During the Christopher C. Gibbs 2020 Scholarship Recognition Ceremony, held on Friday, September 25, 2020, more than 140 students from all seven disciplines were honored with $238,000 in scholarships made possible by generous donations from Gibbs College alumni, corporate donors, and others. The 2020 Scholarship Recognition Ceremony saw a record-breaking number of scholarships awarded by Gibbs College.

The ceremony, hosted via Zoom, began with remarks from Gibbs College Dean Hans E. Butzer, who shared a land acknowledgement statement. Butzer said, “The support from our donors helps secure the setting for our students to do what they came here to do: to pursue their curiosities and set the foundation for their futures.”

The Gibbs College namesake, Christopher C. Gibbs, and his wife, Ania Gibbs, offered brief remarks on their commitment to supporting students in their academic endeavors. They invited fellow donors to join them in “committing to doing even more to further build our endowment.”

Director of Architecture, Dr. Stephanie Z. Pilat, honored Jill Kozlowski (1997-2020), a third-year architecture student and recipient of the 2020 Michael R. and Cara Shimkus Hall Architecture Scholarship who recently passed away.

Dr. Pilat also shared a message from the scholarship donors, Michael and Cara, who said, “Knowing that our small scholarship could help someone like Jill is both humbling and rewarding. This tragic situation has re-ignited our desire to give back and help these students in any way possible.”

Dean Butzer introduced Khoi Hoang, University of Oklahoma Interior Design Class of 2009, to begin the formal celebration of the 2020 scholarship recipients. Mr. Hoang has made a name for himself in the Dallas-Fort Wort Area, where he serves as a senior designer at Gensler. Recently, he completed work on the $350 million American Airlines World Headquarters project.

Mr. Hoang offered congratulatory remarks and reflections from his time as an OU student, while the names of scholarship recipients were honored in a video presentation. His message focused on “embracing the unknown” and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Among Mr. Hoang’s closing tips for embracing the unknown were:

Perfection isn’t realistic, so know when to stop—it’s okay to have a little mess up now and then. I used stay up all night to make sure I’ve applied the perfect amount of glue. No ONE WILL KNOW! GET SOME SLEEP.

First impressions are hard but being genuine isn’t. I’m terrible at first impressions, but know that for the most part, your work has gotten you a seat at the table, now show them your true personality: be you. It’s a lot easier than trying to be the ideal candidate.

Your first job doesn’t have to be your last job.  Set a goal for yourself, if the position steers you too far from your “North Star” ; reassess. It’s a relationship; one should never feel like they have to give up parts of themselves for it to work. 

Work with the wind not against it. Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you hate details but love to build models, build a model that shows the detail. Design isn’t about the best idea, its about communicating the idea best.

Connections can get you to the door, but talent lets you open it. … But know that the cream always rises to the top. Keep your eye on the prize.

Following Mr. Hoang’s address, the scholarship recipients were separated into 15 breakout rooms. Each room was co-hosted by Gibbs College faculty, scholarship donors and professional advisory board members. The rooms offered students an opportunity to ask questions and build relationships with professionals.

After the breakout rooms concluded, Dean Butzer offered closing words of congratulations to Gibbs College students and thanks to the College’s donors.

“When we recruited these students, we asked them to share some of the most important years of their lives with us here at the University of Oklahoma,” said Dean Butzer.

“We made a commitment to go the distance with them, and to set them up for success. It is my sincere hope that, as we enter this unprecedented academic year, we will put more wind in our students’ sails than ever before, to stoke their fires of curiosity, and to nurture their commitments to life-long service and learning.”

Special thanks to Gibbs College staff member Camille Germany for coordinating the festivities!

Get involved:

  • Students: The University of Oklahoma CASH Scholarship application portal opens on October 15, 2020. Students who wish to be considered for scholarships to be awarded in Fall 2021 should apply by February 1, 2021. Click here to apply.
  • Donors: Help us make next year another record-breaking year! To make a donation to a Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture scholarship fund, click here to get started.

To view the full video presentation of 2020 Gibbs College Scholarship recipients, click play below (no sound):