4th Annual Northwest Classen
Hall of Fame Banquet & Presentation
Building on the success of its first three distinguished Hall of Fame inductee classes, Northwest Classen High School has announced the latest group of outstanding alumni to be honored.
Five new distinguished alumni will be recognized and honored this fall for their outstanding lifetime accomplishments and contributions to society.
Date: November 11th, 2022
Location: Hudson Hall, Northwest Classen High School
Time: Cash Bar 6PM-7PM
Hall of Fame Show 8PM-9:15PM
Post Induction Reception 9:15PM-9:45PM
Our 2022 Sponsors
Our 2022 Honorees
Attending both Cleveland Elementary and Taft Junior High, Brooke is a 1964 Northwest graduate who was active in Pep Club and many associated activities, but her pursuit of higher education would take a quite circuitous path to say the least.
Spending her first two years at Oklahoma State University, she then left school in order to work in Dallas for a year prior to getting married. With her then-husband, a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam conflict, they would spend six months in Lawton at Fort Sill prior to his assignment to the Los Angeles area in air defense. Upon leaving the military, Brooke, her husband and their newborn son moved to Salt Lake City where she began working at the University of Utah as secretary to the student government association. Soon promoted to Student Governance Advisor, she re-started her undergraduate education, receiving her Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the University of Utah in 1973. Graduating as a single mother, Brooke was accepted to the University of Utah College of Law and earned her Juris Doctorate degree in 1977.
Following graduation, she spent her first several years as a legal services lawyer in San Antonio, Texas providing civil legal assistance to indigent clients. She then returned to Utah and for the next 15 years worked for the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association trying over 100 jury cases rising to become the chief capital-qualified defense attorney in the state, handling some of the criminal justice systems’ most difficult cases. During much of this time, she was also served as an Adjunct Professor for the University of Utah College of Law.
Wells then worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for more than eight years during which time she prosecuted violent crimes and civil rights cases and became the Chief of the Violent Crimes Division. In 2005, Judge Wells was appointed as the first woman United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Utah. She also presides over Utah’s Reentry Independence through Sustainable Efforts (RISE) court, which was among the first federal reentry programs in the nation.
Judge Wells has previously served as chair of the Advisory Board of the Utah Defendant/Offender Workforce Development Task Force; as a member of the Women Lawyers of Utah’s Implementation Committee for the Gender and Task Force; as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Disability Law Center, the Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, and the Community Counseling Center. Since 2010, Judge Wells has also served as a Mentor for the Utah State Bar Association’s New Lawyer Training Program.
For her work as a trailblazing legal professional, Judge Wells became the first Utah woman inducted into the American Board of Criminal Lawyers in 1992. In 1993, she became the first Utah woman to become a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers. And after nine years as a federal prosecutor, Wells was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice for her work as an Assistant United States Attorney. Women Lawyers of Utah named Judge Wells as Utah’s Woman Lawyer of the Year in 1998 and in 2013 Judge Wells was the recipient of the Women Lawyer’s Mentoring Award.
Outside of her time on the bench, Judge Wells enjoys riding horses and during her spare time she can usually be found riding trails, working in the barn or enjoying the company of her Springer Spaniel dogs.
Before graduating Northwest Classen in 1974, Mike distinguished himself as senior class president, National Honor Society, and as a Knight of the Round Table. On the basketball court he was All-State selection, taking the Knights to a 22-4 record and to a State Runner-Up title his senior year.
Mike attended Oklahoma City University his freshman year on a basketball scholarship, quickly realizing that he was neither “big enough or fast enough” for major college hoops. Doubling down on academics, he transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where he worked numerous part-time restaurant jobs before leaving in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting. In the next three years at Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young), he earned his CPA and a keen grasp of real-world business and financial transactions, realizing that he preferred business over accounting.
Nevertheless, when Headington Oil needed an accountant, Mike applied for the job and in 1981 joined the Oklahoma-founded company now based in Dallas. Mr. Headington himself introduced Mike into all facets of the oil & gas business, particularly investment fundraising. Eleven years later, in 1993, Mike founded Providence Energy to buy and sell royalties and working interests in oil & gas properties. He also formed Trade Bank, combining a computerized program listing of oil & gas properties for sale with decision-maker events that exploded with new deals and relationships. Providence went national, buying packages of mineral rights with both producing and non-producing properties—including large packages from mid-major companies like Sempra and Devon Energy—and managing said resources on behalf of numerous high-net worth oil & gas investors.
When oil & gas exploration added hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, Providence acquired more than $500 million worth of mineral rights under prospective shale. As the extraction techniques continued to evolve, Providence added acreage in mature, declining, and abandoned oil and gas fields, this time partnering with large domestic pension groups for long-term growth opportunities and financial stability.
Today Providence is the managing partner in more than 2.1 million net mineral acres and 8.5 million gross acres nationwide. Collectively, it has had interest in more than 5,000 wells in 15 states.
Mike is also active in real estate and in alternative energy projects, including cutting-edge wind, hydro-electric, and waste-to-energy technologies. Very recently, he was privileged to connect Liquified Natural Gas support to the Eastern European nation of Romania, facing a long winter cut off from imported Russian natural gas.
Mike and Melissa, married for 41 years, have four children and eight grandchildren. He is on the boards of Westmont College, and All Saints Anglican Church in Dallas. He is active in Behind Every Door, a Dallas inner-city ministry showing the love and hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A 1968 graduate, Ann participated in a broad range of activities during her days at Northwest, including Cygnets Pep Club Secretary, Courtesy Club Parliamentarian, Student Council, and Honor Math Club. She was also the Ella D. Classen Award winner, the school’s highest award for female students.
Ann’s academic career continued at Oklahoma State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and would go on to earn her Masters’ and Doctorate degrees in Math from the University of Oklahoma.
Making her home in Oklahoma City, she began her professional career as an engineer but quickly switched to education and spent 25 years in the higher education system at Oklahoma City Community College. Her positions included professor of mathematics, department chair of mathematics, dean of science and mathematics, and vice president for economic and community development.
Feeling led in a different direction professionally, Ann left academia in 2006 to become the CEO of Leadership Oklahoma, an organization founded to create and support citizen leaders throughout Oklahoma to positively shape the states’ future and find effective solutions on a wide assortment of issues such as criminal justice, state government, education, economic development, agriculture, and energy. Ackerman would hold this position for nearly ten years.
In February 2016, she became the fourth president and CEO of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Oklahoma’s primary economic development support organization. The Roundtable provides critical private funds in support of the economic development efforts of the governor, lieutenant governor, Oklahoma Department of Commerce and other partners.
In 2017, Ackerman was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, and the following year received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University. Other accomplishments include selection as an American Council on Education fellow and recipient of Leadership Oklahoma City’s Paragon Award for Service, the Journal Record’s Woman of the Year Circle of Excellence, Junior Hospitality’s Woman in the News and Oklahoma City Community College’s Employee Award for Excellence. Three times she has been named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Oklahoma by Friday Newspaper and in 2014 was one of the Journal Record’s Most Admired CEO’s.
Balancing a career with community involvement, Ackerman currently serves as treasurer of the Friends of the Mansion Board of Directors, member of the Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, member of the University of Central Oklahoma’s Council of Advisors, and advisor to Leadership Oklahoma City. She is a member of Rotary Club 29, where she is a Paul Harris Fellow and has previously served as the club’s secretary, director, foundation chair and president. She has also served as chair of the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, chair of the Governor’s Youth Council, president of the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges, member of the Governor’s Council of Science and Technology, trustee for Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Foundation, Governor’s Appointee to Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development Board and has ultimately served as a board member for over 50 civic and nonprofit organizations.
Believing that the best way to reduce stress is physical activity, Ackerman enjoys exercising and hiking. She also likes to travel with her husband, Wayne Stone
Dr. George Thompson
Born in San Angelo, TX but raised in Oklahoma City, George Thompson is a 1962 Northwest graduate. A varsity wrestler for the Knights, George was active in O-Club, the Lancers spirit group and the National Forensic League. But like many aspiring young high school men, George would find his true career calling during his college years.
He began his college career at the University of Oklahoma for two years and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. He then transferred to Oklahoma State University, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1970. This was followed by a surgical internship, one year of general surgery residency and an orthopedic surgery residency at the UCLA Medical Center from 1970 through 1972. Dr. Thompson devoted the following two years to the U.S. Air Force as an officer at Grissom AFB in Indiana, performing general and orthopedic surgery and remaining in the USAF Medical Corps Reserves until 1992, obtaining the rank of Major.
Following residency he completed a pediatric orthopedic surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto, Canada. He subsequently joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center in 1979 where he spent his entire academic career. His major area of interest was pediatric spinal deformity. He was the Director of the Division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital from 1987 through his retirement and served on the Board of Directors of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. His division was consistently rated among the Top 15 programs in the United States for pediatric orthopedic surgery by US News and World Report.
During his 40 years of medical and surgical practice in Cleveland, Dr. Thompson has received hundreds of professional and medical accolades and has served on or chaired dozens of prestigious national boards and international academic councils dedicated to Orthopedics in general and to spinal/scoliosis-specific medical research and innovation.
In 2019 he was chosen an inaugural member of the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America’s Hall of Fame and selected as the senior surgeon for the Scoliosis Research Society Traveling Fellowship, supervising three SRS fellows while visiting five international spine centers in Africa, Israel, Turkey and India. He was also recognized by Oklahoma State University’s College of Arts and Sciences as the Distinguished Alumni for Integrative Biology and inducted into their Hall of Fame. In 2020 he received the Distinguished Academic Physician Alumni Award from the O.U. School of Medicine and was installed as the first recipient of the George H. Thompson MD, Distinguished Professorship (Endowed Chair) in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery; presented the Shriners International, Imperial Potentate’s Medallion for Outstanding Service and philanthropy; and received the Robert M. Campbell, Jr, Award from the International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis (ICEOS) for his innovations in early onset scoliosis.
During his career, Dr. Thompson has received 177 national and international visiting professorships or guest lectureships, published 235 peer-reviewed articles and written more than 100 textbook chapters. The textbook The Growing Spine is now in its third edition and is one of the world’s leading textbooks in orthopedic surgery. He has presented more than 1,000 regional, national and international lectures. Retired from his surgical practice in 2019, Dr. Thompson continues to remain very active academically.
He has been happily married to his wife Janice for 55 years. They have four children, seven grandchildren, and are avid collectors of 18th and early 19th century American furniture and decorative arts.
A 1977 graduate, Sean was raised in a boxing family headed by long-time fight promoter and manager Pat O’Grady and his wife Jeannie, a boxing publisher. Sean had been training as a Featherweight Class boxer since childhood and, with his family’s blessing, would become a professional fighter during his sophomore year at Northwest.
As a professional athlete, he was ineligible for high school sports but was able to maintain his dawn-to-dusk schedule of physical conditioning, school, homework and boxing thanks to supportive teachers who allowed him to do schoolwork before and after class.
Sean’s career got off to a terrific start, winning his first 29 professional bouts. But O’Grady would then be defeated by featherweight boxer Danny ‘Red’ Lopez, a loss that would motivate the 17-year-old to get bigger and stronger. A year after graduation, Sean would prove his mettle with a solid TKO of featherweight Shig Fukuyama, his first fight against a true title contender. A year later, the now 20-year-old would score a unanimous decision over Gonzalo Montellano that would place him into title contention on a world stage.
In a November 1980 he would get his title bout, taking on World Boxing Council Champ Jim Watt in Glasgow, Scotland. O’Grady was ahead on points until sustaining a highly controversial head-butt that opened up a gash in his forehead. Bleeding profusely and unable to see clearly, the referee stopped the fight and Watt retained his title.
But six months later, O’Grady would appear again in a title fight, this time against World Boxing Association Champ Hilmer Kenty. With an international audience viewing the bout broadcast on ABC-TV with Howard Cosell providing commentary, O’Grady scores several knockdowns on his way to winning the WBA Lightweight Championship in a unanimous decision. He was now a true World Champion – but the thrill was short-lived.
A legal dispute with boxing promoter Bob Arum caused Sean to skip a title-defending bout against Claude Noel and the WBA stripped O’Grady of his title. His father Pat promptly established his own boxing organization – the World Athletic Association – and installed Sean as its’ champion. A title fight was scheduled, but the challenger suffered an injury prior to the bout, causing the fledgling WAA to sign another contender, Andy Ganigan, to the championship fight. The left-handed Ganigan was a completely different boxer than the one O’Grady had so diligently trained and prepared for and it showed as O’Grady was tagged with a second round TKO by the challenger, surrendering his crown.
During the ensuing 18 months, O’Grady would move up to the Welterweight division and would suffer a couple of close defeats before making the decision to retire from the ring. At age 24 – a time when most professional athletes were just beginning to progress into their prime – O’Grady was hanging up his gloves for good.
Fully focused on his future, Sean earns his degree in Broadcasting at the University of Central Oklahoma, and within a few years he would be providing color commentary for USA Cable Network’s Tuesday Night Fight broadcasts teamed with sportscaster Al Albert. He would even dabble in TV and movies, landing supporting roles in several popular TV shows during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
After the cancellation of Tuesday Night Fights, Sean would begin his new career as a commercial real estate broker which he continues to practice today. Enjoying the chance to do occasional work in the broadcast booth for Fox Sports, to those inside the boxing business as well as those outside the ring, Sean O’Grady remains affectionately known as ‘The Champ’.