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Evening of Excellence Honors Two at 2020 Gala, Raises Funds for Research

The OU College of Medicine Alumni Association honored two people while raising funds for research during the 2020 Evening of Excellence Gala.

The Dean’s Award for Distinguished Medical Service was presented to Robert E. “Gene” Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., and the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Community Service was presented to David Harlow.

During his long career, Anderson has held numerous positions, including Director of Vision Research at Dean McGee Eye Institute and founding chair of the Department of Cell Biology in the OU College of Medicine. He has maintained a well-funded research laboratory that focuses on retinal degeneration and the role of lipids and lipid metabolism in retinal structure and function.

Harlow serves as CEO of BancFirst Corporation, the parent company of Oklahoma’s largest state-chartered bank with locations in more than 50 Oklahoma communities. His community board of director commitments include the Oklahoma City Innovation District, United Way of Central Oklahoma, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Kirkpatrick Family Fund and YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.

Proceeds for each year’s gala allows the OU College of Medicine Alumni Association to award seed grants to junior researchers. In 2020, the alumni association awarded five grants to basic science researchers in several areas of medicine. Since Evening of Excellence began in 1985, the alumni association has awarded a total of $3.6 million to College of Medicine researchers.

For information about Evening of Excellence, contact Lindsey Manning at 405-271-2353 or

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OU College of Medicine Executive Dean John Zubialde, M.D., left, and Jason Lees, M.D., president of the OU College of Medicine Alumni Association, right, are pictured with the 2020 honorees at the Evening of Excellence, David Harlow and Gene Anderson, M.D., Ph.D.

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Martin-Paul Agbaga, Ph.D., a vision researcher and previous recipient of a College of Medicine Alumni Association seed grant, speaks during the 2020 Evening of Excellence gala.