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David Holt is new OCU Law Dean

The OKC mayor will now work for both the city and the Oklahoma City University School of Law, his alma mater

Osage mayor of Oklahoma City and former senator David Holt has become dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, his alma mater. At a ceremony on Feb. 15, University of Oklahoma student Gianna “Gigi” Sieke and Princess Lulu Goodfox opened the celebration for Holt with the National Anthem and the Lord’s Prayer.  

Holt will remain the mayor of Oklahoma City as he serves as the dean for the OCU School of Law, and emphasized the importance of the school deeply engaging with issues of tribal sovereignty. “It’s great to have reminders of the culture and the state in which we reside and I’m glad I can do a little part to bring that perspective here,” Holt told Osage News.  

Holt is known for his achievements, and was first elected mayor in 2018, then re-elected in 2022 with more votes than any candidate since 1959 (https://www.okc.gov/government/mayor/about-mayor-holt ). He is Oklahoma City’s first Native American mayor, and also the youngest mayor of OKC since 1923.  

Holt’s late mother, Mary Ann Fuller Holt, was Osage and once turned down a job as executive assistant to a state senator in order to raise him https://magazine.gwu.edu/mayor-in-the-middle. Holt is inspired by her memory, and pursued leadership roles, in part, because of her.  

According to President Dr. Kenneth Evans, who spoke at the dean’s investiture, Holt “embodies the spirit that has sustained this school since its founding 120 years ago. … a spirit of leadership, professionalism, civic pride, and dedication to our university and community.”   

During the ceremony, Evans described Holt as a “staunch advocate” of the school. “The truth is, we are on the precipice of dynamic change, not just in society, but in higher education as well. These times call for dynamic leaders. Those who are educated by the lessons of the past, but with their sights set firmly on the future,” said the school’s president. “I believe David Holt is one of those leaders.”  

The president emphasized that Holt is known for fostering partnerships across a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, and bringing people together, rather than driving them apart. Additionally, the president expressed the expectation that Holt will build new partnerships as part of the university’s strategic plan, a challenge for which he believes the mayor is well-suited.  

The Student Bar Association called upon Dean Holt to stay committed to maintaining OCU Law’s reputation and its status as a first-class institution that consistently graduates high-quality people and highly-qualified lawyers. With his record of achievement, Holt is not likely to let them down.  

“I’m very honored to have this role,” he said after the ceremony. “And this is my alma mater and it’s really a vital institution for Oklahoma City so it’s a really great new opportunity to serve, and I still get to be the mayor, so I get the best of all worlds. Today, especially, I really wanted to have an Osage presence in the ceremony and so I was really excited that Gigi and Lulu could be a part of it and we could have a little bit of Osage culture here at OCU Law today.”  

Among his responsibilities as the dean of OCU Law, he will lead the annual sovereignty symposium, and is on the lookout for additional opportunities to center issues of sovereignty at the Oklahoma City law school.

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Chelsea T. Hicks
Chelsea T. Hickshttps://osagenews.org
Title: Staff Reporter
Email: chelsea.hicks@osagenation-nsn.gov
Languages spoken: English
Chelsea T. Hicks’ past reporting includes work for Indian Country Today, SF Weekly, the DCist, the Alexandria Gazette-Packet, Connection Newspapers, Aviation Today, Runway Girl Network, and elsewhere. She has also written for literary outlets such as the Paris Review, Poetry, and World Literature Today. She is Wahzhazhe, of Pawhuska District, belonging to the Tsizho Washtake, and is a descendant of Ogeese Captain, Cyprian Tayrien, Rosalie Captain Chouteau, Chief Pawhuska I, and her iko Betty Elsey Hicks. Her first book, A Calm & Normal Heart, won the 5 Under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation. She holds an MA from the University of California, Davis, and an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
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