Oklahoma Baptist University

Raley to Receive Honorary Doctorate

Dr. John Wesley Raley Jr.

OBU will award an honorary doctor of humanities degree to Dr. John Wesley Raley Jr., longtime attorney and prominent Oklahoma civic leader, during the 2012 Convocation ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 29, in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium.

The presentation will be made by OBU President David W. Whitlock during the 10 a.m. service. The OBU community officially launches its academic year with Fall Convocation. Faculty dress in traditional academic regalia, and new faculty and staff are introduced.

Also on Aug. 29, OBU will host a book-signing of “Beyond the Gate: My Journey as an Oklahoma Boy,” written by Raley and published by the Oklahoma Heritage Association. The event is slated for 1 p.m. in the Geiger Center on campus. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the signing.

Raley is the son of legendary OBU President John Wesley Raley, who served on Bison Hill from 1934-61. The younger Raley serves in an “of counsel” relationship with the Northcutt Law Firm in Ponca City. He is the retired United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. Headquartered in Muskogee, he served as the presidentially appointed chief law enforcement officer for the 26-county area which comprises the Eastern District.

Originally appointed by President George H.W. Bush in April 1990, Raley was reappointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, thus becoming the only U.S. Attorney among 93 nationwide to be appointed under two separate administrations.

Born in Bartlesville, he attended schools in Shawnee. He received a bachelor of arts degree in history and English from OBU in 1954, and a juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Raley earned a commission in the U.S. Navy and served on active duty as a gunnery officer and bridge watch officer aboard the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Macon (CA-132), deployed with the U.S. Sixth Fleet. After 34 years of continuous service in the U.S. Navy Reserve, he retired in 1984, with the permanent rank of Navy Captain.

A certified private pilot with the Federal Aviation Administration, Raley served as Lieutenant Colonel with the Civil Air Patrol as a search and rescue mission pilot.

After eight years of service as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, Raley joined the Ponca City firm of Northcutt, Raley, Clark, and Gardner, practicing law there for 21 years.

He also served a three-year term as mayor of Ponca City, and he was named the Outstanding Citizen of Ponca City for 1984. He has served on the OBU board of trustees and was elected to a term on the board of governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association. He received the Special Initiative Award and Meritorious Service Award from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 1995, he was the only Oklahoman inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. The invitation-only organization is restricted to less than one percent of practicing attorneys. He served as chairman of the State Ethics Commission from 2002-12.

In 2008, Raley presented the Minter Lecture on Bison Hill. In 2010, he presented the Spring Commencement address.

Raley is married to Caroline Brown of Tulsa. They have two sons, John Wesley Raley III, an attorney in Houston, Texas; and Robert Thames Raley, who serves as an assistant U.S. attorney in Tulsa.

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