Patty Wheeler -- 100 Alumni You Should Know

Patty Wheeler

Patty Wheeler -- 100 Alumni You Should Know


By Khassandra Hameg

Although she studied speech and hearing at the Oklahoma College for Women, 1962 graduate Patty K. Wheeler probably made her greatest impact on the world in law.

“I was a speech and language pathologist and audiologist until I completed my PhD and became an associate professor at Mt. St. Mary's College supervising graduate programs until law school. After law school, I moved to Tennessee, where I practiced law for 30 years, retiring in 2014,” she said.

Wheeler completed her Master’s Degree at the University of Oklahoma and her PhD and law degrees from the University of Southern California.

After completing her Juris Doctor Degree, she moved to Tennessee where she practiced law. Through all her years of studies, Wheeler has been grateful for what OCW brought to her from the very beginning.

“At the time, I don't think I appreciated the uniqueness and value of OCW as I wanted to ‘go away’ to college but couldn't afford to, so I lived at home and worked at OCW in a variety of jobs and had a scholarship,” Wheeler said. “However, looking back and having attended and taught in a number of colleges, I truly appreciate the high quality of the professors and the small classes I was privileged to attend. OCW gave me a stable foundation for all my future studies and work life.”

Working with graduate students in both education and law was one of her greatest career accomplishments as well as being a co-founder of the East Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women in 1983. She tells the story of the founding of the organization in a video online. Wheeler also said that successfully trying a variety of cases in state and federal courts was one of her career accomplishments.

“Having the opportunity to have two successful careers -- one in education and one in law,” was one of her life accomplishments she said. “I have a wonderful son who is also a lawyer.

“Since retirement I have served on the board for the YWCA and volunteer weekly at their Family Justice Center working with victims of domestic abuse and going to the county detention center to work with incarcerated women in the program "Freedom Inside" to assist them in dealing with the trauma in their lives.”

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