U.S. Senator, Oklahoma
United States Senator Donald L. Nickles is a 1971 graduate of the Oklahoma State University College of Business Administration. This native son of Ponca City was first elected to the United States Senate in 1980 at the age of 31, the youngest Republican ever elected to the United States Senate. The broad-based public service of Senator Nickles prompted the United States Jaycees to name him as one of the Ten outstanding Young Men in America in 1983. Throughout his political career, as well as in his personal life, his vision and leadership have been reflective of the highest qualities of character and service. These commendable attributes and his entrepreneurial spirit became evident early as a young adult when he worked his through college, and later in business in the private sector.
The outstanding efforts of Don Nickles as a U.S. Senator have gained significant recognition and respect from his congressional colleagues. He consistently represents Oklahomans with honesty and integrity. In 1988 he was elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the first Oklahoman since 1942 to serve as a member of the U.S. Senate leadership. Senator Nickles is currently serving his second term as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. His reelection in 1992 marked him as the only Oklahoman Republican to be reelected to a third term in the United States Senate. He is recognized as a proponent for the free enterprise system and other humanitarian concerns, including world peace. Through his involvement with federal appropriations, policy-making legislation, regulatory oversight, and troubleshooting with federal agencies, Don Nickles has provided significant assistance and support for higher education in general, and to Oklahoma higher education, in particular. He has been instrumental in securing federal resources in support of numerous programs and facilities at OSU, including laser technology, telecommunications, agriculture, engineering, and veterinary medicine.
Don Nickles stands tall as a model citizen and prominent public servant. He has received numerous national honors and was inducted into the OSU Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 1992. He and his spouse, Linda, are the proud parents of four children, Don, Jenny, Kim, and Robyn. Through his many achievements and by his personal example, Don Nickles has brought prestige, honor, and national recognition to himself, to his family, and to Oklahoma State University.
Year of Award: 1995