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2003 - First Lady's Award - Molly Shi Boren

Teacher, lawyer, judge and committed activist for Oklahoma, Molly Shi Boren is Oklahoman right down to the tips of her toes. Mrs. Boren received a master's degree in English in 1971 and a juris doctorate in 1974 from the University of Oklahoma. She began the practice of law in Ada and in 1975 was appointed special district judge for Pontotoc County. One of the youngest district judges in Oklahoma history, she served until 1977 when she married David Boren, then the governor of Oklahoma.

Mrs. Boren was the first woman to serve on the Oklahoma Bar Association board of trustees and the first woman elected to the board of directors for the Ada Chamber of Commerce. But then, Molly has a history of being first, being a leader. She quietly and elegantly leads us to be better, to do better, to want and expect better. Her love of Oklahoma and this great nation has been transformed into numerous programs of beautification, education and pursuits of excellence.

By concentrating her considerable interest, influence and expertise in community beautification on the University of Oklahoma campuses and at the OU Health Science Center, she has created areas of immeasurable beauty in landscape and outdoor art.

These visual havens for students, patients, families and visitors have been instrumental in creating a new sense of pride and community. We are enticed to stroll the numerous gardens, soaking in their beauty and serenity. This new sense of pride serves as a deterrent to litter or vandalism or other negative activities.

Mrs. Boren truly believes the research that tells us, "Being surrounded by beauty creates more beauty in every aspect."

Molly Boren's absolute transformation of the University of Oklahoma campuses is a stunning and irrefutable example of how pride is both the reason for and the result of a beautification vision. Her exemplary leadership and ability to create working alliances has produced a model of success in beautification and landscaping not only for the university, but truly for the entire state of Oklahoma as well.

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful pays tribute to Molly Shi Boren's significant and valuable contributions to Oklahoma by presenting her with the first-ever First Lady's Award. She helps us all to BELIEVE IN OKLAHOMA!