Lee B. Brawner


Lee B. Brawner

Lee B. Brawner served as executive director of the Metropolitan Library System from 1971 until 1999. During his 28-year tenure as director, the library system grew from 11 facilities to 17 stretching across Oklahoma County. Lee was a champion of intellectual freedom, winning the 1998 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in the Education category for “his devotion to the principles of intellectual freedom.”

Prior to his career in Oklahoma City, Lee worked as a librarian in Texas at both the Dallas and Waco public libraries. He held an MLS from George Peabody College, Nashville. In 2003 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was named after him, from the Library Endowment Trust.

A frequent contributor to library literature, in 1996 Lee co-authored the book Determining Your Public Library’s Future Size: A Needs Assessment and Planning Model with architect Don Beck. As principal consultant of Brawner Associates, a consulting firm founded after his retirement from active library directorship, Lee conferred with over 100 libraries and participated in library studies and assessments, including planning and programming for over 140 library buildings across the United States.

Active in professional, civic and cultural organizations, Lee received the 1997 Pioneer Award for providing the vision and leadership that have created a library system valued locally and respected by library professionals throughout America.

2019 Lee B. Brawner Award Recipient

Clifford Hudson

Clifford Hudson

Clifford Hudson spent 35 years of his career at Sonic Corp., an Oklahoma City-based, publicly held company that owns, operates and franchises SONIC Drive-In restaurants. Most recently, he was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of this public company with more than 3,500 franchised and company-operated drive-in restaurants. He left the company upon its sale in December 2018 and joined the law firm Crowe & Dunlevy as Of Counsel in the firm’s Oklahoma City office.

Hudson graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in History, from which he also received in 2011 an honorary doctoral degree in humane letters. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University, where he served as Chair of the Board of Visitors from 2013-2016. In 2014, Georgetown University awarded him the John Carroll Award, its highest alumni recognition.

Hudson served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a presidential appointment, from 1994-2001. He served as Chairman of the Oklahoma City School Board from 2001-2008, a position created in 2000 as part of a $530 million turnaround of a 40,000 student, inner-city Oklahoma City Public School system, for which he received the 2012 David T. Kearns Award for Excellence and Innovation in Education. He served as Trustee of the Ford Foundation (New York) from 2006-2017 and is a past Chair of the Board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Previous Lee B. Brawner Award Recipients


Susan C. McVey

Susan C. McVey

Susan McVey has served as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) since April 2001. Prior to being Director, Ms. McVey served as Deputy Director and in the Capitol Library Branch of ODL during her 30+ years with ODL. Ms. McVey served as director of the Dulaney-Browne Library at Oklahoma City University prior to employment at ODL.

During Ms. McVey’s tenure, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries has provided competitive grants to non-profit literacy councils across the state to support local efforts in adult literacy. The Department has invested federal library funds in providing online access for all Oklahomans to full-text magazine and journal articles, e-books, and health information in the library or at home. The Oklahoma Center for the Book located at ODL has promoted writing by Oklahoma authors and about Oklahoma through the Oklahoma Book Awards. High-speed broadband and computers for public use are available in public libraries in every county in Oklahoma. These achievements are due to the hard work of the ODL staff.

Ms. McVey received a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma, a Masters in Library Science from the University of Texas in Austin, and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

She has been active on the state and national levels having served as President of the Oklahoma Library Association, received the Distinguished Service Award from OLA, and was named an Oklahoma Library Legend. She has served as president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), a national organization of state librarians.

Susan lives in Oklahoma City, with husband Paul King.


Governor Bill Anoatubby

Governor Bill Anoatubby

Bill Anoatubby has served as Governor of the Chickasaw Nation since 1987.

He has been active in tribal government since 1975. His previous positions include director of tribal health services, director of finance, special assistant to the governor, controller, and he was the tribe’s first lieutenant governor.

In his first term, Governor Anoatubby established goals of economic development and self-sufficiency for the Chickasaw Nation and its people. Today, the Chickasaw Nation is well on its way to achieving those goals.

In 1987, the tribe had approximately 250 employees. Today, the Chickasaw Nation employs more than 13,000 people. The financial condition of the tribe has improved tremendously. Funding for tribal operations has increased exponentially, and tribal assets have grown two-hundredfold.

The Chickasaw Nation operates more than 100 diversified businesses and invests much of its revenue into funding more than 200 programs and services. These programs cover education, health care, youth, aging, housing and more, all of which directly benefit Chickasaw families, Oklahomans and their communities.

Under Governor Anoatubby’s direction, the Chickasaw Nation places a strong emphasis on preserving and sharing its heritage, history, language and culture. This commitment can be seen in the various artistically and culturally-centered programs, language services and the world-renowned Chickasaw Cultural Center.


Steve Payne

Steve has been an active advocate for libraries for 24 years. He has served on the Metropolitan Library System Endowment Trust since 1992, contributing to the Trust’s growth by giving both of his time and finances. Steve spends his free time pouring his skills and talents into the community through volunteer work. He tutors children through the Whiz Kids program and offers his professional expertise to help nonprofits through his work with The Executive Service Corps of Central Oklahoma. He has also volunteered at Maisha International Orphanage, the YMCA, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Crossings Community Church and Young Life, an organization that cultivates mentors for children and teens.

Steve has also impacted his community through his role as board chairman of CityCare and Infant Crisis Services.

An Oklahoma City native, he graduated from Putnam City High School and continued his education at Oklahoma State University earning a degree in finance. Fresh from college, he joined his father as an insurance agent for Hank Moran and Associates. After eight years he took his education and experience to Insurica where he worked until 1996, then joining his current business partners at Frates Insurance. Steve and his wife Sylvia have raised four children and now enjoy two sons-in-law and one grandson.


Donna Morris

A Missouri native, Donna Morris served as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Library System from August 2002 – December 2014. Prior to being named Executive Director, Ms. Morris served as Deputy Director for over 10 years and also in many other different positions at MLS over her 45 year career with the system.

During her career with MLS, she has been involved in all aspects of the development, implementation, management and operations of library services and operations. The 12 years she served as director of MLS were ones of exciting growth and development for the system which included the construction and opening of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, the Patience S. Latting Northwest Library, the Choctaw Library, and the opening of the Almonte Library. She oversaw the renovation of the Ralph Ellison and Southern Oaks libraries, as well as the construction and opening of the new service center for support operations such as cataloging, technical processing and maintenance.

She has also oversaw the implementation of expanded service hours at all locations, exciting new services such as eMedia and the transition to a new ILS catalog in 2014.

A graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, she received a B.S. in Elementary Education and went on to attain a Masters in Library Science from the University of Oklahoma.

She has served as the Oklahoma Library Association President, ALA Councilor, Legislative Chair, Program Chair, Local Arrangements Co-Chair, Awards Chair, and Nominating Committee Chair.

She is also a member of the American Library Association, Library Administration and Management section of ALA, and the Public Library Association.

She was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Library Association and has previously won the OU School of Library andInformation Studies Outstanding Alumni Award and was named an Oklahoma Library Legend.

In addition she was active in the Downtown Rotary Club, Leadership OKC, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and the State Chamber..

Donna lives in Norman, with husband Ken of 45 years, and has two grown sons, Matt and wife Alyson, and Jeff and wife Sunny, and one granddaughter,Olivia.


Rita Gunter Dearmon

Rita Gunter Dearmon grew up in Mangum, OK, and graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1968 with a degree in accounting. She became a Certified Public Accountant and worked as an auditor for Arthur Anderson & Co. in Oklahoma City for six years.

Mrs. Dearmon worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission for seven years in Washington, DC, where she met her late husband, Jim Gunter. After moving back to Oklahoma City, she worked for the Kerr-McGee Corporation for 22 years. She was based in London, England, for four years while she served as Finance Director for Kerr-McGee’s North Sea Region.

Mrs. Dearmon served on the board of directors of the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System for seven years, including two years as President. She also served on the board of directors of the Library Endowment Trust for 13 years and was President for two years. She has worked as a volunteer at many Friends of the Library Booksales and has served on the planning committee for all 12 Literary Voices dinners.

In addition to her invaluable service on behalf of Oklahoma County’s libraries, Mrs. Dearmon has also served on the board of directors for the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Heart Association, the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, the Heritage Hills Associate Board, and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. She is an alumna of Leadership Oklahoma City and has been married to Al Dearmon for 10 years.


The Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Metropolitan Library System is a nonprofit volunteer organization organized in 1978 to provide community support for Oklahoma County’s libraries. For 35 years the Friends of the Library have focused public attention on library services and needs and have demonstrated invaluable support for the library’s mission of providing access to materials, services, and programs for our diverse community.

The Friends’ largest annual project is the 2 ½ day book sale which raises funds by selling donated books and other materials. Since its inception in 1981, the annual sale has raised over $3 million which has been granted back to the Metropolitan Library System. Friends volunteers work tirelessly year round to prepare for one of the nation’s largest weekend book sales, held at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds the last weekend in February.

Funds raised by the Friends of the Library have assisted with library promotional events, building projects, book giveaways, library staff recognition programs, and the summer reading program for school children. As advocates for the library system, the Friends have also positively influenced the outcome of several library related tax and bond elections.

The organization is governed by a Board of Directors approved by the general membership at the Annual Membership Meeting. The Friends also utilize an Advisory Board composed of community leaders from throughout Oklahoma County who provide support and counsel.

The Friends of the Library boards and members have made outstanding contributions to libraries and literacy in our community, and it is a true honor to present them with the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award.


Hugh Rice

Hugh Rice, a partner in the law firm of Rainey Ross Rice and Binns, is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Virginia Law School. He has been an Oklahoma resident since 1953 and has served in the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

A board member and officer of Oklahoma City Town Hall and the Chance to Change Foundation, Mr. Rice is also a committee member for the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He has been married to Cindy Rice for 44 years and has three children.

Mayor Ronald J. Norick appointed Mr. Rice to the Metropolitan Library Commission in 1992. He served as Chairman of the Commission from 2005 to 2010 and has also served in nearly every capacity as a committee member and chair.

Mr. Rice’s work with city officials and others was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, which was completed in 2004. He has also provided invaluable assistance in the planning for the new Northwest Library, which will open on May 22, 2012.

For the significant contributions he has made to libraries and literacy in Oklahoma City and County, it is an honor to present the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Hugh Rice.


Jeanne Hoffman Smith

Jeanne Hoffman Smith, an Oklahoma City clinical social worker, began her literary endeavors early. When she was seven years old, her grandfather paid her five cents a verse to memorize Thomas Gray’s 18th century epic poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”

Memorizing the first line—“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,” presents a more difficult task than reciting any Mother Goose rhyme, but Jeanne was inspired by her grandfather’s high expectations, his faith in her ability, and, naturally, the five cent reward. Of course, instead of being monetary, the real reward was intrinsic—setting a foundation of literacy that would support future educational endeavors.

Her passion for literature, poetry and film led Jeanne to found and endow the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature at Oklahoma City University. The Center’s goal is to further literacy and engage individuals in understanding themselves and others across time and space. Working toward the goal, the Center brings a distinguished creative person to the campus each year. Oklahomans are fortunate that Jeanne Hoffman Smith continues to build on this foundation, using her amazing insight to make outstanding contributions to literacy.

For the significant contributions she has made to libraries and literacy, it is an honor to present the Lee B. Brawner Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeanne Hoffman Smith. She believes in the power of literacy to help people better know themselves and others, and she works toward helping people in developing an appreciation for the beauty of language in children’s and adults’ literature.


James H. Norick & Ronald J. Norick

James H. Norick

James Henry (“Jim”) Norick was born in Oklahoma City in 1920. His parents, Henry Calvin Norick and Ruth Norick, were also native Oklahomans. When Henry Norick died, Jim Norick took his place as head of Norick Brothers, Inc., a successful printing business.

Jim Norick’s education was achieved in Oklahoma City schools, including Putnam Heights Elementary, Harding Junior High, and Classen High School, from which he graduated in 1938. From there he attended the Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore on a music scholarship. He served in the Navy throughout WW II, his ships’ crew receiving a Presidential Unit Citation.

Norick served as Oklahoma City councilman for Ward One from 1951 to 1955, and in 1959 he ran for mayor as a Democrat. During his time as councilman, Norick realized that water supply improvements into Oklahoma City would add industry and payroll. Norick served as mayor from 1959 to 1963 and 1967 to 1971. During his second term he oversaw the cleaning up and beautification of Oklahoma City with projects that included improving Classen Boulevard.

Jim Norick and Madalynne King were married in 1940, and they raised two children, Ronald James and Vickie Lynne.

Ronald J. Norick

Like his father, Ronald J. (“Ron”) Norick is a native of Oklahoma City. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, with a degree in management, Ron Norick has been president of Norick Brothers, Inc., has been the director of two Oklahoma City banks, the director of Sport Haley, Inc., and the controlling manager of Norick Investments Company LLC. From 1987 to 1998 he was Mayor of Oklahoma City.

Called “the Father of MAPS,” Norick followed his father by instigating the city’s most extensive re-creation, often referred to as a “renaissance.” He was instrumental in the passage of the Metropolitan Area Projects temporary 1-cent sales tax in 1993, a project that resulted in, among other things, a new showplace library in downtown Oklahoma City, which was named in his honor.

He is vice chairman and on the executive committee for the State Fair of Oklahoma, chairman of the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, and vice chairman of the Oklahoma Industries Authority.

The Oklahoma Heritage Association inducted Ronald J. Norick into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2008.