OU College of Engineering Society Inducts 6 Alumni

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The University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society inducted six alumni May 7 during the college's 1994 convocation in Norman.

The society, established in 1990, honors alumni who have made significant contributions to their professions, in public service, education and professional and civic organizations. Twenty-nine alumni and one professor emeritus have been honored with awards.

The 1994 members are Samuel J. Cerny of Oklahoma City, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Grace Petroleum Corp.; Garman O. Kimmell of Oklahoma City, chief executive officer of Kimray Inc.; Jere W. McKenny of Oklahoma City, retired president and chief operating officer of Kerr-McGee Corp.; James A. Close of Tulsa, president of CloseBend Inc.; Robert W. Hughes of Austin, chairman and chief executive officer of Prime Cable Corp.; and Robert M. Nerem of Atlanta, Institute Professor and Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine in the George Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Cerny, a native of Enid, earned his bachelor's degree in geological engineering from OU in 1955 and began his career with Shell Oil Co. In 1965 he joined Cleary Petroleum Corp. and remained with the firm until it was acquired by W.R. Grace. Cerny became chairman and CEO of Grace Petroleum Corp. before retiring in 1991. Raised in Oklahoma and Kansas, Kimmell transferred to OU from Wichita State University and completed his bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering in 1936 and his master's degree the following year. He formed Kimray Inc. in 1948, which has grown to be a $2 million company with 180 employees and annual sales of $25 million.

Kimmell has 28 patents for inventions which include oil and gas equipment controls, thermostats, geological instruments and various medical devices, such as the surfactometer, vena cava filter, orthopedic devices, artificial kidneys and the portable blood pressure recorder. He has made his inventions available for the public good. McKenny, a native of Okmulgee, earned his bachelor's degree in geological engineering in 1951 and a master's degree 1952. He joined Kerr-McGee in 1953 as a geologist. Hughes, a native of Ponca City and a 1958 chemical engineering graduate, has become a cable television industry pioneer who founded Prime Cable of Austin which serves more than 900,000 subscribers in six states. A native of Norman, Close received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1943. Nerem, an Illinois native, earned his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1959 from OU and his master's degree in 1961 and doctoral degree in 1964 in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Ohio State University. . . Greg and Anita LaPat have been recognized for their McDonald's nostalgia restaurant at NW 23rd St. and N. Pennsylvania Ave. with the April Lookin' Good award, presented by Oklahoma City Beautiful and Cox Cable.

The award was presented to the LaPats by Mayor Ronald J. Norick at the Oklahoma City Council meeting Tuesday.

The LaPats, who live in Mustang, were involved in the development and design of the restaurant, which has memorabilia reminiscent of the early McDonald's restaurants of the 1950s. This particular site is the first McDonald's in the world to have a drive-in and carhops since Ray Crock opened his first McDonald's in 1955. The original McDonald's concept, before Crock bought the restaurant idea from the McDonald brothers in California, included carhops.

Oklahoma City's new restaurant has mixed some of the services of the past with the latest in McDonald's technology, including three drive-through windows designed to handle 240 cars per lunch hour.

A 1955 Ford displayed out front of the new restaurant was purchased in Oklahoma City and repainted its original colors of red and white which were still stocked. …

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