Chef Dan Barber is a restaurateur and a food consciousness and sustainability author and advocate. He was named one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential People” in 2009. With a passion for food consciousness, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Barber opened his restaurant, Blue Hill, in 2000. Since then, he has received the James Beard Awards for Best Chef: New York City in 2006 and Outstanding Chef in 2009.
On Sept. 30, Barber will serve as the keynote speaker for the sixth-annual Ray & Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service. His keynote address is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.
Ray Giles dedicated his life to public service and to the state of Oklahoma. During a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, Giles was awarded three Battle Stars, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal for his service in Europe. He returned to Caddo County in 1945 and assumed the role of wheat farmer. Giles became active in local politics, serving on the State Board of Agriculture and ultimately as an Oklahoma State Senator, a position he held from 1976 to 1992.
On the bustling floor of the Oklahoma State Senate, Giles was an icon. Year after year, the senator from District 23 voted his conscience, represented the agenda of the farmer, and supported the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
Like her husband, Mary Martin Giles was dedicated to public causes, particularly education. She attended the Oklahoma College for Women in the early 1940s. She taught in Carnegie schools for five years and was a member of the Grady County Mineral Owners Association as well as her church. She was passionate about farming and issues related to farming. Ray Giles passed away in 1995, followed by Mary in 1998. Their legacy of service and commitment to family, education, and agriculture in Oklahoma lives on through the Ray and Mary Giles Lectureship at USAO.