May 26, 2006

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 2006.

The recipients will be honored at the annual Oklahoma Military Academy Reunion June 2-3 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 1,500 alumni remain active with the OMA Alumni Association.

This year, nearly 200 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 3.

Inducted into the OMA Hall of Fame will be Brig. Gen. Michael A. Kuehr of San Antonio, Texas, and Maj. John B. Stizza, formerly of McAlester, Okla., who will be honored posthumously. This year's Distinguished Alumni include James E. Burt III from Black Mountain, N.C., Thomas I. Simpson of Edmond, Okla., and Willis C. Hardwick of Alexandria, Va. 

"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 Dr. Danette Boyle, vice president for development at RSU.

OMA reunion events will include a golf tournament and opening reception on Friday, June 2. A cadet memorial service, Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni awards ceremony, alumni luncheon and dinner and dance are scheduled for Saturday, June 3, in Post Hall on the RSU campus in Claremore.

Following is more information about the honorees.

Brig. Gen. Michael A. Kuehr, Hall of Fame

Brig. Gen. Kuehr graduated from Oklahoma Military Academy in 1968. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida, master's degree from the University of Southern California, and a law degree from St Mary's University. Kuehr is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the United States Army War College. Among his many awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Pathfinder Badge.  Kuehr currently serves in the U.S. Army Reserve and is the Vice President and General Counsel for Trans Met, Inc. He is married to Dr. Wanda Kuehr, a psychologist and Program Manager for the Army Medical Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Maj. John B. Stizza, Hall of Fame

Maj. Stizza graduated from Oklahoma Military Academy in 1959 and will be named to the OMA Hall of Fame posthumously. While at OMA, Stizza achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was the Commander of the Drill Team, President of the Saber Society, Captain of the Rifle Team, and was Group Commander. Stizza also served on the Honor Committee and Judges Bench. His many awards included Merit Ribbon, Military Proficiency with wreath and the SAR Medal. After leaving OMA, Stizza joined the U.S. Army earning the grade of Major. His length of service was eight years, ending upon his death on January 21, 1970, in Quang Nam, South Vietnam. Stizza married Sue Way and has two children, a son Col. John Stizza, and daughter, Cindi Polo.

James E. Burt, III, Distinguished Alumnus

Burt graduated from Oklahoma Military Academy in 1955. He earned his bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University and continued his professional education at Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University. Burt is currently chairman of the First Charter Corporation in Charlotte, N.C. He has enjoyed a 45-year career in banking, 25 years of which he served as chief executive officer. Burt's professional and civic service includes director of Lincoln County Community Foundation, director of the Foundation for the Carolinas, chairman of the Lincoln County YMCA Capital Campaign, and chairman of the Christian Ministries Campaign. Burt was awarded Shreveport's Outstanding Young Man of the Year in 1971. He is married to Judith Clower Burt and they have three children, Jim, Prentiss, and Corneille.

Thomas I. Simpson, Distinguished Alumnus

Simpson graduated from Oklahoma Military Academy in 1966. He continued his education at Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City University. He is an active member of the OMA Alumni Association and served as president of the Board of Directors in 2003-2004. In 1965, Simpson was employed by Oklahoma Testing Laboratories, which he later went on to purchase. After closing Oklahoma Testing Laboratories in 2005, he established Drilling Services of Oklahoma. Simpson married Suzanne K. Zumwalt and they have three children, Geoffrey, Todd, and Amy, and three grandchildren.

Willis C. Hardwick, Distinguished Alumnus

Hardwick, who is the 2006 OMA Reunion Adjutant, graduated from Oklahoma Military Academy in 1956. He earned a bachelor's degree at Oklahoma State University and was commissioned Second Lieutenant Artillery in 1959. He began his military service at Fort Bliss, Texas and served over 20 years of active commissioned service until he retired in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel. After completing the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Hardwick received a master's degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. He is also a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College and the U.S. Army Aviation School. After 15 years of flying, including two tours in South Vietnam, he earned the title Master Army Aviator. Hardwick is currently the business development director, Air and Missile Defense, at Lockheed Martin Corporation where he has been employed since 1986. He is married to Jean Sethe Hardwick and they have two children, John and Matthew.

For more information on the annual OMA alumni reunion, call (918) 343-7773.