2016 Hall of Fame Inductees
Frank Pitezel, Class of ‘42
Frank Pitezel was a sophomore at Will Rogers High School when the doors first opened in 1939. As a young man, Frank set his mind on two goals: to get the best education he could and to receive a college basketball scholarship. After studying hard and being a part of the state basketball championship team in 1941, Frank was recruited by Hank Iba to play basketball at Oklahoma A&M (OSU). Encouraged to join the war effort by the legendary coach, Frank enlisted and trained as an engineer. His platoon was involved in, among other things, the “Battle of the Bulge,” and Frank earned a combat Bronze Star and three battle stars.
Upon returning to Tulsa, Frank married his high school sweetheart, Billie Marie Hall, and began his successful career for the Public Service Company of Oklahoma where he worked as Director of Engineering Services. He and Billie, had nine children and Frank spent his adult life working toward the goal of making Tulsa a better community for his family. Over the years he has served in many church and community organizations, including the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He spearheaded the effort to build the four-plex, lighted Bear baseball stadium, where each year 450 boys between the ages of 8 and 16 could play competitive baseball, regardless of income or abilities. Frank became active in politics, and in 1980 was elected to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, where he served for ten years.
J.David Nunneley, Class of ‘54
David Nunneley is a Figurative, Wildlife and Military Sculpture Artist. After graduating from Will Rogers, David served in the Army and then majored in Art at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa. He received advanced training in sculpture at the Loveland Academy of Art in Loveland, CO and the Scottsdale School of Art in Arizona. David began his early career as an illustrator for a scientific instrument company and later started his own instrument company. He then started his own oil and gas equipment company, and was granted five U.S. patents for various oil and gas-related products. He became president for a subsidiary of a Pennsylvania utility company, subsequently becoming vice-president of research and development for a major instrument company in Tulsa.
In spite of his reputation as a business leader, David considers becoming a successful full-time sculptor in 1995 his most gratifying and courageous move. His bronze monument sculptures and smaller works can be seen throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. One of his most notable works is a statue of the three Heisman Trophy winners and their Army coach, displayed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Locally, David’s work may be seen at the Tulsa International Airport, the Williams Center, Van Trease Performing Arts Center at Tulsa Community College, Floral Haven Cemetery, Indian Nations Boy Scouts of America and the Tulsa Ballet Center. A seven and one half foot tall statue of Sequoyah will be unveiled at Gilcrease Museum next October.
Charlotte Wilson Heth, Class of ‘55
Charlotte Wilson Heth, PhD, Professor Emerita of UCLA, is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She began her primary research in Oklahoma Cherokee music and music of surrounding tribal groups, and throughout her career she continued researching, doing applied work in, and publishing American Indian music, ethnomusicology, dance, education, and other American Indian topics. An extensive traveler, Charlotte served with the Peace Corp in Ethiopia for two years, with the distinction of being the first female volunteer from Oklahoma. She then taught at the Junior High and High School level before beginning her career at UCLA. There she taught courses on comparative American Indian music, as well as graduate seminars in Contemporary American Indian issues, Cultural World Views of Native America, among other things.
In 1994 she left the teaching profession to accept the post of Assistant Director for Public Programs at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. There she curated exhibits and led workshops for museum professionals and educators. Upon her retirement, she served as visiting curator at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Charlotte is multi-lingual and has been featured in numerous publications, films, and recordings. Among the many honors she has received, Charlotte was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Society for Ethnomusicology.
Charles Kimball, Class of ‘68
Charles Kimball, ThD, is the Presidential Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Charles served for 12 years as Chair of the Department of Religion and Professor in the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. An expert on the Middle East, Charles is a frequent guest on national and local television and radio programs, where he interprets events and interfaith issues. He has delivered lectures at more than 200 colleges and universities, churches, conferences, and civic organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Charles has made important contributions in furthering the cause of inter-religious understanding, human rights, and conflict resolution in the U.S. and throughout the Middle East. Having lived and studied in Cairo, Egypt, Charles returned at the age of 29 to meet with the Ayatollah Khomeini, opening talks to help resolve the standoff over the 52 Americans taken hostage in Iran seven weeks earlier. This meeting and two other trips to Iran during the hostage crisis propelled him into the international media spotlight.
Charles has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East and is the founder and adviser for Churches for Middle East Peace in Washington DC. He is the co-founder and board member of U.S. Inter-Religious Committee for Peace in the Middle East and meets frequently with heads of state, foreign ministers, ambassadors in various countries, as well as with the White House, Congress and the State Department. He participated in the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, and in 1972, while a student at Oklahoma State, Charles co-founded the National Student Prayer Breakfast Movement. He has authored five books and has had his work featured in numerous national publications.
Richard Risk, Class of ’59
Richard “Dick” Risk, J.D., was commissioned in the United States Air Force as a distinguished military graduate from Oklahoma State University in 1963 with a B.A. in Radio and Television, serving during the Vietnam era, including duty stations in Southeast Asia. He received five decorations for meritorious service and, as squadron commander, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with combat “V” device. He worked with the White House advance party when President Nixon pronounced the Guam Doctrine in 1969 and coordinated the worldwide television coverage of the historic 1971 meeting in Alaska between Nixon and Emperor of Japan Hirohito. He ran the press accreditation center when Nixon returned from his historic 1972 China visit. In 1981, he was appointed by the Reagan Administration to head the Southwestern Power Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, equivalent in rank to a deputy assistant secretary or three-star military officer, testifying before Congress.
With a juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa, he became an attorney at age 60, then initiated a class action on behalf of nearly 22,000 claimants against a major corporation, settling for $72.5 million. He has published many peer-reviewed articles, testified before the Internal Revenue Service, and is nationally renowned for his expertise in structured settlements and qualified settlement funds. TU named the Richard B. Risk Practicum Endowment Fund in his honor. In 2010, he formed the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation, which has donated nearly $100,000 to the school, twice serving as its president.