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

Pioneering the AI Frontier

Artificial intelligence is impacting every facet of life, and the University of Oklahoma is pioneering a key role in the AI revolution. OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. addressed OU’s leadership in AI through an editorial to the people of the state, published recently in The Oklahoman. You can read his column at


Kyle Phillips/Norman Transcript

OU fans around the world knew they’d seen history moments before the Sooners softball team dogpiled in a joyous celebration at the Women’s College World Series. The Sooners racked up their fourth consecutive national championship—the most consecutive wins in NCAA records. The title is OU’s eighth, trailing only UCLA’s total of 12. OU also shared the glory by using five pitchers, the most in any WCWS championship final. The fact that the win came against No. 1 University of Texas only made the party in Oklahoma City’s Devon Park that much sweeter.

Fly Away Home  

Travis Caperton

OU’s award-winning School of Aviation welcomed nine new Piper single-engine airplanes during an April 19 fly-in event at Norman’s Max Westheimer Airport. Enrollment in OU’s top-rated aviation program has doubled within the past two years, and the new planes will increase capacity for flight training. OU’s fleet—which eventually will grow to 28 planes—also includes two helicopters. A fixed-wing helicopter aviation program will launch next year.

OU Polytechnic Launches First Program

There are more than 4,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in Oklahoma, but OU Polytechnic Institute’s new Cybersecurity Degree Completion Program at OU-Tulsa is ready to meet workforce needs here and abroad. Programs coming soon are artificial intelligence, software development and integration, digital manufacturing and health information systems. OUPI classes are hands-on and in-person. Registration for the Cybersecurity Degree Completion Program is available at through July 1.

A Song for Zuzu

Zuzu Martin dreamt of becoming a NASA scientist and was just 12 when she lost her cancer battle as a patient at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health in 2022. The daughter of OU Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band alumni Eric and MaryAnn Martin played the French horn for Norman’s Whittier Middle School band. In tribute, Whittier band instructor and fellow Pride alum Heather Bellows commissioned a song from retired Pride director Roland Barrett. “From This Window, Like the Moon” debuted in April during Whittier’s eighth-grade concert, performed by Zuzu’s former bandmates at their final performance together. 

Unearthing Plague Secrets

Kate Joyce/Santa Fe Institute

Marine sediments from the Roman Empire between 600 and 200 B.C.E. are helping researchers like Kyle Harper unlock connections between climate change and plagues. Harper—OU’s G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty—published a study with colleagues in the journal Science Advances. Their work shows climate change and the outbreak of infectious diseases went hand-in-hand in ancient Rome. “Climate affects the biology of the pathogen, ecosystems and human societies,” says Harper, who is the author of Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History.

Honoring A Half-Century of Service

OU Western History Collections

After 50 years of teaching economics to more than 10,000 OU students—including President Joseph Harroz Jr. and former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry—OU Regents’ Professor of Economics Alexander Holmes is retiring. Holmes served as chair of the OU Department of Economics for 12 years. A gifted artist, he also transformed wood from the historic Pe-et Elm into two grandfather clocks that can be seen in the president’s office and Bizzell Memorial Library.

Go Fish

OU features more than 500 student clubs and organizations, including the OU Bass Club. Students who love the outdoors can join teams of bass anglers who compete in tournaments against other major colleges year-round on the Major League Fishing, BASS Nation, Oklahoma Bass Nation and Collegiate Bass Trail of Texas circuits. Sponsors and donors keep the team ready to land the next “big one.”

Put a Ring On It

Travis Caperton

Amidst the whirlwind of classes, activities and “final everything” leading up to spring Commencement, OU seniors pause for April’s OU Ring Ceremony and receive a memento that will mark them forever as a member of the Sooner Nation.

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