If it ain't broke, don't fix it
At a special meeting on February 12, 2014, the OHS Board of Directors voted by unanimous consent to oppose the consolidation into the Tourism department.
Denzil Garrison, a veteran on the board, used the old Army phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Frederick Drummond, a community leader from Osage County, echoed that sentiment and said we must oppose consolidation while not embarrassing the governor. Leonard Logan, an attorney from Vinita, pointed out many of the successes achieved by the OHS and warned that consolidation could jeopardize many of our programs.
The OHS Board of Directors, as a reflection of Oklahoma's conservative populism, is citizen-based governance in its truest form. The majority of the board is elected by citizens who care enough about history to join the OHS. The minority is appointed by the governor. This balance has been the bedrock of stability since 1981 when the new OHS Constitution and Bylaws were adopted and codified into state statute.
The members of the OHS Board of Directors represent a true cross-section of Oklahoma people, whether that is defined by geography, occupation, ethnicity, gender, or age. Here are short biographical sketches of the people who would no longer govern the OHS if consolidation is approved.
Jack Baker is a retired businessman and a member of the Cherokee National Council. He grew up in Cherokee County and now resides in Oklahoma City. He is an active family historian.
Sherry Beasley is an interior decorator and community leader who learned about the OHS through her son, Bryan, who has directed documentary films about Allen Houser and Edith Kinney Gaylord.
Mickey Clagg is a CPA and partner in a real estate firm that specializes in rehabilitating historic buildings. Some of his firm's major achievements include Plaza Court, Midtown, and the Sieber Hotel.
William Corbett is a professor of history at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He earned a PhD at OSU and is well known for his lectures, speeches, and public programs through the Oklahoma Humanities Council.
Betty Crow is a retired educator from Altus. In addition to community work, she is the coauthor of a book about the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion.
Frederick Drummond is a banker and rancher from Osage County. He was instrumental in creating the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve and is active in the Nature Conservancy.
Cheryl Evans is president of Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. She was a founding member of the group that raised $9 million for the reinvention of the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center.
Deena Fisher is a historian and dean of the Woodward Campus of Northwestern Oklahoma State University. In the past, she was a high school history teacher and owner of a small business.
Billie Fogarty, a native of Guthrie, is a national authority on genealogical research and a consultant for Ancestry.com. She is active in several ancestral groups, including the 1889er Society.
Karen Keith is a retired television news anchor in Tulsa who currently serves as a Tulsa County Commissioner. She is now serving as president of the Downtown Tulsa Rotary Club.
Martha Lippert is the matriarch of the Lippert Brothers Construction family in Oklahoma City. She was a longtime leader in the American Red Cross.
Leonard Logan is an attorney and rancher from Vinita who is an active volunteer for numerous organizations, including the Friends of Cabin Creek.
Guy Logsdon is a folklorist, historian, and musician who served as the director of the University of Tulsa Library and president of the Oklahoma Folklife Council.
Patricia Loughlin is professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma. Her first book was about three pioneer women in Oklahoma–Alice Marriott, Angie Debo, and Muriel Wright.
John Mabrey is a banker with roots in both Okmulgee and Bixby. He was one of the founding members of Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. and was instrumental in saving the Creek Council House.
Sherry Muchmore is a journalist who lives in Ponca City. In addition to her regular newspaper column, she is active as a volunteer at the Pioneer Woman Museum.
Shirley Nero, a native of Clearview, is a retired history teacher who has chaired the Black Heritage Committee for most of the past decade.
Sandra Olson is a community leader in Waynoka, where she has chaired the effort to preserve and redevelop the ornate Santa Fe Depot and celebrated Harvey House.
Betty Price is an artist and the retired director of the Oklahoma Arts Council. She has been a champion for art in the State Capitol and a spokesperson for art in the daily lives of all Oklahomans.
Donna Sharpe from Checotah is part of the Sharpe's Department Store family. She has been a longtime volunteer and board member with the Friends of Honey Springs Battlefield.
Emmy Scott Stidham, a native of Edmond who now lives in Checotah, is the godmother of Honey Springs Battlefield and is currently president of the OHS Board of Directors.
Lewis Stiles is a rancher and retired veterinarian who owns and operates the historic Gardner Home near Broken Bow. He is an author of a book about fur trapping and trade in Oklahoma.
Charles Tate from Ardmore is a former district judge and council member with the Chickasaw Nation. He is currently a consultant for the tribe with a specialty in research.
Barbara Thompson is a retired educator and community leader who lives in Oklahoma City. She is a former National Mother of the Year and longtime Honorary Consul for the French Ambassador to America.
James Waldo, a native of Shawnee, is an attorney in Oklahoma City who has been active as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America. He is the immediate past president of the OHS Board of Directors.
Today, these community leaders are the trustees of the assets, mission, and management of the Oklahoma Historical Society. If House Bill 3028 is approved, their roles become simply advisory–if they are appointed to the new board.