Hall of Fame Member Biographies

David Swank

Matchless has been the service of David Swank to his school, his profession, and his state.  Born in Guthrie and growing up in Stillwater, he earned a B.A. at Oklahoma State and later a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma.  Upon graduation from Oklahoma State University, he entered the U.S. Army serving in the 11th Airborne and 101st Airborne Divisions and the Army Special Forces with a rank of Major.  After being in private practice in Stillwater with his father and brothers and serving as the Payne County Attorney in 1963, he began a fabulous career at the University of Oklahoma when he became Assistant Professor of Law.  Over the next half-century, he served OU as Legal Counsel to the University, Director of Clinical Legal Education, Associate Dean and then Dean of the College of Law, Interim President of OU, and in 2003 he was named a David Ross Boyd Professor of Law honoring his teaching at the University.  At OU he earned countless honors for his teaching and administrative work, such as the Outstanding Professor Award in the College of Law for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.  At the same time, he served his profession by establishing the Cleveland County Legal Aid Office, serving as its director for four years.  He wrote the Oklahoma Discovery Code, passed by the state legislature in 1982, and recently was the principal drafter of the Oklahoma Code of Judicial Conduct (adopted by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2011).  For these and other services to his profession and to the state, he has been given the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers’ Award for Outstanding Service, the Oklahoma Bar Association Award for Outstanding Performance and Significant Contribution, commended by the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate for Outstanding Service, and the Oklahoma Bar Association President’s Award for Outstanding Service.  In addition, he has earned prestige for his work in collegiate athletics; he twice served as Chairman of the Big Eight Conference, served as a member and Vice President of the NCAA for seven years, and was Chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions for nine years. After forty nine years at the University he is still an active professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law teaching a full course load. Today we honor David Swank for the many benefits he has bestowed upon the people and universities of Oklahoma.