May 7, 2011
Returning to Bison Hill where she began her college career, Oklahoma Governor Mary Copeland Fallin will bring the Spring Commencement Address to 248 graduates at Oklahoma Baptist University on Friday, May 13.
“Children across America and around the world dream of growing up to be President, or Governor, or to serve in other leadership roles,” said OBU President David Whitlock. “We are so pleased to be able to welcome home one of our own who has achieved great success through her leadership and service.”
Fallin was elected Nov. 2, 2010, during a historic election in which she became the first-ever female governor of Oklahoma. She was inaugurated on the steps of the Oklahoma Capitol as the State’s 27th governor on Jan. 10, 2011.
A native of Tecumseh, Okla., Fallin attended OBU her freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Oklahoma State University.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our graduates, as they cross the final threshold into adulthood, to hear firsthand from our Governor,” Whitlock said. “They are graduating fully equipped to impact their world with the gifts God has given them and the skills they have honed during their time on Bison Hill. Just as Governor Fallin has made history with her appointment as the first female Governor of Oklahoma, our graduates can be encouraged that they, too, can achieve whatever God has planned for each of them. It is our honor that Governor Fallin will be a central part of our 97th Spring Commencement on Bison Hill.”
After a successful career in the private sector as a manager for a national hotel chain, Fallin made her first foray into public service in 1990 when she was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Serving in the Republican minority, she passed more than a dozen bills that were signed into law by the state’s Democratic governor, including Oklahoma’s first “anti-stalker law” and measures aimed at improving the business climate in Oklahoma. She also worked to lower the health care costs of small businesses in Oklahoma and for her work in this area was honored as a “Legislator of the Year” by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
In 1994, Fallin made history by becoming the first woman and first Republican to be elected lieutenant governor of Oklahoma, an office she held for 12 years. In this capacity, Fallin focused her attention on issues affecting job creation and economic development. She served on 10 boards or commissions involving business and quality-of-life issues in Oklahoma. Fallin used her position as president of the Oklahoma State Senate to allow the citizens of Oklahoma to vote on “Right to Work,” which ended the practice of compelling workers to join and pay dues to a union. In 2001, Oklahoma became the first state in the country to pass such a law in more than 25 years.
Fallin was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2006 where she represented the Fifth District of Oklahoma. In Congress, Fallin served on the committees for small business, transportation and infrastructure, natural resources and armed services. She co-authored legislation to lower taxes, reduce regulation on businesses and individuals, fight federal overreach, increase American energy production, create jobs and protect constitutional liberties.
As Governor, Fallin has listed among her priorities job growth and retention, government modernization and streamlining and education reform.
Fallin is married to Wade Christensen, an Oklahoma City attorney. The couple has six children between them. They attend Crossings Community Church in northwest Oklahoma City.
For more information about Governor Fallin, visit her website.