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Individuals for Whom Awards are Named

Neil E. BoganNEIL E. BOGAN — Neil Bogan, an attorney from Tulsa, died unexpectedly on May 5, 1990 while serving his term as president of the Oklahoma Bar Association. Mr. Bogan was known for his professional, courteous treatment of everyone he came into contact with and was also considered to uphold high standards of honesty and integrity in the legal profession. The OBA’s Professionalism Award is named for him as a permanent reminder of the example he set.

Hicks EptonHICKS EPTON — While working as a country lawyer in Wewoka, attorney Hicks Epton decided that lawyers should go out and educate the public about the law in general, and the rights and liberties provided under the law to American citizens. Through the efforts of Mr. Epton, who served as OBA president in 1953, and other bar members, the roots of Law Day were established. In 1961 the first of May became an annual special day of celebration nationwide designated by a joint resolution of Congress. The OBA’s Law Day Award recognizing outstanding Law Day activities is named in his honor.

Fern HollandFERN HOLLAND — Fern Holland’s life was cut tragically short after just 33 years, but this young Tulsa attorney made an impact that will be remembered for years to come. Ms. Holland left private law practice to work as a human rights activist and to help bring democracy to Iraq. In 2004 she was working closely with Iraqi women on women’s issues when her vehicle was ambushed by Iraqi gunmen, and she was killed. The Courageous Lawyer Award is named as a tribute to her.

Maurice MerrillMAURICE MERRILL — Dr. Maurice Merrill served as a professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law from 1936 until his retirement in 1968. He was held in high regard by his colleagues, his former students and the bar for his nationally distinguished work as a writer, scholar and teacher. Many words have been used to describe Dr. Merrill over the years, including brilliant, wise, talented and dedicated. Named in his honor is the Golden Quill Award that is given to the author of the best written article published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal. The recipient is selected by the OBA Board of Editors.

John E. ShippJOHN E. SHIPP — John E. Shipp, an attorney from Idabel, served as 1985 OBA president and became the executive director of the association in 1998. Unfortunately his tenure was cut short when his life was tragically taken that year in a plane crash. Mr. Shipp was known for his integrity, professionalism and high ethical standards. He had served two terms on the OBA Professional Responsibility Commission, serving as chairman for one year, and served two years on the Professional Responsibility Tribunal, serving as chief-master. The OBA’s Award for Ethics bears his name.

Earl SneedEARL SNEED — Earl Sneed served the University of Oklahoma College of Law as a distinguished teacher and dean. Mr. Sneed came to OU as a faculty member in 1945 and was praised for his enthusiastic teaching ability. When Mr. Sneed was appointed in 1950 to lead the law school as dean, he was just 37 years old and one of the youngest deans in the nation. After his retirement from academia in 1965, he played a major role in fundraising efforts for the law center. The OBA’s Continuing Legal Education Award is named in his honor.

Joe StamperJOE STAMPER — Joe Stamper of Antlers retired in 2003 after 68 years of practicing law. He is credited with being a personal motivating force behind the creation of OUJI and the Oklahoma Civil Uniform Jury Instructions Committee. Mr. Stamper was also instrumental in creating the position of OBA general counsel to handle attorney discipline. He served on both the ABA and OBA Board of Governors and represented Oklahoma at the ABA House of Delegates for 17 years. His eloquent remarks were legendary, and he is credited with giving Oklahoma a voice and a face at the national level. The OBA’s Distinguished Service Award is named to honor him.

Alma WilsonALMA WILSON — Alma Wilson was the first woman to be appointed as a justice to the Supreme Court of Oklahoma in 1982 and became its first female chief justice in 1995. She first practiced law in Pauls Valley, where she grew up. Her first judicial appointment was as special judge sitting in Garvin and McClain Counties, later district judge for Cleveland County and served for six years on the Court of Tax Review. She was known for her contributions to the educational needs of juveniles and children at risk, and she was a leader in proposing an alternative school project in Oklahoma City, which is now named the Alma Wilson SeeWorth Academy. The OBA’s Alma Wilson Award honors a bar member who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of Oklahoma children.