NOC received a bronze statue for their leadership and support of the Standing Bear Program. Pictured (L-R): President Clark Harris, Judy Poole, President Emeritus Tom Poole, President Emeritus Dr. Cheryl Evans, Carl Renfro, Brenda Renfro, Melinda Johnson, Chancellor Emeritus Glen D. Johnson, Tom Evans. Not Pictured: President Emeritus Dr. Joe Kinzer. (photo by John Pickard/Northern Oklahoma College)
Northern Oklahoma College receives Bronze Statue of Chief Standing Bear
Carl and Brenda Renfro of Ponca City recently donated a limited-edition replica statue of artist Oreland Joe’s sculpture of “Chief Standing Bear” to be prominently displayed in the Renfro Center entryway on the Tonkawa campus of Northern Oklahoma College.
Unveiled during the Renfro fall 2022 lectureship, the Renfro’s presented the 32” bronze to Northern on behalf of President Emeriti Joe Kinzer, Tom Poole, Cheryl Evans and current President Clark Harris for their leadership and support of the Standing Bear Program, currently in its 27th year.
Carl Renfro stated his passion has been to tell the story of Chief Standing Bear and his courage and strength in facing and overcoming adversity, which ultimately led him to become the first civil rights leader. During the presentation, he commented, “I have worked closely with four NOC presidents over the years who have led the way in working with our Native American community promoting the Native Americans and their lifestyle and history. Thanks to their guidance and leadership, we want to present NOC with this bronze statue of Chief Standing Bear.”
Master sculptor Oreland C. Joe Sr. is world-renowned for his work in stone and bronze sculptures. His works can be found in private, corporate and museum collections in the United States and abroad. Oreland Joe is a native New Mexican and is Dine` (Navajo) and Ute descent. The influences in Joe’s life include his family and his travels abroad to France, Italy and Japan. Studying European art and culture, seeing and feeling the impressive artistic works of the Masters in Greek, Roman, Renaissance and Baroque periods were significant life-changing experiences. In 1993, Oreland Joe received the distinct honor of becoming the first Native American artist to be a member of the famed and prestigious organization “Cowboy Artist of America”. This honor launched Joe to new heights in his career. In 1996, he was chosen out of 50 artists by the Ponca City Native American Foundation to produce a twenty-two-foot bronze sculpture of “Chief Standing Bear”. It is Oreland Joe’s crowning achievement to date and his most public artistic statement.
“Thanks to our longtime loyal friends and donors, Northern is so pleased to receive the beautiful bronze statue of Chief Standing Bear,” said NOC Vice President for Development and Community Relations Sheri Snyder. “This statue will add to the cultural enhancement of the Renfro Center. We are so grateful and blessed for friends such as the Renfro’s who have chosen to share their gifts with us.”
The NOC Foundation serves as a private fundraising organization for NOC, as designated by the NOC Board of Regents. The Foundation’s primary purpose is to enhance the educational opportunities and the overall environment of NOC through scholarship and program support.