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Oklahoma State University

Robinson, Vennerberg to speak at OSU Commencement ceremony

Wed, April 25, 2012

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., an internationally-recognized educational innovator, and Vaughn O. Vennerberg II, known for his success in the oil industry and educational philanthropy, will speak at the Oklahoma State University Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 5, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

Vaughn Vennerberg

Vennerberg is scheduled to speak at the first ceremony at 9:30 a.m. and Robinson will speak at the second and third ceremonies at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Each will receive an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) in recognition of their personal accomplishments, service to others and support of education.

The 9:30 a.m. ceremony will recognize students from the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Human Sciences. The 1 p.m. ceremony will recognize students from the College of Education and the College of Engineering, Architecture & Technology. The 4 p.m. ceremony will recognize students from the Spears School of Business and the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources.

The Center for Veterinary Health Sciences Commencement is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The OSU Graduate College Commencement ceremony for doctoral and masters graduation candidates will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 4, in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

"Our commencement speakers have dedicated their lives to serving as creative catalysts for innovation and progress in education, business, the arts and the economy," said OSU President Burns Hargis. "We are grateful and honored to have them share their creative experiences and insights with our graduates."

Robinson mentored the Oklahoma Creativity Project and was instrumental to Oklahoma obtaining designation as one of only 14 U.S. Districts of Creativity in the world. His work led to the formation of Creative Oklahoma, Inc., a statewide non-profit organization that promotes creative idea generation in individuals and institutions through entrepreneurial initiatives.

Robinson, professor emeritus with the University of Warwick, works with governments in Europe, Asia and the U.S.; international agencies; Fortune 500 companies and some of the world's leading cultural organizations. He has led initiatives to develop arts education throughout England and Wales and helped create a strategy for the development of the economy and creativity as part of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States. In 2005, Robinson was named one of Time/Fortune/CNN's "Principal Voices." In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his service to the arts. Robinson has spoken to audiences throughout the world and his presentations on the role of creativity in education have been viewed by millions.

An OSU alumnus, Vennerberg is a native of Midwest City, Okla., who graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1976. He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and served as president of the Blue Key National Honor Society, the Student Union Activities Board and the Interfraternity Council. In 1976, he was named one of the Top 10 Seniors for the College of Arts & Sciences and a Redskin Yearbook Congratulate, an honor for OSU's top 12 graduating seniors.

Vennerberg is one of the founding partners of Morning Star Partners and Morning Star Oil and Gas located in Fort Worth, Texas. The company's focus is on the acquisition of domestic oil and gas production. He is the former president of XTO Energy Inc., which merged with ExxonMobil Corporation in June of 2010. He worked for 23 years with XTO, which, before merging, was the nation's largest domestic natural gas producer.

The American Association of Petroleum Landmen named Vennerberg "Landman of the Year" in 2008. In 2010, he was named Outstanding Alumni for the College of Arts and Sciences. He was named a Distinguished Alumni by the OSU Alumni Association in the fall of 2011.

Vennerberg was one of the founders and served on the executive committee of America's Natural Gas Alliance, as well as numerous other boards. He was named a Rotary Foundation Fellow to lecture in Bangalore, India for six weeks on the topic of the energy industry.

In 2008, Vennerberg and XTO Energy established three endowed faculty positions at OSU in the microbiology and molecular genetics, art, and psychology departments. He serves on the board of trustees for the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History and the Van Cilburn Foundation. He also is a minority owner of the Texas Rangers baseball club.

For more information about OSU's commencement ceremonies, go to