A shared vision

Lynn and Stacy Schusterman will be honored with the 2011 Vision in Education Leadership Award this month for their continuing contributions to education in Tulsa.



Lynn and Stacy Schusterman

When Stacy Schusterman’s family sits down for dinner, her children answer two questions: What did you learn today, and what was one nice thing you did?

Schusterman and her husband, Steven Dow, ask those questions to help their children understand that their Jewish faith teaches that the world rests on three pillars: the Torah and learning, service to God and acts of loving kindness.

“The Torah teaches the concept that we should be learning all the time,” Schusterman says.

Given this perspective, it is not surprising that the philanthropic foundation her parents established in 1987 — the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation — is dedicated to learning, leadership and issues affecting Israel and Jews. The funds it distributes annually are split between projects in the Schustermans’ hometown of Tulsa and Jewish causes locally, nationally and internationally.

In Tulsa, the foundation focuses on programs relating to child advocacy, education and youth development. Among the projects it supports are such educational programs as subsidizing textbooks at Tulsa Community College; providing school supplies for schools with a large number of students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program; and sponsoring Teach for America, which places well-qualified teachers in Tulsa to help low-income children succeed.

It is because of these philanthropic activities, and many more, that Stacy and her mother, Lynn Schusterman, chair of the foundation, will be honored for their commitment to education as the 2011 recipients of the Tulsa Community College Foundation’s Vision in Education Leadership Award later this month.

The family’s support of TCC dates back to 1992, when the Schustermans funded the traveling Smithsonian exhibit “Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” TCC President Tom McKeon says. Since then, the family has been a tremendous supporter of the college — from making grants for the biotechnology program at the Southeast Campus to annual gifts that pay for textbooks for the Tulsa Achieves program.

TCC is an open-door institution, making itself accessible and affordable to all students, many of whom are low-income and first-generation college students, McKeon says. The Schustermans recognize the importance of helping those students prepare for 21st century careers, he says.

“Both Lynn and Stacy Schusterman have been tremendous friends of the college and our community,” McKeon says. “People like Lynn and Stacy help make Tulsa one of the great cities.”

Before they arrive in college, students need a solid foundation in high school. In Oklahoma, one in five children lives in poverty, and only 7 percent of students from Tulsa Public Schools graduate college-ready, according to statistics from Teach for America, with only 1 to 2 percent of African American and Latino students graduating college-ready.

In 2009, the Schustermans introduced TPS Superintendent Keith Ballard to Teach for America. The program asks for a two-year commitment from teachers, who are placed in one of 39 regions across the country in exchange for salary, benefits, money to repay student loans and scholarships for graduate school. In 2009, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation pledged $2 million in financial support for the program, in addition to $1 million pledged by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and $300,000 by the Williams Foundation.

Today, there are 150 Teach for America corps members in Tulsa helping 12,000 students.

Additionally, Ballard says the Schustermans have helped to spearhead the Teacher Leader Effectiveness Initiative, a new evaluation system that holds teachers and leaders accountable for student performance on state tests. Stacy Schusterman volunteers on the initiative’s steering committee. TPS also receives vital guidance and funding from the Gates Foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and other Tulsa foundations and companies for this initiative.

The Schustermans also connected Ballard with their educational contacts on a national level and paid for teacher leader effectiveness consultants, Ballard says.

“They are true heroes for education in Tulsa,” Ballard says. “And they do it without ever wanting any credit.”

Perhaps the educator who has known the Schustermans the longest is David Boren, president of The University of Oklahoma, who met his friend Charles Schusterman in the early 1960s when he was a young legislator and Schusterman was a recent OU graduate who was working with his brother in the oilfield salvage business.

In 1971, Schusterman founded Samson, an oil and gas company that Stacy now heads. During the past 40 years, Samson has grown to become one of the nation’s largest independent energy concerns and Boren has served as Oklahoma’s governor, a U.S. senator and university president.

While buildings across the country and around the world are named after the Schustermans, the best known in Tulsa is the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center. Before the Schusterman Center opened, OU’s presence in Tulsa was spread across a dozen locations. Clinics were difficult for patients to find, Boren says, and collaboration among the disciplines was not easy.

In 1999, the BP Amoco Technology Center was for sale, and Boren was imagining the possibilities the space could offer OU, especially because the facility had been built to double as a hospital.

“One day, out of the blue, I got a call from Charles Schusterman,” Boren says. “He said, ‘David, don’t you think it would be a wonderful idea to purchase that Amoco building?’ He went through all of the arguments and I agreed with every one of them.”

Still, Boren asked, where would they come up with the money?

Boren was astounded when his friend offered to help pay for the property and said, “I was thinking in the eight figures.”

The Schustermans’ $10 million grant allowed all of OU’s Tulsa health programs to come under one roof, and not once did Boren have to ask.

“The Schusterman family is just exceptional in terms of the head and the heart brought together to help the community,” Boren says.

In 1983, at age 47, Charles Schusterman was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia and was told he would have an estimated three years to live. He underwent experimental treatment.

“While he suffered with this debilitating illness, he was thinking about what he could do to help others and to help the community,” Boren says. “He spent every waking hour thinking, and I’m not sure he didn’t dream a lot. His mind was always at work.”

The Schustermans launched their foundation during his battle with leukemia.

In 2000, Charles Schusterman died, and Lynn Schusterman assumed leadership of the foundation. Under her stewardship, the foundation has earned a reputation as a thoughtful, strategic and innovative organization that also reflects the passion and concern for others that Lynn embodies. Between her responsibilities as chair of the foundation and her numerous leadership roles in other organizations, Lynn travels continuously and devotes countless hours to the causes she holds most dear. And she does all this while spending as much time as possible with her granddaughters.

Lynn and Stacy Schusterman say they believe “education empowers people to reach their full and unique potential. Our family is pleased to support TCC as it continues to play a vital role in helping individuals across our community access educational opportunities that will allow them to live fuller lives.”

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May 2019

Vintage Market Days® is an upscale vintage and vintage-inspired indoor/outdoor market featuring original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings,...

Cost: Friday $10, Saturday & Sunday $5

Where:
Creek County Fairgrounds
17808 W Hwy 66
Kellyville, OK  74039
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Sponsor: Vintage Market Days of Tulsa
Telephone: (918) 527-1247
Contact Name: VMD Tulsa
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1700 NE 63rd Street
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Cost: FREE ADMISSION

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Inner Circle Vodka Bar
410 North Main St., Ste. A
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Inner Circle Vodka Bar
Contact Name: Trina Thompson
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The Bond
608 E 3rd St
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n/a
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Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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PH Community House
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Cost: TBD

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Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: Revitalize T-Town
Telephone: 918-742-6241
Contact Name: Aimee Mehl
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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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Cost: Donations only

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Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

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Hodges Bend
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Cost: 0.00

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n/a
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Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoman
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
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BOK Center
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Cain's Ballroom
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Tulsa, OK
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Heirloom Rustic Ales
2113 E Admiral Blvd
Tulsa, OK
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325 E 2nd St
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n/a
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Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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Cost: Free and open to the public

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McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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Cost: Free

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The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
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Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
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Tulsa, OK
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Tulsa
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Tulsa
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1109 E 6th St
Tulsa, OK
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1526 S Harvard Ave
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303 MLK Jr Blvd
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Magic City Books
221 E Archer St
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Cost: 0.00

Where:
n/a
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Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoman
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

More information

Explore various moments in time as captured by PHOTOG, Photographers of Tulsa Oklahoma Group. The exhibit opening reception is 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 1. The exhibit is open through May 30. Call...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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Charley Young Event Park
50 West Dawes Avenue
Bixby, OK  74008
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Sponsor: Bixby Metro Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 918-366-9445
Contact Name: Tashia Taylor
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3508 S Sheridan Rd
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300 Riverwalk Terrace
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116 S Elgin Ave
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777 W Cherokee St
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1747 S Boston Ave
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OSU-Tulsa
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Tulsa, OK
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River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
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Where:
Charley Young Event Park
50 W Dawes St
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Cost: $10

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Where:
n/a
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Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

More information

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Cost: Free and open to the public

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McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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Soul City
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1717 E 7th St
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Cost: $20.00 - Free

Where:
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
3624 North 74th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74115
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Sponsor: Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
Telephone: 918-834-9900
Contact Name: Kevin Meeks
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Cost: Free

Where:
6500 S. 129th E Ave.
Broken Aarow, OK  74012


Sponsor: Floral Haven Funeral Home
Telephone: 415-359-2316
Contact Name: David Cumpston
Website »

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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View map »

More information

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Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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Mamma Mia!  Here we go again... If you ABBA-solutely want to have a fun evening, come join us in a post-Mothers' Day celebration of the woman who brought you into this world (and let you stay in...

Cost: $8.00

Where:
PH Community House
306 S Phoenix Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
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Where:
Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
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Cost: $10

Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - Volcano Stage
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
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Where:
Hard Rock Casino - Track 5.
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa
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Where:
Hard Rock Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa
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Cost: $5

Where:
Bad Ass Renee's
6373 E 31st St
Tulsa
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Cost: $5

Where:
473
2224 E Admiral Blvd
Tulsa
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Cost: $5

Where:
Centennial Lounge at VFW Post 577
1109 E 6th St
Tulsa
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Cost: $15

Where:
Duet
108 N Detroit Ave
Tulsa
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Where:
Soundpony
409 N Main St
Tulsa
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Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with a classic car and motorcycle cruise down Route 66, historical displays, and live entertainment.

Where:
Route 66 Historical Village
3770 Southwest Blvd
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $30-$40

Where:
River Spirit Casino
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Mohawk Park
5701 E 36th St
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Rabbit Hole Improv
1526 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $4-$8

Where:
pH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $5

Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa
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Where:
The Stumbling Monkey
8921 S Yale Ave
Tulsa
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Cost: $10

Where:
The Vanguard
222 N Main St
Tulsa
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Cost: $20

Where:
Hard Rock Casino - The Joint
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa, OK
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Where:
Lefty's On Greenwood
10 N Greenwood
Tulsa
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