I still have a while to get into the Hall Of Fame of my home state. This year will not be the year.
Carrie Underwood, Shannon Miller, Congressman Tom Cole and Bob Funk from Express Personell are among those selected this year.
The 2017 inductees include Carrie Underwood, who won “American Idol” in 2005 and has since become a seven-time Grammy-winning country music star, of Checotah; Shannon Miller, who won seven medals – including two gold – as an Olympic gymnast, of Edmond; Congressman Tom Cole, who is serving his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, of Moore; Justice Tom Colbert, who in 2013 became the first African-American to serve as chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, of Sapulpa; Bob Funk, who in 1983 founded Express Employment Professionals, of Piedmont; Hal Smith, who started Hal Smith Restaurants in 1992, of Ardmore; and Phil Parduhn, who is chairman of Edmond-based Pelco Products Inc. and Claremore-based Pelco Structural LLC, of Edmond.
In addition, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, an Oklahoma civil rights activist, and Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, will be inducted posthumously.
The 2017 class was revealed at a luncheon yesterday at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, where about 150 people, most of them Oklahoma Hall of Fame members, gathered to honor this year’s inductees.
This year’s class will formally join the hall at the 90th Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony Nov. 16 at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City. To commemorate the 90th induction, 21-time Grammy winner Vince Gill and Emmy and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth, both Oklahoma Hall of Famers, will return to their home state to serve as emcees for the ceremony.
The nine honorees in the class of 2017 will join 683 individuals who have been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame since 1928.
“I’ve always been proud to say I’m from Oklahoma. The people, culture, and environment molded me into the person I am today. It’s such an honor to be recognized among such great company by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame!” Underwood said in a statement.
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame was founded in 1927 with the purpose of honoring Oklahomans in their lifetime with the state’s highest honor and educating Oklahoma’s youth on the state’s rich history.
“I am humbled to be selected to receive our state’s highest honor and can’t wait to be back home to celebrate with my fellow honorees,” said Miller, who now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., in an email through her publicist.
“My Oklahoma pride runs deep. It is that pride and sense of place that has allowed me to achieve my biggest dreams and provided an innate strength when I needed it most. There is just something about Oklahoma and the people, the community, of Oklahoma. I very blessed and extremely honored."