2002, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce named Carol the Cultural Contributor of the Year.


Frank Morsani

Class of 1949
Inducted 2009

A graduate of Will Rogers and Oklahoma State University, Frank Morsani served four years in the Navy during the Korean War. His career was predominately in the automotive industry, ranging from serving as a Ford Motor Company representative to owning a large network of automobile dealerships in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Nevada. Like his wife Carol, Frank is active in community leadership and philanthropy. Chief Justice Berger appointed Frank to the Prison Industries Council and he served on many boards in Washington, D.C., including the National Automobile Dealership Association, Board of Import Automobile Dealerships, and the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where he was chairman in 1985-1986. He chaired the board of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center for nine years. President Carter appointed Frank to the White House Conference on Small Business. President Reagan appointed him to the Small Business Administration Advisory Council.
Both Frank and Carol have endowed chairs at Oklahoma State University, the University of South Florida, University of Tampa and Moffitt Cancer Research Hospital. They endowed the Medical School named in their honor, and the Clinic for Advanced Health Care. They both served on the Community Foundation Board. Their philanthropy has supported the visual arts, performing arts, education, medical research, and humanitarian charities.



Class of 1953 - Inducted 2013

Gordon Morgan was an All-State baseball player for Will Rogers in 1953 and upon graduation he was drafted into professional baseball. He played minor league ball for the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, where he earned the nickname Cannonball for his powerful arm. A knee injury, however, ended his pro baseball career. Then Gordon left baseball for the U.S. Army. He later graduated from The University of Tulsa, where he was the varsity baseball coach from 1959 to 1962. Gordon returned to Rogers where he taught and coached from 1962 to 1988, changing the lives of countless young people. He coached swimming, cross-country and baseball (502 wins – 198 losses), winning four state championships. His teams won ten Conference Championships and 13 regional titles. He coached 17 Oklahoma All-State players, three of whom were High School All-American, then went on to play professional baseball, with two going to the major leagues with the New York Mets. After retirement from Will Rogers, Gordon coached nine years at Bishop Kelley High School, where he won three state championships, nine regional and nine conference titles in girls’ softball. He co-founded the Sunbelt Classic Series (now known as the Heartland Baseball Classic), the elite high school baseball series in America—a baseball scout’s dream for the recruitment of excellent players.
Gordon was named Coach of the Year ten times by City, Regional and State Associations, and was inducted into The Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Baseball Coaches, Oklahoma Softball Coaches Hall of Fame and Bishop Kelley Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Morgan died in 2005.



Class of 1955 - Inducted 2012


Centrahoma, Caddo, Antlers, Harthorne, Jenks. Paul Davis lived in numerous Oklahoma towns before arriving at Woodrow Wilson Junior High and Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, where his art teachers–Mr. Higgins in 8th grade, Ms. Ownby in 9th, and Hortense Bateholts at Will Rogers–encouraged his talent. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York on scholarship, and worked at the famed Push Pin Studios before embarking on a long and successful free-lance career. His distinctive style led to commissions for magazines, books and posters, most notably for Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, and his paintings have been the subject of solo exhibitions in galleries and museums in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Davis also created posters for Tulsa Mayfest 2002 and for Will Rogers High School 75th Anniversary. Honors include Halls of Fame of the Art Directors Club and the Society of Illustrators, and doctorates from SVA and the Maryland Institute College of Art. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. In 1988 Governor Frank Keating declared the opening date of his exhibition at the Philbrook Museum “Paul Davis Day.” www.okdavis.com



Class of 1956 - Inducted 2012

Nancy Jo Daulton Beier, known as “Jo” while at Rogers, appeared as Bloody Mary in Rogers’ production of South Pacific, as well as soloing in the Round Up and Messiah choir concerts. She began her voice study in Tulsa with Lorna Moore, then studied with Richard Conrad, Boston Academy of Music, and coached with the late Wolfgang Vacano of Indiana University and Teatro Colón, Argentina.
Jo made her European debut as Tosca at the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landestheater, in Flensburg, (then West) Germany, where she was engaged as dramatic soprano, specializing in the operas of Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Puccini and Mozart. During her years in Europe, she sang dramatic soprano roles in many German and Danish opera houses, as well as concerts with German orchestras. She performed recitals and concerts in Italy, England, the Netherlands and In the USA, she has performed with symphony orchestras and regional opera companies around the country, including San Francisco Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, The Opera Organization, and Opera in the Ozarks.
Jo also had a varied career in the Broadway genre, performing around the USA in Hello, Dolly!, The Sound of Music, Carousel, Camelot, Man of La Mancha, Once Upon a Mattress, Damn Yankees, Cabaret, and many others.
Jo lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she still is actively teaching, performing and directing—in her 70s—and is a sought-after adjudicator for the Washington State Music Teachers Association. She also teaches master classes in Seattle.


Russell Myers  

Class of 1956 - Inducted 2011

Russell Myers, was known by his friends as “Roo” while at Will Rogers. He was born in Pittsburg, Kansas and moved to Tulsa, the Oil Capital of The World, in 1946, where his father taught at The University of Tulsa.

In Russell’s own words: “I was interested in cartooning as far back as I can remember and always wanted to draw a comic strip. Most of my early training came from drawing in my notebook when I should have been paying attention in class. After graduating from Tulsa University in 1960, I absconded to Kansas City, Missouri, to work for Hallmark, writing and drawing (hopefully) funny greeting cards.I submitted my first strip to the syndicates at age 16, while still at Will Rogers. Thus began a steady succession of failures that finally culminated in the sale of Broom-Hilda in 1970, a welcome break from my 15-year-long pattern of rejections. In 1964, I married Marina and we’re still going strong. We have two kids, Stewart and Rosie, neither of whom have ever been arrested for anything and seem to like us so we consider ourselves successful parents. We currently live in southern Oregon where I stare out at the Rogue River when not dozing or drawing Broom-Hilda.”


Class of 1956 - Inducted 2009

After completing high school, Phil Butler graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1961. He became a naval aviator in 1962, flying jets off aircraft carriers in combat during the Vietnam War. On April 20, 1965, his bombs malfunctioned, causing his A4C Skyhawk to explode. He survived the ejection and evaded the enemy for four days, but was captured and became a POW for 2,855 days—the eighth longest-held POW, enduring deplorable conditions and torturous treatment . Only 685 U.S. prisoners survived their ordeals, largely due to the support and encouragement from their fellow American prisoners, and a commitment to the Vietnam POW motto: “Return With Honor.” His military decorations include two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, two Legions of Merit, two Purple Hearts and the Medal of Valor from Oklahoma. After his release in 1973, he spent eight months recovering and readjusting to normal life, then earned a masters and doctorate of philosophy from The University of California, San Diego. Phil completed his Navy career as an organizational development consultant and professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He retired from the Navy in 1981, and founded Camelot Enterprises, a consulting company working with corporations on team building, interpersonal skills, leadership development and strategic planning. Phil was able to use personal examples from his Navy education, his career, and his POW experiences as a motivational speaker and seminar leader. He continues to contribute—volunteering for community service organizations, serving on the board of directors for more than 20.He exemplifies Live with Honor, defined as respect, commitment and service dedicated to peace and social justice, the environment, and improving quality of life for those less fortunate. Phil Butler’s life defines what it means to be a hero. His autobiography is “Three Lives of a Warrior.”


Class of 1957 - Inducted 2013

Janet Wright Kizziar graduated from Will Rogers and The University of Tulsa, returned to Will-on-the-Hill to teach English and Journalism, then completed her doctorate in psychology at TU. She and her late twin, Dr. Judy Hagedorn, opened a psychology practice, hosted two local TV talk shows and were the first women honored as University of Tulsa Distinguished Alumni. They appeared on network television shows, including Good Morning America and Today, and were interviewed by Larry King, Dick Cavett, Barbara Walters and Tom Snyder. The twins published two books, Search for Acceptance: The Adolescent and Self Esteem, and GEMINI: The Psychology and Phenomena of Twins. Janet’s proudest accomplishment is being a founding member of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. Fresh Start has helped more than 200,000 women in need who are seeking self-sufficiency, and opened a state-of-the-art Women’s Resource Center on October 1, 2002. She remains committed to helping women to help themselves. The YWCA in Phoenix honored Janet at their Tribute to Women for her work in health and healing. She continues to advocate for those dealing with domestic violence, child abuse, AIDS, co-dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, and adolescent pregnancy. She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Women, and International Who’s Who in Community Service.
Janet’s favorite quote is from George Eliot. It hangs on a plaque dedicated to her at the Women’s Foundation Resource Center: “What do we live for, if not to make the world less difficult for each other?”

Anita Bryant (Dry)

Class of 1958
Inducted 1989
Anita Bryant (Dry), singer, TV personality, author, and founder of Anita Bryant Ministries, International, made her debut at two years old, singing Jesus Loves Me. At ten, she had her own TV show. At Will Rogers, she was active in the Round-Up, the choral music program and, as a sophomore, played Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Anita was a finalist for Miss America, and appeared regularly on such radio and television shows as The Don McNeil Breakfast Club, George Gobel and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. She appeared with Dr. Billy Graham in his crusades, and she and Dr. Graham have the distinction of being the only two people who have appeared at both the Democratic and Republican political conventions. Several White House appearances made her President Johnson’s favorite singer, and he requested that she sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic at his funeral. She toured with Bob Hope, entertaining the troops overseas for seven years and appeared on his televised Christmas Special. Anita was voted the most admired woman in America three years in a row by Good Housekeeping Magazine and was named one of the most influential women in America by the Gallup Poll. Anita was the commercial face for Coca-Cola and the Florida Citrus Commission, and was the first woman inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Her smiling face singing “Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree…” was seen hundreds of times each month on TV. At the age of 26, she was the youngest person ever inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.




Class of 1959

M.D., Ph.D., M.H.A

Inducted in 2009

James W. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., attended the University of Tulsa and was accepted into Tulane University School of Medicine early, on scholarship, where he earned his doctor of medicine degree. He earned his Ph.D. in cell biology, also from Tulane. In 2002 Jim earned a master of health administration from the University of Missouri. Jim’s intern, residency and fellowships took him to Philadelphia General Hospital, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Charity Hospital of Louisiana, and Ochsner Clinic. As a result, he became board certified in general surgery, thoracic surgery, and critical care. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps as a lieutenant commander, 2nd Marine Division, and has variously been professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, chief of surgery at the Houston Veterans Affairs Hospital, and chair of surgery at the University of Missouri. He considers himself most fortunate to have been hired by Dr Michael DeBakey at Baylor College during the “golden years” of heart surgery. Jim is Assistant Editor, Journal of Vascular Surgery and, as an author, has published three books on medical ethics and has more than 370 peer-reviewed publications. A PADI master certification in scuba diving has enabled Jim to visit vaunted dive sites worldwide. In a career spanning 35 years, he performed or supervised over 12,000 open heart operations. Invited lectureships allowed Jim and his bride to travel extensively. He states that his greatest professional gratification has been participation in the education of thousands of medical students and hundreds of surgeons.

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