Getting schooled

I am not a student at the University of Oklahoma.

But I did receive an education there Friday.

My wife and I listened to an all-day series of talks put on a global nonprofit. The range of topics was impressive.

A Norman OB-GYN spoke about starting the first foundation in the state for Parkinson’s disease, which she was diagnosed with several years ago. Two students waxed bravely and eloquently about living with depression and the importance of bringing the disorder out of the shadows.

A political science major detailed the odyssey he took for his green card and the need for change in immigration policy. David Ray, dean of the Honors College, outlined why a college education may not be right for everyone in this struggling economy.

Not every speaker hit the mark.

Some went too long or seemed fake. Others took on subjects that were simply too damn hard for the audience to understand.

The best stories may have come over dinner that night with my son’s OU mentor, John Long. A retired Army General, he served two tours in Vietnam.

The military brat spoke of having to move more than three dozen times over his career. He told us that any trip to Europe warranted a stop to a cemetery in Luxembourg, where General Patton is interred, per his request to be buried alongside his Third Army troops.

Long once served as an aide de camp to the Queen Mother in 1980.

Struck by the originality of her salutations, he said she never greeted anyone the same way.

Having discovered Long was from Madill, Okla., she asked him if the state was as pretty as the song.

A great memory, as was Friday for me.



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