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Greg Kubiak

Greg Kubiak

Originally published in Impact Magazine

Life-changing lessons become student scholarships through Greg Kubiak's planned gift.

Greg Kubiak worked for some of America's most influential people and institutions, but none shaped his life more than those he encountered as a University of Oklahoma student. That influence is now reflected in a planned gift to the OU Foundation.

"I'd always hoped to be able to leave something to the OU programs that meant the most to me," said Kubiak, a former U.S. Senate legislative director, author and chief public affairs officer for the Southeastern Universities Research Administration.

The 1983 alumnus pledged $2 million to be divided equally between OU President's Leadership Class scholarship funds named for the late, legendary university administrators David A. Burr and Anona Adair and the OU LGBTQ Alumni Society, which Kubiak helped establish.

"I hope that anyone who wants to have a wonderful OU experience can through these scholarships," he said, adding that the OU President's Associates also will receive support from ongoing mineral royalties.

A native of Spencer, Okla., Kubiak remembers the moment his life changed. The shy freshman had been recruited to the PLC-one of OU's most prestigious student organizations -and was listening to a presentation by its founder, David A. Burr.

"David said, 'If any of you want to visit more in between classes, stop by,' " Kubiak said. "Well, I took him up on that, and it was the beginning of a great mentorship and friendship."

He became a student assistant to Burr, then vice president of University Affairs, former dean of students and an intricate part of the OU fabric. "David Burr was one of the most impactful mentors of my life," Kubiak said.

The political science major also joined student government and was elected president of the OU Student Association, or UOSA, his senior year. "That was an amazing, wonderful experience, as well," Kubiak said. Through UOSA, he worked closely with Anona Adair, associate vice president of OU Student Affairs and later the university's first woman vice president.

"We developed a great friendship and stayed friends all the way to the end of her life," he said.

Kubiak went to work at the U.S. Capitol soon after graduating and rose to chief legislative director, addressing such issues as campaign finance reform. His knowledge became the book, The Gilded Dome: The U.S. Senate and Congressional Finance Reform, published by the OU Press.

Kubiak maintained close ties to OU, traveling to football games and PLC reunions. "I know how impactful the PLC was for me, not only in introducing me to leaders and examples of leadership, but in meeting students who are my friends to this day," he said.

Out of such OU connections came the LGBTQ Alumni Society, which Kubiak helped develop in 2013 with alumnus and fellow former UOSA president Joseph Sangirardi.

The alumni society established a fund in 2016 to support scholarships for LGBTQ students, and hundreds of donors stepped forward with more than $100,000 in gifts. The society has awarded $30,000 in scholarships during the past six years.

"I hope that the recipients can continue to grow and thrive and be advocates for positive change in their lives and society," Kubiak said.

He recalled that OU faced-and lost-a protracted legal battle against the Gay Activist Alliance when the student organization was refused UOSA funding. Coincidentally, an appropriation was finally approved by the OU administration during Kubiak's 1983 tenure as UOSA president.

"It's been quite a trajectory for OU," he said, "and I'm glad to have played a part in it."