Jerod Coker, a University of Oklahoma student majoring in economics with a minor in political science, is the recipient of the 2013 Carl Albert Award, presented each year to the outstanding senior in the OU College of Arts and Sciences.
Coker will be presented with the Carl Albert Award at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, in Beaird Lounge of Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave.
He will graduate summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade-point average during OU’s Commencement ceremonies on May 10.
A National Merit Scholar, Coker has received numerous scholarships, honors and awards during his college career, including a Marshall Scholarship in 2012. One of only 34 selected in the United States, he was OU’s sixth Marshall Scholar. As a recipient of that scholarship, following graduation from OU, he will study for one year at the London School of Economics, earning a master of science degree in economics and philosophy. He then plans to pursue a master of science degree in economics and social history at Oxford University before returning to the United States to attend law school at either Harvard or Stanford.
Coker was selected as the student speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences’ Convocation in December, was named to Phi Kappa Phi honors society, and received the C. Joe Holland Scholarship in journalism and Joseph Crim Cray award for the top undergraduate paper in the OU Department of Political Science.
During his years at OU, Coker has been an Honors College student, serving as chairman of the college’s Student Advisory Committee his sophomore and junior years. Additionally, during his sophomore year, he founded the Honors College Current Events Discussion Group and co-founded the Honors College Documentary Watch Group.
During his junior and senior years, Coker has served as a Fellow with the Institute for American Constitutional Heritage Society of Fellows, as an Ethics Bowl debater and also as a team leader for OU’s Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth. During his senior year, he also has worked as a teaching assistant for the Honors College’s Career Paths in Entrepreneurship course.
Since August 2012, he has served as assistant to the university vice president of strategic planning and economic development at OU, where he has researched economic development opportunities for OU and created a proposal for a National Science Foundation grant. Since May 2012, he also has worked as an associate with the Tulsa-based Oklahoma Life Science Fund, a $15 million public-private venture capital fund that seeks to profitably invest in Oklahoma communities with the intent of attracting outside capital and talent to the state.
In his Carl Albert Award essay, Coker said that the “fundamental guiding principle” to everything he does is simple: “leave this world a better place than I found it.” While at OU, he has drawn upon not only his classroom education, but also his work with two OU entities –
the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth and the Oklahoma Funding Accelerator – as well as the Oklahoma Life Science Fund to learn about the myriad aspects of entrepreneurship as well as policy and economic analysis. He said by working “both sides of the table” – on the side of the small business owner looking for capital and the investor looking for new opportunities – he has been afforded a unique perspective on entrepreneurship that will serve him well both in his life and his chosen careers as social entrepreneur and federal policymaker.
The Carl Albert Award, the most prestigious given to a student by the OU College of Arts and Sciences, is based on academics, moral force of character, and promise of future service to the state and nation. First presented in 1966, the award was established to honor Carl Albert, OU alumnus and former U.S. Speaker of the House, for his distinguished undergraduate career and national service. Julian Rothbaum, former state regent and longtime friend of Albert, endowed the award in 1965.