Discover the Hidden Treasures of Education
A spectacular evening has been planned for the Annual Gala & Fundraising Event. Join us as we celebrate the Hidden Treasures of Education with our community. The evening will be unlike any other held by the Foundation. An "Adventure of an Evening" promises to be lots of fun while helping our students. Our guest speaker, Rich Taylor was named Dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts in February of 2009. In announcing the appointment, University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren praised Taylor as “one of the University’s most outstanding graduates." Taylor’s 40 year career in the Fine Arts and Entertainment Business is unparalleled.
Dean Taylor joined the OU faculty in the summer of 2007 as Chair and tenured professor of the Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre. Prior to returning to OU, he had an illustrious career as the Sr. Executive with Walt Disney Entertainment and Costuming. For over 10 years, as Disney Vice President, Taylor led the creative, production and operations teams for the world’s largest live entertainment company at the world’s number one tourist destination, the Walt Disney World Resort.
Rich is a native of Enid, Oklahoma and distinguished 1980 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts. Upon graduation, the first decade of his entertainment career was spent performing with, producing, directing and teaching for famed choral music pioneer and showman, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. He joined the Disney entertainment organization in 1980 and for the next 27 years advanced through a myriad of executive leadership positions including head of creative development, talent casting, Special Events, Director of Entertainment for Disneyland Paris, and Corporate Director of Communication, Planning and Administration.
He was named Vice President of Disney Entertainment and Costuming in 1996 and for the next decade led the team and cast of well over 4,000 performers and entertainment professionals. Rich was the executive responsible for the creation of countless Disney parades, shows, spectaculars and special events, including Fantasmic!, Illuminations Reflections of Earth, Tapestry of Nations, Festival of the Lion King, Tarzan Rocks!, the grand opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the gala christenings of all Disney Cruise Line ships. He also co-created and produced the Emmy Award-winning Walt Disney World Christmas Parade on ABC and the Super Bowl XXXIV halftime show.
Rich is the recipient of the Lowell Mason Fellow Award from the National Association for Music Education and served on Music Educators National Conference Advisory Board. He is a two time judge of the Miss America Pageant and sought after adjudicator and clinician for choral music and show choir events and competitions. He is a recipient of the Media Fellowship International’s Ambassador Award and the OU Regents Alumni Award. Dean Taylor has served on the boards of the Orlando Ballet, Orlando Opera, The Florida State University School of Motion Picture, Television and Recording, Fred Waring’s America at Penn State and is currently on the advisory panel of the Oklahoma Arts Institute and Creative Oklahoma. In 2010 he served as chairman of the Creativity World Forum held in Oklahoma City.
Join us for the fun event which will include a silent auction, cash bar, social time, dinner & live auctions and fun times. Piano music is being performed by our very own, Dr. Stephen Weber, Chair of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Chair of Arts & Humanities Division. Tickets are $35 per person and are available online or by calling (405) 222-6506 x 1009.