Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

September 2014

Turpen Delivers Wit, Wisdom, Humor, Energy in ECU Book Review

Mike Turpen at ECU.

Mike Turpen shares some comedy during his book review at East Central University on Sept. 11.

Mike Turpen brought wit, wisdom, humor and energy to East Central University on Sept. 11 with a book review, attended by nearly 200 people.

The review, titled Turpen Time: The Wit and Wisdom of Mike Turpen, featured excerpts from his book by the same name. The book focuses on 50 shades of life in the form of short stories, each woven around a one-liner.

Turpen did a stand-up type comedy routine, shared about the ups and downs in life and encouraged the gathering to have a positive attitude. He was channeling all of his attention toward his newest cause: student debt and the need to create more scholarship dollars. Funds were raised at the event to go toward the ECU Scholarship Fund, particularly the Nikki Stonecipher Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Nikki’s grandfather and Turpen’s good friend, Harland C. Stonecipher, spoke at the event as did ECU President John R. Hargrave. Stonecipher’s name is on the School of Business at ECU. He is the founder of Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc., and is a 1997 ECU distinguished alum.

Whether it’s sharing his views as a political analyst on KFOR Channel 4’s Flash Point in Oklahoma City, talking about his longtime friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, participating in numerous speaking engagements or writing a book, the vibrant and passionate Turpen does it all enthusiastically.

Turpen shared many of his famous one-liners, quite often referred to as Turpenisms such as “If you ain’t givin’, you ain’t livin.”

He often pokes fun at himself with what he calls “self-directed humor.” For instance, “Many, many years ago my family came to Oklahoma in a covered wagon. If you had seen my family you would know why the wagon was covered,” is an example.

Another example of his humor is “I just joined the senior, senior golf tour. On the senior, senior golf tour, you play three holes and whoever remembers their score wins,” said Turpen.

His stories (and one-liners) are often shared to teach life lessons.

“Through both work and family, I’ve lived – and learned how to live – an extraordinary life,” Turpen said about his book. “In our daily struggle for significance, it’s imperative to realize that we are not perfect. A few mistakes are better than perfect inaction. Stories you’ll read here have humbled me. I share them, knowing that we have all been humbled, chastened and even embarrassed by our actions at various points in our lives. Often, such experiences teach us the best lessons.”

Turpen has served as the chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party and as the Attorney General for Oklahoma from 1983-87, before entering private practice. In 2009, he was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to serve as a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He currently serves as chairman.

He signed free copies of his book following the event.

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