In addition to capturing Sooner hearts with his big grin and efficient three-pointers, senior guard Buddy Hield swept up nearly every honor attainable in college basketball. Buddy Buckets, as he was nicknamed by fans, took home the Wooden Award, the Naismith Trophy, his second consecutive Big 12 Player of the Year title, the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the Sporting News College Player of the Year and was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.
Oville Rogers racked up his fourth world record in March by winning the 1500-meter race at the USA Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships. Did we mention that Orville is 98? The OU 1940 mechanical engineering alum holds world records for 800 meters, the mile, and 3,000 meters, as well as American records in 60 meters and 200 meters. “I can’t wait to be 100,” Orville told The Dallas Morning News. “In the 100 age group, there are only one or two records across the board.”
Whoo Can You Count On?
OU-Tulsa groundskeeper Mitch Braden came to the rescue of a Great Horned Owl who had become ensnared in a soccer goal net. Thinking quickly, Braden threw a hoodie over the owl and scooped it up for a short car ride to a local animal hospital. “Professor Owl” received fluids and stayed overnight at a bird rehabilitation organization before being set free back on the OU-Tulsa campus.
Striker Wins Sullivant
In May, graduating OU linebacker Eric Striker became the first student ever to receive the university’s Otis Sullivant Award for Perceptivity. The prize recognizes a faculty or staff member or student who exhibits “keen perceptivity.” Striker was recognized for leadership in the midst of a March 2015 racial incident, when he led discussions about diversity and created dialogue between students. “He has many times demonstrated the moral courage to speak out against injustice both on campus and in the broader society,” said selection committee chair and OU First Lady Molly Shi Boren.
If an entire college could bust its buttons with pride, OU’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications would have on April 18, when three alumni won the Pulitzer Prize. The most coveted award in journalism was given to David Fallis of The Washington Post and married alumni Mark Potts and Hailey Branson-Potts of The Los Angeles Times. Fallis, deputy editor of the Post’s investigations unit, was recognized for national reporting while leading and editing a team of journalists who identified and analyzed nationwide police violence. The Pottses, who are a video editor and metro reporter for the Times, were honored for breaking news reporting while covering December’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Beyond Broadway and Borders
Actress Annie Funke made her mark shortly after graduating from OU’s musical theatre program in 2007, with appearances in the Broadway production of “Hairspray” and roles in such films as “A Most Violent Year” and “The Intern.” Now, she is starring in CBS’s new series, “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.” Funke, who won the 2016 OU Regents Alumni Award, is cast as “the team’s fearless and fun” FBI medical examiner, Mae Jarvis.
After graduating with a degree in environmental studies in 2011, OU alumnus Patrick Beall, cleaned the Mississippi River and worked in Alaska as an outdoor guide. There his introduction to sled dogs—an almost zero emission form of transportation—warmed his heart. Working with the Seavey family, legendary in the dog-sledding world, Beall turned a group of puppies into a team of sled dogs. In March he took the two-year-olds on their Iditarod, a grueling 1,000 mile race through the Alaskan wilderness. “They did great,” says Beall, who finished the race in 11 days, 21 hours.