Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Florence G. Birdwell

Few people have shown how profoundly the arts can give fulfillment to daily life than Florence G. Birdwell, a master teacher of vocalists. Ms. Birdwell earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Music at Oklahoma City University and was advised to become a teacher when she lost her singing voice for a number of years. Oklahoma City University had the foresight and wisdom to hire her as an adjunct faculty in 1947; she eventually became an Assistant Professor in 1976, and then Professor in 1988. She has been at OCU for sixty-five years. During those years she taught, encouraged, and molded three generations of students who have gone on to delight citizens of the state and nation. Her students have included Susan Powell (Miss America), one Tony Award winner (Kristin Chenoweth), Tony Award nominees Kelli O’Hara and Lara Teeter, international operatic soprano Barbara Fox deMaio Caprilli, and Broadway performer Stacy Logan. The venues her students perform in include La Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, and Lincoln Center. Her students adore her and carry with them her inspired enthusiasm. In recognition of her achievements, Florence Birdwell received Oklahoma’s highest arts honor, the Governor’s Arts Award in 1985; she has also been given the woman of the year award from the Girl Scouts of America as well as from the Association of Women in Communications; she was inducted into the OCU Performance Hall of Honor in 1997. For her unparalleled successes in promoting the arts in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society is proud to induct Florence G. Birdwell into the Higher Education Hall of Fame.