JUNE 28, 2006


Henry Bellmon Scholarship announced at OSU-Tulsa

Former Oklahoma Governor Henry Bellmon, Len Eaton and OSU-Tulsa President Gary Trennepohl gather to celebrate Bellmon’s award as the 2006 Tulsa Press Club’s Headliner honoree.

Former Oklahoma Governor and U.S. Senator Henry Bellmon was recently honored by the Tulsa Press Club as its 2006 Headliner honoree. Donations and proceeds from the event will be used to create the Governor Henry Bellmon/Tulsa Press Club President's Distinguished Scholarship at OSU-Tulsa, a $55,000 endowed scholarship.

This will be OSU-Tulsa’s first president’s distinguished scholarship, which is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship at OSU. The scholarship will be awarded to students with outstanding academic credentials and strong leadership abilities.

“The creation of the Henry Bellmon Scholarship at OSU-Tulsa will create a legacy that helps bring a college education within the reach of talented and deserving students,” said OSU-Tulsa President Gary Trennepohl. “It is an honor to have Governor Bellmon’s leadership celebrated through a scholarship that creates an investment in our students who are tomorrow’s leaders.”

During the event, leaders from the media, government and business took turns paying tribute to one of Oklahoma’s most distinguished statesmen. The dinner’s theme, “An Oklahoma Original,” highlighted Bellmon’s extraordinary life.

A native of Billings, Oklahoma, Bellmon grew up on a farm his father homesteaded in 1897. Knowing he wanted to be a farmer, Bellmon studied agriculture and graduated from Oklahoma A&M (now OSU) in 1942. Following graduation, he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was a tank platoon leader in World War II.

Following the war, he returned to farming and entered politics. He was elected to the Oklahoma legislature in 1946, and in 1962 was elected Oklahoma’s first Republican governor. Under Oklahoma law at the time, he was not able to run for a second term.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968 and reelected in 1974. He did not run for a third term. In 1986, he was again elected governor of Oklahoma.

Throughout his career, Bellmon has championed education in Oklahoma, specifically with the passage of HB 1017, an educational reform bill that passed during his second term as governor. As the state’s chief executive officer, economic development and making Oklahoma an attractive place to do business was also a high priority for Bellmon.

In recent years, he has been a professor and lecturer at OSU. He continues to raise wheat and cattle on his farm near Billings. His wife of over fifty years, Shirley, is also an OSU alum, as are their three daughters.

Russ Florence (OSU Class of 1986), Tulsa Press Club president and vice president of Schnake Turnbo Frank, said no one is more deserving of the recognition than Bellmon.

“Few people in modern Oklahoma have the widespread respect and admiration that Governor Bellmon has,” he said. “As a public servant, Governor Bellmon took bold steps in moving our state forward. But he did so with tact and humility, without alienating any part of his constituency. That’s the mark of a true leader.”

Contact: Mary Bea Drummond, 1.918.594.8223 or 1.918.594.8360