“I have prepared many versions of my biography. The first sentence has always been, 'I am a fourth generation Oklahoman from Colony, Oklahoma.' I was quoted in The World Around Us, a 4th grade history book by Geneva Hudson, as saying, ''I'm glad to be an Okie and I say it wherever I am because Oklahoma is still the promised land where dreams come true.' When I received the call that I was to be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, a chill ran up my spine, followed by goose bumps. A dream came true. When I think about it, I still get chills and goose bumps, along with boundless gratitude and pride that the State of Oklahoma, through the Hall of Fame, has chosen to honor me.”
Yvonne Kauger is a fourth-generation Oklahoman from Colony and grew up on what was recently deemed an Oklahoma Centennial Ranch. She graduated from Colony High School as class valedictorian and from Southwestern Oklahoma State University magna cum laude. She became a certified Medical Technologist to put herself through Oklahoma City University’s night law school and graduated first in her class. She worked for Rogers, Travis, and Jordon, before becoming the first woman judicial assistant to the Oklahoma Supreme Court for Justice Ralph B. Hodges. On March 14, 1984, she was appointed by Governor George Nigh as only the second woman named to Oklahoma’s highest court.
Kauger was the first woman to serve as Vice Chief Justice and Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the last Chief Justice to address a joint session of the Legislature on the state of the judiciary. She directed the implementation of the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network and oversaw the development of the highest court’s official website and universal citation system.
Kauger founded the Gallery of the Plains Indian; co-founded Red Earth; coordinates annually The Sovereignty Symposium; and chaired the Building Committee and Arts Committee for the Oklahoma Judicial Center, transforming and elevating the historic Wiley Post Building into one of Oklahoma’s most incredible preservation sites for Oklahoma artists. With Lonnie Yearwood, she is turning her hometown of Colony into an “Arts Colony.” Murals by Eric Tippiconnic, photographs by Terry Zinn, and a sculpture by Patrick Riley, Glen Henry, and Ron Lowry already have been added to the Gallery and to the John Kauger Memorial Park.
She has been inducted to the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, named a distinguished alumnus by Oklahoma City University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, honored as Red Earth Ambassador of the Year, was adopted by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, and received the Governor’s Arts Award twice, among countless other awards and honors.
Kauger was a long shot artist before 3 points were awarded. When she called her father to tell him that Governor George Nigh had appointed her to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, she told him, 'Daddy, I can still hit the long shot!'
Kauger is the former President of Lyric Theatre, Mother of Red Earth, Coordinator of the Sovereignty Symposium, and active with the Colony Oklahoma Museum, the Graham Cottage, and the Lazy K. Centennial Ranch.