Ponca City’s Carl Renfro is among 11 individuals selected by The Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society for induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
The 2020 induction ceremony, scheduled for Nov. 2, has been cancelled due to the continuing health and safety risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The society will announce its plan for rescheduling the event to honor the class of 2020 in the near future.
“Carl has made significant contributions to the Northern Oklahoma College Foundation to endow a lectureship series for education, history and the arts,” said Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC President. “This beloved event brings the people of our region to campus to enjoy enriching experiences once each semester. Carl was honored by NOC, by naming a new facility the Renfro Center. In 2017, the Carl Renfro Scholarship Fund was established to assist deserving students from single parent households or single parent students reach their goals. I’m so proud that Carl is being honored by the Heritage Society. His support of students is deserving.”
Renfro is a community and state leader promoting arts, education, economic development and the preservation of Oklahoma history. In 1993, Renfro co-founded the Standing Bear Native American Foundation and Standing Bear Native American Park. This park and foundation is overseen by a Native American committee consisting of leaders from six neighboring tribes: Kaw, Osage, Otoe-Missouri, Pawnee, Ponca and Tonkawa. Carl has raised millions of dollars to preserve and share the story of Chief Standing Bear, the first civil rights Native American leader.
Renfro played a major role in establishing the University Center at Ponca City, which now provides higher education courses for Kay County. He also established the University Center Foundation, to provide scholarships for needy students, and he and his family endowed the foundation with permanent scholarship funds.
The Renfro’s also made a significant contribution to the Northern Oklahoma College Foundation to endow a lectureship series for education, history and the arts. This beloved event brings the people of our region to campus to enjoy enriching experiences once each semester. Carl was honored by NOC, by naming a new facility the Renfro Center. In 2017, the Carl Renfro Scholarship Fund was established to assist deserving students from single parent households or single parent students reach their goals.
Renfro served on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for 12 years and served as chairman in 2004. In 2007, Renfro received the Distinguished Service Award from the Great Expectations Foundation for his past support of education.
Carl Renfro and the Renfro Family Foundation received the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Business Partner Excellence Award as an outstanding partnership with Northern Oklahoma College. This award is designed to highlight successful partnerships and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through the State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.
The Renfro Family Foundation continues to invest in Northern Oklahoma College, making meaningful contributions to students and programs while enhancing the quality of life in Northern Oklahoma communities.
Each of the 11 individuals inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame class of 2020 exhibit distinguished levels of service and contribution to the state’s system of higher education.
In addition to Renfro, Bert Mackie, Les Crall, JoLaine Draugalis, Tim Faltyn, Joseph Missal, David Resasco, Paul Risser, David Sabatini, Tom Volturo, and Bob Blackburn were also selected.
The Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society was established in 1991 as a nonprofit to support awareness of higher education’s vital role in Oklahoma history and honor individuals, living and deceased, for outstanding service to higher education in the state. Since its establishment in 1994, the society has inducted almost 300 educators, administrators and others who have made distinguished contributions to higher education into the hall of fame.
To be eligible for induction, an individual must have been employed by one or more public or private institutions of higher education in Oklahoma on a full-time basis for at least 10 years. Individuals, outside organizations or institutions who have performed outstanding service to higher education in the state above and beyond financial contributions are also eligible.