July 14, 2010
OMA Alumnus Lew Ward to be Inducted in Oklahoma Hall of Fame
Oilman Lew Ward, who will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame later this year, credits much of his success to the education he earned at the Oklahoma Military Academy (OMA.)
Lew Ward, a 1950 OMA graduate who was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1993, will be a member of the 83rd class of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
The announcement was made recently at Gaylord-Pickens Museum in Oklahoma City. The class of six officially will be inducted during the Oklahoma Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony Nov. 4 in Oklahoma City.
Other members of the class are: Kristin Chenoweth, of Broken Arrow; Robert A. Hefner III, of Oklahoma City; Edward F. Keller, of Tulsa; Judy Love, of Oklahoma City; and Michael C. Turpen, of Oklahoma City. They will join 635 others who have been inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame since 1928.
The OMA is a predecessor institution of Rogers State University, operating from 1919 to 1971 on the Claremore campus.
Although Ward was born in Oklahoma City, his parents often traveled from town to town working in the oil patch during ward's childhood days. In 1946, he enrolled at OMA and thought his glamorous life as a cadet would soon begin. However, he soon learned that there was more to a military academy than glamour and uniforms. The discipline, competition and camaraderie between cadets set the stage for a life of success.
"I do credit much of my success in business, and in life, to my days at the OMA," Ward says. "Before you learn how to give orders, you have to learn how to take them."
Each year, Ward and his wife attend the annual OMA Reunion on the RSU campus in Claremore.
The Ward family also has established the Lew and Myra Ward Scholarship Endowment, providing scholarships for today's students at RSU.
Ward attended three and a half years of high school and junior college at OMA, graduating in 1950. He continued his education at the University of Oklahoma where he earned a degree in petroleum engineering in 1953. He then joined the U.S. Army just after the Korean armistice was signed, and worked as a pipeline engineer in Okinawa, Japan, until 1955. He was a First Lieutenant when he was discharged, returning to Oklahoma to work for an independent oil company in Tulsa and to marry his college sweetheart, Myra, OU geology major.
Soon the young couple moved to Enid to work in her father's oil and gas lease brokering business. In 1963, he formed his own company, L.O. Ward Oil Operations. By 1964, his company had acquired a lease for the producing well and he has been an independent producer ever since.
"We learned the elements of leadership through the ROTC program at OMA, which have carried me well through civilian life and have applied in the business world," Ward said.
Today, his highly successful company is known as Ward Petroleum Corp. and is still located in Enid. Lew Ward serves as chairman of the company. Operated by his son, Bill Ward, the company has amassed an enviable track record for innovation and evolution. The company is involved in virtually every phase of the oil and gas industry, and has focused on a variety of geographic regions, including South America and Russia.
Ward is also a registered professional engineer and a graduate of the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard University.
He is a member of National Petroleum Council and was president of Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association 1979-80. He served as chairman of Independent Petroleum Association of America 1995-97.
He was inducted in University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society in 1999. He received Lone Star Steel's "Chief Roughneck" Award in 1999 for lifetime achievement in the oil and gas industry, and in 2009 he received the Trailblazer Award from the OU.
He has served as president of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, Enid Rotary Club and American Business Club. The chamber named him Businessman of the Year in 1988 and Citizen of the Year in 2006. Also in 2006, he was presented the Governor's Arts Award and inducted into Enid Public School Foundation Hall of Fame.
The Oklahoma Heritage Association was founded in 1927 with the purpose of establishing Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and Gaylord-Pickens Museum was opened in 2007 with the intent of honoring these and other accomplished Oklahomans.
Along with being honored at the formal induction ceremony, 2010 inductees will be recognized in November with the addition of their portraits to Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery at Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
The banquet and induction ceremony will be at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Tickets and table sponsorships for the event will go on sale in September. For more information, call (405) 235-4458 or visit www.oklahomaheritage.com.