Betty J. Croom Wright will be among 10 individuals who will be inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame this winter.
The 25th annual induction ceremony and banquet will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5 at the University of Central Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society will honor 10 people, plus generations of the Benedictine Monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey, for leadership and service to higher education with induction to the Hall of Fame.
Wright made her impact on higher education in Oklahoma as a regent of Rose State College, where she currently is the longest serving regent, beginning her tenure in 1991. Her career outside of her role at the college also is devoted to education. She served as a primary and intermediate teacher for the public school systems in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton, and taught in Germany. She then founded Wright Educational Services.
For her lifelong devotion to education, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame and honored with the Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King Advisory Board in Franklin County.
Wright was born and raised by her parents, Lillie Mae and Granville Croom, Sr. along with her nine siblings, Cydell, Granville Croom Jr., Bertha Mae, Evelyn, Marvin, Lowery, Wallace, Lawrence and Debbie.
In addition to the 10 honored individuals, the Benedictine Monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey will receive the Special Award of Merit and Distinction for their enduring impact on education in Oklahoma, spanning more than 140 years. The monks established schools for Native American children in Sacred Heart, Pawhuska, Grey Horse and Anadarko; schools for African American children near Lehigh, at Langston and in the Chickasaw Nation; and established at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee an institution that became a high school, college and university. Though St. Gregory’s University closed in 2017, the monks leave a lasting legacy for, as their nominator stated, “doing all they could to make a high-quality education available for all students.”
The Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, established in 1994, recognizes and honors individuals, living and deceased, whose achievement and leadership in scholarship, teaching, research, administration, staff support, outreach and public service have brought honor and distinction to higher education in our state. This year represents the 24th year to honor these individuals’ distinguished contributions.
To be eligible for induction, an individual must have been employed by one or more institutions of higher education in Oklahoma, public or private, on a full-time basis for a minimum of 10 years. Individuals not so employed, but who have performed outstanding service above and beyond financial contributions to higher education organizations or institutions in the state, are also eligible for consideration.
Event registration opened Monday. For more information on registration or the inductees, visit www.ohehs.org.