Evening of Excellence Set for March 24; Gala Raises Funds for OU College of Medicine Research
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2022
OKLAHOMA CITY — The 2022 Evening of Excellence gala, which celebrates healthcare and community leaders while raising funds for research at the OU College of Medicine, will be held March 24 at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum.
Honorees are Gregory L. Skuta, M.D., who served for 12 years as president and chief executive officer of Dean McGee Eye Institute, and G. Rainey Williams Jr., chair of the University Hospitals Authority and Trust and chair of the OU Health Board of Directors. Skuta will be presented the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Medical Service, and Williams will receive the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Community Service. For more information or to purchase tickets, go online to medicine.ouhsc.edu/alumni/eoe.
Evening of Excellence, now in its 37th year, is organized by the OU College of Medicine Alumni Association. Since the event began, the alumni association has awarded $3.6 million in grants to 162 researchers in the college.
“We are pleased to honor these two individuals for their dedication to our institution and to the health and well-being of Oklahomans,” said Mary Zoe Baker, M.D., president of the OU College of Medicine Alumni Association. “Evening of Excellence is also important for furthering research on our campus. The grants we have been able to provide to researchers have allowed them to launch innovative studies and leverage the results of those studies to obtain larger federal grants.”
In 2009, Skuta was named the third president and chief executive officer of DMEI and Edward L. Gaylord Professor and Chair of the OU College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology. During his tenure, he oversaw completion of the $47 million expansion of DMEI, which included construction of the David W. Parke II, M.D. Pavilion and renovation of the Thomas E. Acers, M.D. Pavilion, which together doubled laboratory space and greatly increased clinical capacity.
During Skuta’s leadership, the organization brought in over $45 million in donations, which made possible not only the expansion but a number of other initiatives. These include the renovation of the third floor of the Acers Pavilion into The Chickasaw Nation Center of Excellence for Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Degeneration; the acquisition of two femtosecond lasers plus numerous other critical pieces of technology; the recruitment of seven vision scientists, 17 ophthalmologists, and four optometrists; and the recognition of faculty with numerous awards as well as the establishment of four endowed positions.
Skuta has contributed to more than 120 publications, book chapters and educational products. He served as a principal investigator for the National Eye Institute-sponsored Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study and the Collaborative Initial Glaucoma Treatment Study. In addition, he was a member of the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study. He has delivered lectures and presentations at more than 250 meetings throughout the world.
Skuta served as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2014 and received the AAO Life Achievement Honor Award. He currently serves as the chair of the AAO’s Foundation Advisory Board and is a member of the Academy’s Board of Trustees. He is a board member and treasurer of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research/Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, and he serves on the board of directors for the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company.
In addition, Skuta is a past president of the American Glaucoma Society and American Eye Study Club, an emeritus director of the American Board of Ophthalmology, a past member of the board of governors of the World Glaucoma Association, a past member of the board of directors of the American Glaucoma Society Foundation, and a past director-at-large for the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology. He is listed among the Best Doctors in America and Castle Connolly Top Doctors.
Williams is president of Marco Capital Group, a privately owned investment partnership operating in Oklahoma, Texas and the southwestern United States. Marco Capital Group has been an active private investor over the past 25 years, investing in a broad number of private equity, real estate and other alternative investments. Williams has led Marco since it and its predecessors were established in 1989.
Williams serves as lead independent director of BancFirst Corporation and has served on the boards of numerous private companies such as American Trailer Works, Inc., Benham Investment Holdings and Titan Spine, Inc.
Currently, he serves as chair of the University Hospitals Authority and Trust, chair of the OU Health Board of Directors, and chair of the Investment Committee of Presbyterian Health Foundation, Inc. Williams has served as an adjunct professor in the graduate program (MBA) at Price College of Business at OU. He is a former chairman of the YMCA Retirement Fund in New York, the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, and has served as senior warden of All Souls’ Episcopal Church.
He also has held significant offices and/or board positions for numerous charitable organizations on and off the Oklahoma Health Center campus, including Dean McGee Eye Institute, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the United Way of Metro Oklahoma City, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
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