Class of 2023

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Congratulations to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of 2023! This year's Honorees are:

  • Dwight Adams, Edmond
  • John A. "Rocky" Barrett, Jr., Shawnee
  • Judith James, M.D., PH.D., Pond Creek
  • Bill Lance, Sulphur
  • J Mays, Maysville
  • Madeline Manning Mims, Tulsa
  • Barry Pollard, M.D., Waukomis
  • Mary Golda Ross (posthumous), Park Hill

The 2023 Class will be formally inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Thursday, November 16 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Norman Hotel & Conference Center in Norman.

2023 Honorees will also be recognized with the unveiling of their portraits at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum and their biographies, photos, and videos will be accessible through interactive exhibits in the Museum.

Being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is Oklahoma's Highest Honor. Since the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s inception in 1927, 730 accomplished individuals have received this commendation. View all Oklahoma Hall of Fame Members.

Learn About This Year's Class of Honorees

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After earning his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma respectively, Dwight Adams joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent. Following his time in the Memphis office, he was transferred to the FBI Laboratory’s Research Team. This team was responsible for developing DNA techniques first used in 1988.

The first person to testify regarding DNA profiling, Adams testified for both the prosecution and defense more than 130 times. He served on the National DNA Advisory Board, responsible for creating standards governing all DNA testing crime laboratories in the United States, and was a member of the Attorney General's National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. Adams oversaw the creation of the National DNA Database which linked 200 crime laboratories. Since its creation, the database has resulted in the solving of more than 500,000 cases nationwide.

In 2003, Adams was the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award as Distinguished Executive, the highest award given in the Federal Government. He retired from the FBI following 23 years of service and serving as the director of the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, the largest crime lab in the world. Adams then returned home, to his alma mater, and became the first director of the W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma. The Institute is recognized as a national leader in forensic science education and the largest program in the country.

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Chairman John A. “Rocky” Barrett, Jr. has served as an elected official for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation since 1973. Tribal Chairman since 1985, Barrett is the eighth generation of his family to serve in elected office. Under his leadership, the Nation’s assets have grown from just $550 and less than three acres of land to an entity with over $800 million in assets and an annual economic impact exceeding $550 million.

During Chairman Barrett’s administration, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation has experienced more than 15% average annual growth for more than 20 consecutive years. With more than 2,300 employees, Citizen Potawatomi Nation is the largest employer in Pottawatomie County. Barrett serves as the Chief Executive of the Tribe, presiding over the 16-member Tribal Legislature that enacts the laws and ordinances under which it is governed. His elected position as Tribal Chairman also requires him to direct the Tribe’s administrative functions and commercial activities. He was instrumental in the creation and adoption of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s current constitution and statutes, leading to the Nation’s stability and progress.

Barrett has guest lectured at Harvard University for the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and at the Banff Center in Banff, Alberta, Canada, to the assembled Canadian First Nations. He serves on the International Advisory Council of the Native Nations Institute founded by the Morris Udall Foundation at the University of Arizona and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. His recent honors include the Leadership Award for Public Service from the International Economic Development Council.

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An internationally-recognized physician and scientist, Judith James, Executive Vice President at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, is a fifth-generation Oklahoman who has dedicated her career to understanding autoimmune diseases and improving the health of Oklahomans. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and was the first M.D./Ph.D. dual degree program graduate from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC).

A board-certified rheumatologist, James has made seminal contributions to understanding how autoimmune diseases start and progress. She has published more than 330 articles and is the principal investigator for numerous National Institutes of Health-funded grants. She leads national consortia focused on finding better directed therapies for autoimmune disease patients. As Associate Vice Provost for Clinical and Translational Science at OUHSC, James leads the NIH-funded Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources, bringing together 29 Oklahoma entities focused on improving health outcomes for our citizens. She has had over 150 trainees in her lab, training rural students and tribal members. James still practices rheumatology, focusing on lupus and related rheumatic conditions.

Her numerous awards and recognitions include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Lupus Foundation of America’s Evelyn V. Hess Award, and the Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation. An elected member of the Association of American Physicians, in 2022 she became the first Oklahoma woman elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors bestowed in the field.

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The first-ever Secretary of State for The Chickasaw Nation, fifth-generation Oklahoman Bill Lance is known for his appealing personal style, sound character, business acumen, and a strong sense of purpose—delivering sustainable benefits to the Chickasaw people and the broader community.

A trusted confidant to Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Lance is a loyal Chickasaw citizen whose determined efforts and persistent pursuits advance and enhance both The Chickasaw Nation and the State of Oklahoma. Before being named Secretary of State in 2022, Lance was the longest-serving Secretary of Commerce in Chickasaw Nation history and served as administrator of the tribal health system. Lance has seen firsthand how gaming, entertainment, and hospitality have transformed tribal economies, resulting in a substantial positive impact on and investment in education, healthcare, housing, and cultural revitalization. Under his leadership the Nation’s annual net income has more than tripled, over 7,000 jobs have been created, and the 370,000-square-foot Chickasaw Nation Medical Center opened in Ada.

Dedicated to serving others and generous with his time, Lance not only represents the Nation on community and corporate boards, including the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the American Gaming Association, but lends his talent to regional, statewide, and charitable causes as well. His honors include being a Global Achievement Honoree by Sister Cities Oklahoma City International and induction to the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business.

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Upon graduation from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, J Mays already had caught the attention of the German auto company Audi. Since then he has raised the public profile of the automobile designer through his work with the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers, including Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, and Ford.

For more than four decades, Mays has incorporated the latest trends in automobile culture with his unique intuitiveness for the emotional connection we have with our cars to create the most iconic models in automobile history. He is responsible for Concept One, the precursor to Volkswagen’s New Beetle. The Beetle remains one of the most popular and recognized cars on the road today. From the Aston Martin DB9 and the Audi TT to the Ford Mustang and F-150, the creations of Mays run the gamut in design, technology, and function. When Pixar studios wanted to visit a design studio while planning for the production of Cars, they consulted with Mays.

Mays has used his success as a platform to challenge the voice and thinking that traditionally has kept automobile designers separate from those that shape buildings, furniture, and consumer products. The BBC has spotlighted his career and achievements. He has been profiled by architecture critic Paul Goldberger in The New Yorker. And his work has been the subject of a major museum exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

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An Olympic medalist in track at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, Madeline Manning Mims became the only American woman to win Gold in the 800 meter for more than 50 years. In addition to setting Olympic and World records, she was the first American woman to break the two-minute barrier in the 800 meter. She earned Silver in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team, was the 1975 Pan American Champion, and won the 400 meter in the 1966 World University Games. A member of four Olympic teams for the USA, her international career spanned 16 years and included ten national titles and a number of American records. Mims opened the global door for women of color to participate in distance running.

Following retirement, she founded and continues to serve as president of the United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy. She served as chaplain for nine Olympic Games, six years as chaplain for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, and has shared her personal testimony with the White House and on the steps of the Nation’s capital in response to the presidential address to the Olympians and the American people in 1980, the year the U.S. boycotted the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.

Mims has been inducted to the Olympic Hall of Fame, was recognized as an Olympic Legend at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and is featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

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Following graduation from Oklahoma State University with a degree in biochemistry and the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine with neurosurgery as his specialty, Barry Pollard established his practice in Enid. During his more than 40 years serving the community, he performed over 20,000 life-saving and life-changing surgeries, procedures previously unavailable in the more rural area of Oklahoma. Pollard’s commitment allowed local citizens to receive treatment and long-term care close to home.

An avid farmer of approximately 10,000 acres, Pollard is a member of the American Angus Association and runs a registered herd of high-quality Angus genetics. He serves as vice president of the national organization, becoming president in 2024. Pollard opened his first John Deere location in 1985. Today, P&K Equipment has grown to 29 John Deere locations in Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arkansas and employs more than 800 men and women. Pollard is well-known for his support of Future Farmers of America and 4-H events, frequently organizing and volunteering at local events.

Pollard served ten years on the Oklahoma State University Foundation’s Board of Trustees, with two years as president during the billion-dollar campaign, and is a founding member of OSU’s Medical Cowboys to ensure funding for those interested in the medical field and serving rural communities. In addition, he currently serves on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. His awards and honors include induction to the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame.

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The first known Native American female engineer and the first female engineer in the history of Lockheed, Mary Golda Ross was born in the capital of the Cherokee Nation. She earned a degree in mathematics from Northeastern State Teacher’s College and graduated from Colorado State Teachers College with her master’s.

Like many, in 1942 Ross answered the call of World War II and joined Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as a mathematical research assistant. As part of the Advanced Development Projects group she worked to improve the design of the P-38 Lightning, a fighter plane used by the United States Army Air Forces. The study of how aircraft respond to aerodynamic forces was her specialty. A registered professional engineer following advanced coursework in aeronautical engineering, as the Cold War emerged she joined Lockheed’s Missiles and Space Company. There Ross worked on many projects, including the submarine-launched Polaris missile and the Agena launch vehicle which carried military, intelligence, and civilian payloads to space. Because much of her work is still classified, the full impact of her contributions remains unknown.

A lifelong advocate for women and Native people in engineering, she was a charter member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and was active in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Ross was instrumental in the creation of and is featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and was featured on the Native American one-dollar coin more than a decade following her passing.