The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award


Senator Bernice Shedrick
State Senator, Oklahoma

Bernice Shedrick

Senator Bernice Shedrick of Stillwater was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 1980, and currently chairs the Education Committee, and General Conference Subcommittee on Appropriations for Education. Committees on which she serves are Appropriations and Budget, Economic Development, Joint Committee on Federal Funds, Retirement, Judiciary, and Rules.

A Chickasha native, she received her bachelor's degree in education in 1969, and her master's degree in 1972, both from OSU, and was a classroom teacher from 1969-1980. In 1983 she received her juris doctorate from the Oklahoma City university Law School, and she is a member of the Payne County Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association.

A champion of education, she served as a primary author of HB 1017, which provided a major new commitment to common education in Oklahoma.

Her contributions to Oklahoma State University, as she fought for endowed chairs and professorships, single-handedly began a program of research match dollars for the comprehensive universities, and led the way to recent passage of the first major capital bond program for Oklahoma higher education in twenty-five years.

Senator Shedrick is an active member of Alpha Xi Delta, the Payne County Historical Society, the Stillwater Arts and Humanities Council, and the Stillwater, Cushing and Perkins Chambers of Commerce.

A life member of the OSU Alumni Association, she also served on the OSU Centennial Advisory Committee. In 1988 and 1993, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Tulsa.

Among the awards and honors Senator Shedrick has received include Phi Kappa Phi, the American Jurisprudence Award, Outstanding Young Women of America, Outstanding Jaycee Jayne of the Year, and being named to "Who's Who in American Politics," "Who's Who in Politics of the Southwest," "Who's Who of American Women in Politics."

She received the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Award in 1981, the Oklahoma School Counselors Association Legislative Award in 1990, and Outstanding Contribution Award from the University Center at Tulsa in 1993.

She has been recognized for distinguished legislative service by The Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Department of Vocational Education , and the Oklahoma Retired Teachers Association.

"The Oklahoma Observer" named Senator Shedrick as one of the Top Ten Legislators in 1984, 1989 and 1990, and in 1991 the Black Caucus of the Oklahoma Legislature presented her with the A.C. Hamlin Award.

In 1991 she participated in the International Roundtable on Education Finance and Reform, held at Oxford University. She also was chosen for the Harvard University's Graduate School of Education Joint Institute with the National Conference of State Legislators on "Better Education Through Informed Legislation" in 1993.

She has three children, Crystal Shedrick Hayes, Steven Link Shedrick, and the late Michael Scott Shedrick.

Year of Award: 1994