McLaughlin Adds Muscle to USAO Regents’ Leadership

Getting a look at the new DroverGen Energy Lab are members of the USAO Board of Regents, including, from left, Regent John Nelson, Regent Teresa Adwan, Professor of Chemistry Darryel Reigh, President John Feaver, Regent Molly Tolbert and Regent Leslie Hudson.

McLaughlin Adds Muscle to USAO Regents’ Leadership


He helped to build one of the Oklahoma’s most successful global companies and now brings his energy and enthusiasm to the University of Science and Arts. Entrepreneur David McLaughlin, co-founder of Advance Food, was named by Gov. Brad Henry to the USAO Board of Regents in the spring – giving USAO an ever-widening breadth in leadership, boasts USAO President John Feaver.

“Having helped to build his company into an international firm with more than $600 million in annual sales, David McLaughlin can provide the kind of vision and leadership that we need to build the University of Science and Arts,” said USAO President John Feaver.  “We will gain immeasurably from David’s insight, experience and imagination. And his appointment is the perfect fit to a board composed of great, influential Oklahomans who guide the state’s public liberal arts college.”

Founded in 1973 by Paul Allen and David McLaughlin in Enid, Advance Food manufactures beef, pork, veal, chicken and turkey products used in restaurants, business and industry foodservice venues across America and abroad. Later they created Advance Brands, a joint venture formed in 2001 with Cargill Meat Solutions to meet new markets. Last month, the two firms merged with Pierre Foods, another global food company that manufactures 1,000 different products. The merger was announced July 27 in Cincinnati. It becomes Advance Pierre Foods, Inc.

Why would a visionary like McLaughlin accept an appointment at USAO? For starters, he’s a graduate of Macalester College in Minnesota, one of the nation’s leading private liberal arts colleges.

“I understand that global perspectives don’t start with a narrow curriculum and a small mindset,” McLaughlin said. “USAO serves a key niche in Oklahoma higher education, providing a nationally acclaimed liberal arts curriculum and campus experience.  I am delighted to serve.”

Married to Jean McLaughlin, they have two sons and a daughter. Two of his sons are top executives in Advance Food.

An understanding of the liberal arts and USAO’s 102-year-tested mission is precisely what brought these influential Oklahomans together to serve on the USAO Board of Regents, Feaver said.

“The connections are curious and interesting between these rare individuals who serve as Regents, without compensation, at the appointment of our governor. For example, Regent Leslie Hudson, a retired physician and leading Oklahoman public servant, recently traveled with her husband Cliff, the CEO of Sonic Corporation, to see their son graduate from Macalester College in the Twin Cities. All across this board you find unique experiences and accomplishments but foundational connections at the liberal arts mission.”

Dr. Leslie Hudson

One of Oklahoma City’s leading civic leaders, Dr. Leslie Hudson, was named to the USAO Board in 2008 to complete a seven-year term by the late Oklahoma sports legend Jack Mildren, who died of cancer.

“I feel very privileged to serve,” Hudson said at her swearing in. “A strong public liberal arts university is a very important component of the higher education portfolio of the state.”
Hudson received her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma in 1990 and served as a faculty member in the College of Public Health until 2000.  She continues her service with University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as a member of the advisory boards of the College of Public Health and the OU Breast Health Institute. She has served in various roles on the boards of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Heritage Hall School, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Allied Arts.
“Leslie Hudson understands the role of higher learning institutions as not only rich cultural resources to the state but as engines of economic opportunity,” Feaver said. “Her multidisciplinary perspective as a scientist, educator, art enthusiast and community builder will be invaluable to the college in the years ahead.”

“I sincerely do enjoy my ‘second life’ as a community volunteer for several civic and educational groups,” Hudson said. “A strong civil society requires the commitment of many people from various walks of life and with various talents.”

Leslie Hudson is married to Cliff Hudson, president and CEO of the Sonic Corporation. They have two sons.

Builder Neal McCaleb

Longtime Oklahoma public servant Neal McCaleb – who served the George W. Bush Whitehouse as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was appointed to the USAO Board in 2005.

An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, McCaleb was appointed by President Bush to lead the BIA in 2001. McCaleb led in the reorganization of the BIA to make a more responsive and effective trustee organization for Native American interests in the management of 56 million acres of Indian Trust Land. Since returning to Oklahoma in 2003, McCaleb has served the Chickasaw Nation as an advisor to Gov. Bill Anoatubby. McCaleb also serves on the board of directors of Bank 2, which is wholly owned by the Chickasaw Nation. He serves on the board of directors of Chickasaw Nation Industries, Inc. McCaleb served more than 10 years as the state secretary of transportation for former Govs. Frank Keating and Henry Bellmon.

A civil engineer by training, McCaleb graduated from Oklahoma A&M College in 1957 among the last class of Aggies. He was in the private practice of engineering and real estate development for 32 years. He has also spent 20 years in public service including eight years in the state Legislature. During his tenure in the House of Representatives, he served four years as the Republican floor leader.

He has been married to Georgann McCaleb for more than 50 years and they have four grown children and 13 grandchildren.

Attorney Molly Tolbert

Oklahoma City attorney Mary “Molly” Tolbert accepted her appointment in 2006. "I am honored to serve in this capacity," Tolbert said.  "USAO has earned national distinction for quality, and it serves a unique and vital role.”
Tolbert is an attorney with the firm of Crowe & Dunlevy in Oklahoma City.  With an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Michigan, she earned her juris doctorate at Yale University.   

“Ms. Tolbert brings to the Board extraordinary understanding and sympathy for the mission of the college,” Feaver said.  “She will prove a marvelous fit for the USAO Board as we aggressively follow the strategic path now set for us by our Mission Enhancement Plan to provide distinctive liberal arts learning opportunities for Oklahoma citizens.”

She is married to attorney Miles Tolbert, also with Crowe & Dunlevy, who served previously as Gov. Henry’s secretary of the environment. They have two sons.

Civic Leader Hilary Kitz

Tulsa civic leader Hilary Kitz was named a regent in 2009. Kitz received a bachelor's degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a master's degree from Boston University.

“Hilary’s broad experience and expertise are invaluable,” Feaver said. “Her appointment reflects the governor’s continuing commitment to appointing Regents who are sympathetic to the college’s liberal arts mission and who reflect the school’s statewide presence.”

She worked as chief of staff to Tulsa Mayor M. Susan Savage -- now Oklahoma’s Secretary of State -- for more than eight years. During that time, she worked with the Family Violence Council – staffing, speaking at national conferences, as well as applying for and receiving three Violence Against Women Act grants.

Ms. Kitz monitored $6 million for the City of Tulsa in local law enforcement block grants, she led a team which relocated and stabilized the city’s head start program, and was responsible for keeping 30 authorities, boards and commissions with 300 positions filled. She served as the director of the Gilcrease Museum, as well as the boards for the Tulsa Opera Street School, the Oklahoma Foundation for the Humanities, YWCA, Nimrod, Planned Parenthood, Tulsa Trinity Episcopal Church and Tulsa RiverParks Authority, and six others.

She is married to Steven Janus and is the mother of three sons.

Attorney John Nelson

Gov. Brad Henry named Chickasha attorney John Nelson a regent in 2008.

“John Nelson has been dedicated to making USAO a greater institution for many years, having served the USAO Foundation in the past,” Feaver said. “His local perspective and broad state and national contacts will bring a valuable frame of reference to this leadership board.”

Nelson is a partner of the local firm, Park, Nelson, Caywood, Jones, which he joined in 1967. He practices environmental, civil and general law.

“USAO serves a critical role in Oklahoma higher education,” Nelson said.  “With the highest academic standards of any institution in Oklahoma and a growing national profile for quality, USAO is poised to accomplish great things. It is my distinct privilege to serve the state in this capacity.”

Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and his law degree from the OU College of Law. He is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, in which he has served as state chair.  

Nelson and his wife, Charlotte, have two grown children and four grandchildren.

Attorney Teresa Adwan

Tulsa lecturer, attorney and community leader Teresa B. Adwan was named to the USAO board in 2004. Retired from her law practice, Adwan serves on prominent boards servicing education and philanthropy: Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Sarkeys Foundation, Thomas Gilcrease Museum Association, The Gillies, and the Margaret Hudson Program.

Adwan earned her bachelor’s in foreign service at Georgetown University graduating cum laude. Upon completing her graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh, Adwan attained her juris doctorate at the University of Tulsa College of Law as well as being the editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Law Journal.

Adwan became a member of the Tulsa County Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, Master Emeritus, Council Oak Chapter, and American Inns of Court earning the distinguished Lion of the Bar award in 2002. She also has volunteered for the Oklahoma Historical Society, Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, Light Opera Oklahoma, University of Tulsa Law School Alumni Association, OU Associates, Rogers University Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Institute, Oklahoma Humanities Council, Philbrook Museum, Nature Conservancy, Planned Parenthood, Flatrock Volunteer Fire Department, and many more.

She is married to Alex K. Adwan, former senior editor for the Tulsa World.