December 4, 2003 :: State Regents Honor Rubye Hall, First African-American Regent
Noting her many contributions that have permanently enriched the State of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a resolution Thursday commemorating the life and accomplishments of former regent Rubye Hall, who passed away November 9. She was 91.
“Words cannot describe the enormous impact Rubye Hall made in public education in Oklahoma, both in K-12 and in higher education,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “She worked tirelessly and relentlessly during her long and successful career to improve the quality and equality of public education in our state. She was a true education advocate and civil rights pioneer whose efforts will be felt for many more generations to come.”
Following her graduation from Langston University in 1932, Hall worked in the Oklahoma City Public School system for 33 years as a teacher and speech pathologist. She later earned a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma where she was one of the university’s first regularly enrolled African-American students.
She was appointed to the State Regents in 1974 by former Gov. David Hall, becoming the first African American appointed to the state’s higher education coordinating board. She served as board chair in 1978-79. During her stint with the State Regents, she was instrumental in launching Langston University’s new mission and gaining approval of the state’s civil rights compliance plan.
Hall was also one of the first members of the board of directors for the Oklahoma City Urban League and was a longtime member of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Even up to the time of her death, she continued her work with Oklahoma’s youth and disadvantaged at the National Grandparents Academy she established in 1996, serving as its executive director. She also founded the Central Oklahoma Learning Disabilities Association, serving as a board member for many years.
In 1980, the Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma (HEACO) presented Hall with the Regent of the Year Award. She was also the recipient of the OU Distinguished Alumni Award and, most recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation.
Hall was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, NTU African American Hall of Fame, Langston University Alumni Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
“It’s extraordinary looking back over the last century and seeing the kinds of accomplishments and achievements Regent Hall made during her lifetime as an educator, regent, friend and active citizen,” State Regents’ Chairman Ike Glass said. “She truly cared about young people, not only here in Oklahoma but around the nation. She was a great Oklahoman and American and will be missed. We extend our condolences and sympathy to her children and grandchildren”