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Sooner Shorts
News and events from around OU.

Coach Johnson says farewell

Coach Johnson signs off

Mike Simons/Tulsa World

Merv Johnson, who began his 41-year career with OU football as an assistant coach to Barry Switzer and later moved to the press box as a radio analyst, announced his retirement from broadcasting in September. After his coaching career, Johnson, 84, became director of football operations and, in 1999, was hired by OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione as a Sooners football radio analyst. After working 513 OU games, home and away since 1979, Johnson says, “I’m looking forward to spending time with my family. My family is all around me here. I’m going to love watching the games with them.”

Fred Jones opens OK/LA

An exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art features the work of six former Oklahomans who left the state in the late 1950s for Los Angeles. Patrick Blackwell, Joe Goode, Jerry McMillan, Ed Ruscha, Paul Ruscha and Mason Williams all took different paths, but their shared background, expressed through different media with a rich familiarity and inside jokes, is evident in their six decades of work. The exhibit runs through March 7. 

Medal of Freedom Winner

Terri White, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work at OU, was awarded the Oklahoma National Guard’s Medal of Freedom, the Guard’s highest civilian honor, during ceremonies in September. White, the CEO of the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, received the award for her 13 years as commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Previous winners have included former Oklahoma governors George Nigh, Frank Keating and Brad Henry.

Women outnumber men in dental surgery degrees

For the first time since its founding, the OU College of Dentistry Class of 2020 graduated more women than men with doctorate degrees in dental surgery.  The 62 graduates numbered 32 women and 30 men. The 2021 graduating class is close behind, with the second-highest number of women earning doctorate degrees in that field.  Says Raymond A. Cohlmia, dean of the College of Dentistry, “I am enormously proud of the Class of 2020, and am honored to now call them my colleagues.”

Boomer and Sooner, the prequel

Ever wonder how two ordinary ponies made it from the Oklahoma prairie to Owen Field? Toby Rowland, the Voice of the Sooners, has written a children’s book relating the back story of how the famous pair earned their dream job pulling the Sooner Schooner in Unhitch the Wagon, the Story of Boomer and Sooner. The book is officially licensed by The University of Oklahoma and is available at ascendbooks.com.

OU launches new AI Institute for weather research

With a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation, OU is poised to become a national center for the application of artificial intelligence in weather research. Professor Amy McGovern, who holds dual appointments in the School of Computer Science and the School of Meteorology, will lead the NSF AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate and Coastal Oceanography. 

Price College of Business programs rise in rank

George T.  Dotson

Price College’s international business program rose five spots to 24th in the nation and the Tom Love Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development rose four spots to 27th.  Overall, the college’s undergraduate program ranked 34th among public universities and 53rd among all universities, public and private. According to U.S. News and World Report, undergraduate business school rankings are based solely on the judgments of deans and senior faculty members at peer institutions.