Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OCU Press Publishes Petree Biography

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OCU Press Publishes Petree Biography

Article excerpt

A biography of F.M. Petree, commissioned by the Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business, has been published.

The book, "To Brighten Our Future Days: The Life of F.M. Petree," was written by Pamela Byrduldin.

The book chronicles the history of the pioneer Petree family in Canadian County, Petree's career as a major Oklahoma City commercial land developer, his involvement in city and state politics and the story of the near closing of OCU due to financial problems in the late 1970s.

Petree played a major role in the revitalization of OCU in what is now called "the miracle on 23rd St."

"F.M. Petree was OCU's guiding light in its time of upheaval and change," said Byrduldin, an Oklahoma City communications consultant and freelance writer. "The University became his life. Its continuance as a leading United Methodist university became his passion and vision."

Petree, as chairman of the executive committee of OCU's board of trustees, worked closely with former Liberty National Bank and Trust Co. executive Dr. Willis Wheat, who was then acting president of the school and is now T.K. Hendrick distinguished professor of marketing and managment.

"Petree was responsible for mobilizing about onelf dozen of us (trustees) to solve the problems," Wheat is quoted in the book. "He worked us day and night. We had a joke then about having enlisted in `Petree's Army' because he had most of our time."

OCU honored Petree with a Distinguished Service Award in 1980. In 1981, OCU's college of arts and sciences was renamed the Petree College of Arts and Sciences to honor Petree and his wife, Thelma. Also in 1981, the couple was inducted into the OCU Endowment Hall of Honor. He also is an inductee in the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor.

The book, published by the Oklahoma City University Press, will be included in a library of texts soon to be used in an OCU course on the economic history of Oklahoma. As an ongoing tribute to Hall of Honor members, biographies will continue to be written on each individual and scholarships are being established, using proceeds from the textbook sales. …

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