Rotary Dedicates $1 Million Gift to the People of Tulsa

By Rotary GasserOnline Committee, Forrest Cameron, Chair
Photos By , Jerry Cornelius

50-7x5-Overall-view-1-shrunk-for-websiteSeven years after first discussing a “significant and long-lasting” centennial gift to the people of Tulsa, the Rotary Club of Tulsa dedicated its $1 million Rotary Plaza on Williams Center Green.

Immediate past president of Rotary International Ray Klinginsmith traveled to Tulsa to first keynote the April 25 dedication on the Green and then the celebration luncheon, which drew close to 400 in a Hyatt Regency ballroom.  Others participating in the day’s activities included Mayor Dewey Bartlett – an honorary member of our club – along with Rotarian GT Bynum, who serves as city council chair, and Club President Phil Lakin, Jr., who is also a Tulsa city councilor.  Barbara Hess, chair of the Tulsa Parking Authority, which owns the Green, also thanked Rotary for the gift of a “significant enhancement to the downtown park.”  Past-presidents Bob Lengacher and Tim Colwell, who co-chaired the Centennial Project Committee, presented framed picture-plaques to Dewey, GT and Barbara.

ResizedImage152123-C100-Platform-PlazaDedication1Following the outdoor dedication, the celebration continued inside the hotel.  Three special videos were shown, including a time-lapse view of the project, edited by Rotarian Erik Ortega; an aerial view of the plaza created by Rotarian Tina Miller and her husband Alan; and a video view of the plaza at night showing the dramatic nighttime lighting installed by Phos Electric & Lighting.  That video is featured on the lighting contractor’s website,

Bob Lenagcher shared how the project was launched with an idea by then-club President Linda Bradshaw.  He credited Linda’s vision and thanked the many others who contributed funds and volunteer time throughout the five years of planning and fund-raising.  Bob recognized Rotarian Norm Asbjornson for his financial commitment that launched the capital campaign and sustained it with continuing support.

C100-Dedication-Crowd-outsideTim Colwell recognized Jay O’Meilia and David Nunneley, the artists who created the five bronze sculptures; landscape architects Dan Alaback and Jason Dickinson of Alaback Design Associates: and general contractor Brett Biery of Hunter Construction Management.

The project co-chair also saluted the various volunteers who contributed their time and resources to the completion and success of the project, including the 21-member Centennial Project Committee and the event planning committee, as well as the various project contractors, sub contractors and Rotary staff.

The largest contributors to the project stood and were thanked, followed by every person in the room who pledged and contributed.

Individual volunteers recognized include John Stava, who served as the project’s construction chair; Ron Butler, who provided extensive graphic design services, including design of the club centennial logo; and Tina Miller, whose photography was included in the event program and in other promotional materials.  Jerry Cornelius also provided photography.

Tim also personally thanked Bob Lengacher for his dedication and tenacity and “for his deep friendship and mentoring” during the five-year project.  This drew a long and sustained standing ovation to recognize Bob’s leadership not only for this project, but for his 49 years of service to the club and the Tulsa community.

In his keynote address, Past President Ray said while many service clubs are dwindling in numbers, it’s obvious that Rotary in Tulsa is strong and that is reflected in Tulsa’s spirit of volunteerism and charitable giving.  He said that Tulsa is recognized as “America’s Most Generous City” – which drew strong applause – and it’s worth celebrating any organization that celebrates 100 years in a community.

C100-Ballroom-shrunk-for-websiteDistinguished guests attending included 14 past district governors and visiting Rotarians from Masaya, Nicaragua; Greeley, Colorado; and Huntsville, Alabama – all who have supported the club’s Nicaragua humanitarian water well drilling project.  Four broadcast news stations covered the event and the Tulsa World ran a morning editorial saluting the club for its generous gift to the people of Tulsa.

Past-President Del Dreyer headed the dedication planning committee.  Serving with him were Trish Kerkstra, Erik Ortega, Donna Mercier, Tim Colwell, Steve Turnbo, and John Rains.

For more information about Rotary Plaza and the individual bronze sculptures, please visit the club’s website under Projects, or click here.