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A publication of the University of Oklahoma Foundation
Sooner Shorts
News and events from around OU.

OU researchers listed tops in the nation

Mike Fuhr/The Nature Conservancy

The journal PLOS Biology has listed 188 University of Oklahoma scientists among the most influential researchers in the world based on career-long impacts across a broad range of disciplines. Of these scholars, Jizhong Zhou, the director of the OU Institute for Environmental Genomics and George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, was also listed among the top 0.1%, of the world’s researchers by the research analytics company, Web of Science. Zhou, whose work was featured in the Fall 2019 issue of Sooner Magazine, investigates the effects of climate change on soil as a predictor of consequences in a larger ecosystem. 

Stoops named to hall of fame

Ty Russell/OU Athletics

Former Sooners’ head football coach Bob Stoops has been named to the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class by the National Football Foundation in his first year of eligibility. Stoops, who coached the Sooners from 1999 to 2017, has the most wins in Oklahoma football history and claimed 10 Big 12 Conference titles. He was the only coach in the BCS era to win the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and the national championship. Stoops is OU’s sixth head coach in the College Hall of Fame, joining Bennie Owen (who coached at OU from 1905-26), Lawrence “Biff” Jones (1935-36), Jim Tatum (1946),  Bud Wilkinson (1947-63)  and Barry Switzer (1973-88). 

DEI officer joins OU-Tulsa

Jasmine Willis-Wallace has joined OU-Tulsa as the director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She has a Ph.D. in education with a focus on higher education administration and a master of science in college student development and counseling from Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. “Having champions for this important work on each campus is vital,” says Belinda Higgs-Hyppolite, OU vice president of diversity and inclusion. “We are very excited Dr. Willis-Wallace has decided to join this effort and further the DEI work in Tulsa.” 

Sooner Magazine welcomes new column

This issue of Sooner Magazine marks the debut of Lest We Forget . . . a column by David W. Levy, OU Professor Emeritus of History. Throughout four decades of research, teaching and writing, Levy has uncovered a treasure trove of remarkable OU people who have left their mark on the University, but may not be widely known. He says each column will focus on a person whose contributions to the University deserve to be remembered. Levy is the author of The University of Oklahoma: A History: Volumes I and II, which take the reader from the University’s territorial days through the post-war boom of 1950. 

OU sculpture professor receives national award

Paul Moore, artist-in-residence and professor of figurative sculpture at the University of Oklahoma, is the recipient of the nation’s most prestigious award for sculpture in recognition of his contributions to the art over the past 40 years. The National Sculpture Society will present Moore the Special Medal of Honor at its annual conference this summer. Moore, best known for his depictions of the American West, joins past recipients such as Daniel Chester French, who created the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and Paul Manship, renowned for his sculpture of Prometheus in New York City’s Rockefeller Center. Moore is one of only 28 artists in the society’s 127-year history to receive the award.

New dean of libraries welcomed

One of OU’s own is returning to the Norman campus as dean of OU Libraries. A former member of the OU Pride and a Bizzell Memorial Library employee, Denise Stephens received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in library and information studies at OU before embarking on a career that included positions at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her current role as vice provost and university librarian at Washington University in St. Louis. At Washington, Stephens manages the university libraries’ nine locations and the system’s archives and special collections. She also serves on the Center for Research Libraries Global Resources Network and as the chair of the Digital Public Library of America Board of Directors.

Crimson and skis

Kyle Phillips

Sarah Hobson finds a creative way to get around OU's Norman campus after back-to-back storms dumped several inches of snow the week of Feb. 15. In addition to great exercise, the cross-country skis produce zero emissions, quite fitting for Hobson, who is an undergraduate in environmental engineering and 2021's Outstanding Senior in the Gallogly College of Engineering.