Dwight Adams earned his bachelor's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma respectively. He then joined the FBI as a Special Agent, where he pioneered DNA techniques as part of the FBI Laboratory’s Research Team. He testified more than 130 times for both the prosecution and defense, served on the National DNA Advisory Board, and established the National DNA Database, solving over 500,000 cases nationwide. After 23 years at the FBI, including serving as director of the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, Adams returned to UCO where he became the first director of the W. Roger Webb Forensic Science, a nationally recognized leader in forensic science education.
Chairman John A. “Rocky” Barrett, Jr. has faithfully served the Citizen Potawatomi Nation since 1973, assuming the role of Tribal Chairman in 1985. Under his leadership, the Nation’s assets have grown from $550 to over $800 million, with an annual economic impact exceeding $550 million. During his administration, the Nation experienced over 15% average annual growth over two decades, becoming the largest employer in Pottawatomie County. Chairman Barrett presides over the Tribal Legislature, shapes administrative functions, and was instrumental in creating the current constitution and statutes, securing the Nation's stability and progress. His recent honors include the Leadership Award for Public Service from the International Economic Development Council.
Judith James, an internationally recognized physician and scientist, is the Executive Vice President at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. James holds a Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma Baptist University and was the inaugural graduate of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's M.D./Ph.D. dual degree program. She's a board-certified rheumatologist with more than 330 published articles and leads national consortia for improved autoimmune disease therapies. Her accolades 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. In 2022, she became the first Oklahoma woman elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
The first-ever Secretary of State for the Chickasaw Nation, Bill Lance is a trusted confidant to Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. Prior to being named Secretary of State, Lance was the longest-serving Secretary of Commerce in Chickasaw Nation history. Under his leadership, the Nation's annual net income tripled, over 7,000 jobs were created, and the 370,000-square-foot Chickasaw Nation Medical Center opened in Ada. Lance actively serves on community and corporate boards, earning honors such as Global Achievement Honoree by Sister Cities Oklahoma City International and induction into the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor at Oklahoma City University's Meinders School of Business.
Upon graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, J Mays caught the attention of Audi. For more than four decades working with multiple prestigious car manufacturers, 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. From the Audi TT to the Ford Mustang and F-150, his creations run the gamut in design, technology, and function. Mays challenges traditional barriers in design and has been profiled by the BBC and The New Yorker with his work showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
An Olympic medalist in track at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, Madeline Manning Mims became the first American woman to win Gold in the 800 meter, a record she held for more than 50 years. 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 been inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame.
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. For over 40 years, he performed 20,000+ life-saving surgeries, expanding medical access in rural Oklahoma. He's also an avid farmer with a 10,000-acre operation, vice president of the American Angus Association, and founder of P&K Equipment, a John Deere business with 29 locations employing more than 800 people across Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arkansas. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Notable accolades include induction into the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame.
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 mathematics degree from Northeastern State Teachers College and a master's from Colorado State Teachers College. In 1942, Ross joined Lockheed Aircraft Corporation during World War II, contributing to the improvement of the P-38 Lightning's design. Specializing in aerodynamic forces, she later worked on classified projects for Lockheed's Missiles and Space Company. 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.
To be considered for induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, an individual must be nominated by someone who knows them personally and can speak to their accomplishments, character, and impact on their community. Nominations are accepted until March 1 each year.