Kyle Petty to be speaker at Green and Gold Gala

By Jacob Factor, News Editor

One of OBU’s biggest events, The Green and Gold Gala, raises funds every year for student scholarships.

Hosted at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center March 8 at 7 p.m., the Gala includes live music, OBU student life stories, a silent auction and a keynote speaker.

For the Seventh Annual Gala, the speaker is NASCAR legend Kyle Petty who will be introduced by Hobby Lobby Founder and CEO David Green.

Henry Wrinkler is the confirmed speaker for the 2020 Green and Gold Gala.

According to the Green and Gold Gala event page, individual tickets are $150, and half of that goes directly to scholarship funds as a tax-deductible gift.

There are also sponsorships available, from the $2,500 Green sponsorship to the $50,000 Lead sponsorship. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 3.

Petty is considered royalty in the racing world, as he is the son of “The King” Richard Petty, the most successful racer in NASCAR history, and the grandson of Lee Petty, a NASCAR pioneer.

Kyle Petty’s son Adam Petty was the first fourth-generation NASCAR racer before his tragic death May 12, 2000 during a practice race; he was 19 at the time.

Adam Petty’s memory is honored by Victory Junction, created to “enrich the lives of children, ages six to 16, with chronic or life-threatening illnesses,” according to its website.

Every year since 1995, Kyle Petty hosts the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.

When the Petty Family opened Victory Junction in 2004, the Charity Ride’s proceeds started going primarily to it.

“When the Charity Ride began in 1995, we had no idea it would become the huge fundraising event it is today,” Petty said. “We were just a bunch of guys riding our Harleys and having a good time! Then we realized we could help others and it became so much more.”

Since it’s inception, Petty said the Charity Ride has raised $18.5 million in donations. More than 8,000 riders have participated in the Charity Ride.

In 2018, they raised $1.3 million.

Part of their route went through the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where Kyle Petty’s son had his accident in 2000.

“From lapping the track at New Hampshire to our homecoming at Victory Junction, this year’s Ride was a little bittersweet,” said Petty. “It was more emotional for me this year than past Rides because we ended at Camp. I’ve said it a million times – when I see a camper, I see Adam in their smile and I know he’s still here with us. And there were campers everywhere as we pulled into Camp.”

Victory Junction has served more than 23,000 campers and their families.

According to their website, the cost for one camper to attend is $2,500, but no child or family has to pay that because of the generosity of corporations, organizations and individuals.

According to OBU’s official statement, “Kyle has been named or nominated by NASCAR, plus various media outlets and corporations, as Person of the Year, Father of the Year, Sportsman of the Year and USA’s Most Caring Athlete. He is an inductee in both the Philanthropy Hall of Fame, the Humanitarian Hall of Fame and the Little League Hall of Excellence.”

Kyle Petty is also an analyst on NBCSN’s daily show, NASCAR America. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, “Fast Talk” on the Performance Racing Network.

For more information of Kyle Petty’s Charity Race Across America and Victory Junction, visit

Henry Winkler to speak at 2019 Green and Gold Gala

By Kenny Day, OBU Press Release

Henry Winkler, Emmy-winning actor, director, producer and New York Times best-selling author, will be the keynote speaker at Oklahoma Baptist University’s annual Green and Gold Gala.

The event will take place March 5, 2019, at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. The annual event raises funds for student scholarships at OBU. Tickets are now on sale at

Those interested in attending the event are encouraged to purchase tickets now, as seating is based on sponsorship level and purchase date. Sponsorships and corporate tables are available as well as individual tickets.

Cost for the Gala is $150 per ticket, which includes dinner. Of that price, $75 will go toward student scholarships as a tax-deductible gift to OBU.

In 2018, he captured the Emmy award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for his role in the HBO series “Barry.”

Winkler’s portrayal of The Fonz for 10 seasons on Happy Days (1974-84) made him one of the most recognized actors in the world.

He won two consecutive Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy Series (1976 and 1977), and three Emmy nominations in the same category.

He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the leather jacket the character wore has hung in The Smithsonian since 1980. Fonzie’s lunch box was recently added to the exhibit.

In 2003, he began writing a series of children’s novels with co-author Lin Oliver, titled, “Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Under-Achiever.”

The books are inspired by Winkler’s struggles throughout his education due to his learning challenges and have appeared on several best-seller lists including The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

To date, he and Oliver have written 34 children’s novels, and his books have been published around the world in seven languages. Winkler writes every day he is not acting or traveling.

The Hank Zipzer books have been turned into a TV series. After three years airing on CBBC (Children’s British Broadcasting Channel), it is now airing in the U.S. on the Universal Kids network.

Henry co-stars as one of his characters in the book, “Mr. Rock, the music teacher.”

In 2011, he published a collection of anecdotes and heartfelt observations, “I Never Met an Idiot on the River,” a collection of the lessons and photos he gathered while fly fishing in Montana.

Continuing his love for children’s books, he released the first installment of a new series in January 2012 titled, “Ghost Buddy #1: Zero to Hero.”

There are four books in the Ghost Buddy series.

Winkler executive produces and stars in NBC’s celebrity adventure show, “Better Late Than Never,” which premiered in 2016.

Taking a note from “The Amazing Race,” Winkler, alongside Terry Bradshaw, William Shatner and George Foreman, treks across the world in search of new adventures and life-changing experiences in the critically acclaimed reality series.

Winkler is renowned as a public speaker, and audiences always leave his presentations inspired and entertained. Through humorous anecdotes and inspirational life lessons about overcoming adversity to his storied career in television and entertainment, groups of all ages can learn from his speeches.

His passion for supporting others is the result of a lifetime struggle with undiagnosed dyslexia.

He has worked tirelessly to bring awareness and support to children who learn differently by advocating for changes in the educational system and informing parents and teachers about learning challenges.

Born in New York City Oct. 30, 1945, he began performing at the age of 14.  A graduate of the Yale School of Drama in 1970, he moved back to New York to make his mark on Broadway, but decided to give television a try and headed to Los Angeles in 1973.

He quickly found work in commercials and landed several guest spots on sitcoms including his first role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” but an audition in October of that year changed his life forever.

Producer Garry Marshall and Tom Miller cast Winkler in the role of Arthur Fonzarel-li, aka “The Fonz” (Fonzie) in the TV series, “Happy Days.” The ABC series was one of the most popular sitcoms from 1974-84.

His portrayal of “The Fonz” made him one of the most recognized actors in the world and an international star, a status he still maintains to this day.

Yet, while “Happy Days” and “The Fonz” continue to live in the past thanks to cable television, Winkler lives very much in the present.

In the last few years, he has appeared on a number of series. He starred in the popular Adult Swim series “Children’s Hospital” and had a recurring role on “Royal Pains.”

He was also seen on “New Girl,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Arrested Development.” His guest role in the ABC series, “The Practice,” earned him an Emmy Award nomination.

He also starred in the CBS sitcom, “Out of Practice.” Among his most notable credits are guest-starring roles on series such as “Numb3rs,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Third Watch,” “Crossing Jor-dan,” “Law and Order: SVU” and the Hallmark Channel holiday movie, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

He also lent his voice to such shows as “All Hail King Julien” on Netfl ix, “South Park,” “King of the Hill,” “Family Guy,” “The Simp-sons” and “Clifford: The Puppy Years,” for which he received an Emmy Award.

Winkler has also made his mark in films as well. His motion picture credits include “Night Shift,” “Here Comes the Boom,” “The Waterboy,” “Click,” “The Lords of Flat-bush,” “Heroes,” “Holes” and “Scream.” He also directed several movies including “Memories of Me,” starring Billy Crystal and the late Alan King, and “Cop and a Half,” starring Burt Reynolds. He has executive produced or produced TV series and specials for 19 years. These include “MacGyver,” “So Weird,” “Mr. Sunshine,” “Sightings,” “A Family Again,” “All Kids Do It” (which won him an Emmy Award), “Ryan’s Four,” “Scandal Sheet” and the ABC documentary, “Who Are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get 19 Kids?” which won the prestigious Humanitas Prize. No stranger to live theatre, he has also appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon’s “The Dinner Party” with the late John Ritter, and in “The Performers.”

Winkler has always believed in helping others, and his work with children knows no boundaries. The list of groups with which he is associated is as long as his resume of acting credits.

He has been a featured speaker before audiences of thousands of children across America and Canada at WE Day Celebrations, promoting education and service for students.

His work also includes Honorary Chairman of United Friends of the Children, Founding Member of the Children’s Action Network, the first National Honorary Chairman of the Epilepsy Foundation of America, National Chairman of the annual Toys for Tots campaign, the National Committee for Arts for the Handicapped, the Special Olympics, the Los Angeles Music Center’s Very Special Arts Festival for children who are physically challenged, and numerous teenage alcohol and drug abuse programs.

Never asking to be recognized for his personal commitment to helping others, Winkler’s efforts have still not gone unnoticed. His has received a number of accolades from a variety of prestigious organizations including B’nai B’rith, Peace Prize by the United Nations, and Women in Film’s Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award presented to both Henry and his wife, Stacey, for their tireless efforts and devotion to the “improvement of the human condition.”

He also received the Chevallier de l’Ordre des Artes et Lettres, the French Government’s highest honor.

Winkler was one of 10 individuals honored by AARP with their 2010 Inspire Award.

In 2011, he was awarded the Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the Brit-ish Empire (OBE) from the Queen of England in recognition of his services to children with dyslexia and special education needs.

His own challenges with learning – the diagnosis of dyslexia came when he was 31 – led him to send a message to children coping with their own learning difficulties, that, “no matter how you learn, it has nothing to do with your brilliance. You have greatness inside of you.”

A favorite quote of Henry’s is from the great Austrian Jewish author Theodor Herzl, who said, “If you will it, it is not a dream.”

Of all the titles he has received, the ones he relishes most are husband, father and grandfather. Henry and Stacey have three children—Jed, Zoe, and Max—and five grandchildren.

The Winklers reside in Los Angeles. For more information about the Green and Gold Gala or to purchase tickets, visit

OBU hosts 6th annual Green and Gold Gala

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor   (Courtesy Photo/The Bison)

With every new semester there are trials and frustrations; however, the legend Mary Lou Retton will be giving advice on how to continue to push through hard times.

Oklahoma Baptist University will be hosting the annual Green and Gold Gala March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center. During the event, there will be a silent auction, live music, students’ stories, the delivering of the Presidential Leadership Award and a speech from Olympic gold medalist, Mary Lou Retton.

“OBU is on full display at the Gala each year,” senior vice president for advancement and university relations, Dr. Will Smallwood said. “The Gala is a fun evening, where guests are treated to the incredible story of OBU and the story of the invited speaker. Student stories always highlight the evening.”

The purpose of the Green and Gold Gala is to not only showcase life on Bison Hill, but also raise funds for student scholarships for future Bison.

“Oklahoma Baptist University believes strongly in the quality and value of an OBU education,” Smallwood said. “As such, the University continually strives to provide more funds in scholarships for students. With rising enrollment and a guaranteed minimum $5,000 per year scholarship for all new freshmen, the University desires to increase scholarship funds so that more students may experience a life-changing education on Bison Hill.”

For the past several months, the Office of University Advancement team has been working all year to pull this Gala together.

Some of the many steps taken to create an event like this include confirming the venue, meeting with sponsors, mailing invites, creating videos, ect. However, one of the first tasks for planning this event was finding the guest speaker.

To find a speaker, OBU administrators carefully analyze a list of speakers and invite individuals depending on their availability. This year they chose Olympic gymnast, Mary Lou Retton, a woman who has succeeded in her athletic and personal life.

“As America’s favorite Olympic gymnast, her story and life represent the ideals of our University and state,” Smallwood said. “Her example of faith, hard work and perseverance is captivating, and we know she will inspire all who attend the Gala.”

In 1984, when the summer Olympics took place in Los Angeles, Mary Lou Retton broke all kinds of records and set many standards.

She won the All-Around Gold Medal in women’s gymnastics, becoming the first woman to ever win a gold medal in gymnastics. She also went on to win silver medals in Team and Vault and bronze medals in Uneven Bars and Floor Exercises.

With the total of five medals, Mary Lou Retton held the record for the most medals won in that year.

“Mary Lou will talk about the will to be a champion – even in very adverse situations,” director of development, Crystal McKee said. “There is a part of her story leading up to the Olympics in L.A. where she was injured. There is a message and theme of ‘never give up.’ She will say many things about being an Olympic athlete that should resonate with the OBU community: take pride in who you are, what you do and how you carry yourself. Though not everybody has the chance to be an Olympian, we all have the chance to be excellent in our craft and in our daily walk.”

Although items are still being finalized, some of the items in the silent auction include OBU Football season passes, a couple of gift baskets with Thunder tickets, OKC Broadway tickets, Kendra Scott jewelry and several other items.

This event is made possible with the help of OBU’s sponsors. This year there are over 25 sponsors, including First United Bank, Hobby Lobby, Express Employment Services, Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, Lingo Construction, Citizen Potowattomie Nation and many more.

Tickets are on sale now and available for everyone. There are special pricing for all OBU students, faculty and staff. Tickets can be purchased at The deadline to purchase tickets is this Friday, March 2.