OMA Alumni Association Announces Recipients of Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2010.

The recipients will be honored during the annual Oklahoma Military Academy Reunion on June 4-5 at Rogers State University in Claremore.

The Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Awards represent the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an alumnus of the Oklahoma Military Academy. Currently, more than 1,700 alumni remain active with the OMA Alumni Association.

This year, nearly 250 OMA alumni, spouses and guests will return to RSU’s “College Hill” to attend a variety of reunion activities including the Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony on June 5.

Inducted into the OMA Hall of Fame will be William Corlett, OMA class of 1962, of Afton, Okla.

This year’s OMA Distinguished Alumni are Thomas Hanna, OMA class of 1954, from Chesterfield, Mo., and David Morgan, class of 1945, from Tulsa.

“We are pleased to present the Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Awards to these men who have brought honor to the Oklahoma Military Academy through their many years of dedicated service to their communities and country,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice.

OMA reunion events start Friday, June 4, with an 18-hole alumni golf tournament, followed with ping-pong and pool tournaments in the afternoon. The opening reception is Friday evening in the Centennial Center Ballroom. On Saturday, June 5, the day’s activities will start with a morning formation and cadet memorial service, followed by the annual Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni awards ceremony and alumni luncheon. A dinner and dance are scheduled for Saturday evening.

Following is more information about the honorees.

William Corlett, Hall of Fame Award

Bob Corlett holds the distinction of graduating from the Oklahoma Military Academy and obtaining a bachelor degree from Rogers State University.

Corlett graduated from the OMA in 1962. More than 40 years later, he returned to the Hill to earn a bachelor degree in business, graduating in 2005.

Corlett enjoyed a very active athletic and academic life in both high school and junior college at OMA (which he attended on a basketball scholarship, graduating with honors in the top 10 percent of his class.)

After studies at the University of Oklahoma, Corlett joined the First State Bank in Guthrie where he served as a loan officer until 1968. He then joined Davis Manufacturing in Wichita, Kan., where by 1972 he was promoted to National Sales Manager.

After Davis Manufacturing was sold to J.I. Case Construction Division, the former company owner bought Shangri La Resort on Grand Lake and asked Corlett to join him in 1973. As Sales Manager for home and resort sales, Corlett was instrumental in attracting several prestigious national conferences and in the sale of many homes.

In 1978, while with the resort, Corlett started his own firm, Shangri La Realty, which became the largest agency on Grand Lake with more than 1,500 homes sold. In 1987 he began a new venture, Waterfresh, Inc.

Waterfresh was the first company in the U.S. to place water purifying machines inside grocery stores. Waterfresh also obtained a patent for changing the bar code at the checkout that allowed scanners to differentiate between those buying new bottles versus refills. This innovation earned Waterfresh the “Package of the Year” award from a national packaging magazine. At its height, the company had machines in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas.

When smaller groceries began closing in the mid-90’s, Corlett sold Waterfresh (which continues today) and founded a real estate development and home sales business. Since 2000, he has built over 200 homes in six different developments and is still engaged in three. In 2005 he sold Shangri La Realty to his son-in-law.

Corlett has also been engaged in many professional and community activities throughout his career, serving on nine homeowner boards, the Intergris Hospital Board and the Advisory Board of Commercial Savings and Loan. He founded Grand Lake Public Works Authority and was chairman of the board from 1991-1995. Grand Lake Public Works Authority services more than 1,500 people with water and sewer. Corlett received the OMA Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003.

Thomas Hanna, Distinguished Alumnus

Thomas Hanna attributes his long and distinguished legal career in no small part to the discipline and study skills learned at the Oklahoma Military Academy where he was a Distinguished Military Student and on the Dean’s Honor Roll, graduating in the top 10 percent of his class.

Hanna enlisted with the Oklahoma Air National Guard where he served as an AeroMedical Evacuation Specialist spending 13 months on active duty during the Berlin Crisis of 1961-62. Upon discharge, he was transferred to the Air Force Reserve. In 1965, Hanna was commissioned Lieutenant (jg), later Lieutenant (JAG) USNR-R and served six years as a reserve officer.

In 1962, Hanna was employed by the 16th Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board (Ft. Worth) where he primarily prosecuted Unfair Labor Practice cases in Oklahoma and Texas. As a field attorney for the NLRB, he was promoted from a GS 9 to a GS 13 before resigning to go into private practice.

Joining the St. Louis law firm of McMahon and Berger in 1966, Hanna litigated labor and employment issues for clients ranging from small companies to Fortune 500 firms. In 1978, the law firm became McMahon, Berger, Hanna, Linihan, Cody and McCarthy P.C. With Hanna serving as managing partner for the next 17 years, the firm grew from six to 20 attorneys.

During his career, Hanna litigated in at least 23 states and made appearances before the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 8th, 7th and 6th Circuits, and the Missouri Court of Appeals. He also presented one case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hanna retired as an active partner in 2006 but continues to serve “of counsel” to the firm, now named McMahon-Berger with some 25 attorneys.

He is a member of the Missouri Bar and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and a former member of the Oklahoma Bar. Among his many professional accomplishments, Hanna has served as chairman of the Labor Law Section of the Bar Association of St. Louis and authored an article for the association’ s Spring 1980 journal “Labor Contract Reform.” He is also the author of the book “The Employer’s Legal Advisor,” published by the American Management Association.

David Morgan, Distinguished Alumnus

Dave Morgan attended high school and junior college at the Oklahoma Military Academy, graduating in 1945. He later received a bachelor degree in business (1950) from the University of Oklahoma. But first, he was propelled into WWII’s 82nd Airborne Honor Guard.

As an Advanced Senior ROTC graduate, Morgan qualified for numerous duties including 2nd Lt. Res., Cavalry, Antitank NCO, Gliderman and Regimental Jumpmaster where he served as a member of the “Jumping Gypsies” test section.

Following the war, Morgan and OMA cadets Tom Prior and Red Cowart formed Motomco Oil Company (from the names Morgan, Tom and Cowart). In Midland, Texas, with former classmate Hap Sharp, they became friends with George H. W. Bush who was just beginning his oil career.

Morgan’s “fear-not” energy was to lead him into competitive Corvette racecar driving where he won multiple GT class titles in Corvettes at Sebring and Daytona. He earned the SCCA Midwest Division Championship and competed in a Formula Racing “Zerex Special” purchased from Roger Penske. Morgan also team drove with famed Delmo Johnson and Don Yenko winning numerous races in the legendary L88.

In 1968, Morgan founded Toyota of Tulsa and, a year later, Toyota of Oklahoma City. As a result of his success with Toyota, he was awarded the prestigious Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1978, the Toyota Quality Dealer Award numerous years, a national Customer Service Team Award and a Business Management Top 10 Award. Additionally, Morgan served three years on Toyota’s National Dealer Council, was vice chairman of the Gulf States Toyota Dealer Advisory Council, and was a director of the American Imported Automobile Dealers Association.

Morgan is currently using his 50-plus years of experience in the insurance industry as an agent with the Tulsa office of Rich and Cartmill, Inc., the largest privately held insurance firm in the state. He is a past president of the Tulsa Insurance Board and a 50-year member of the Downtown Tulsa Rotary Club.

A recipient of the Phi Delta Theta Golden Legion Award for 50 years of membership, Morgan continues to be involved with Corvettes, making appearances at national events and restorer shows.