Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame inductees

Daniel Resasco, professor of chemical engineering and Gallogy Chair at the University of Oklahoma, specializes in the study of catalysts and nanomaterials for a variety of commercial and industrial applications. He is the author of over 300 publications, holds more than 40 industrial patents, and has received about 27,000 citations in scientific literature.

Carl Renfro served as the chairman and CEO of Pioneer Bank & Trust in Ponca City from 1979 to 2006 and played a major role in establishing the city’s University Center, which provides access to college courses from institutions throughout the state. Renfro and his wife have endowed permanent scholarship funds with the University Center Foundation, as well as a lecture series at Northern Oklahoma College.

Paul Risser, originally from Blackwell, held a diverse range of professional positions throughout his career, but showed dedication to the importance of higher education. The well-published ecologist taught in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Ohio and Oregon, among others, and served as chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education from 2003 to 2006. Risser died in 2014.

David Sabatini, part of the first generation of his family to go to college, earned his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Iowa State and took a position at the University of Oklahoma. Throughout his career, he has sought to integrate his teaching, research and service missions, emphasizing what is best for the individual student. In 2005, he founded OU’s WaTER Center, which has gained global recognition.

Tom Volturo, a McAlester native, earned a bachelor’s in business from Oklahoma State University before dedicating his 47-year professional career to serving his home state. Volturo has served as first director of internal audits for the state regents and in executive positions at East Central University and Rogers State University.

Bob Blackburn has served as executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society since 1999 and was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Oklahoma History Center. He joined the group in 1980 as editor of The Chronicles of Oklahoma and became the deputy director in 1990. He published several articles and his first book while still working on his Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University and has since authored or coauthored more than 20 books and dozens of articles, journal entries and screenplays.

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