Gene Stallings to speak at Millican Ethics Symposium

Gene Stallings
Gene Stallings

Legendary football coach Gene Stallings will be the keynote speaker for the sixth-annual J.J. Millican Ethics Symposium at Oklahoma Christian University on Nov. 13.

Stallings will discuss “Leading With Character” as the highlight of OC’s annual Ethics Week, which also includes daily speakers at the university’s chapel/convocation services. Stallings’ address begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaylord University Center. 

“Coach Stallings was a great fit for our symposium because he has led groups with character, honesty and integrity,” said Elaine Kelly, associate professor of accounting and holder of the J.J. Millican chair. “Those are qualities we seek to instill in our business graduates. I felt having a person whose life reflected those traits would be very important for students, faculty and alumni.”

In addition to Stallings’ keynote address, he will make an appearance at WINGS, a nonprofit organization that serves adults with developmental disabilities. WINGS is located next to the OC campus.

Stallings wrote “Another Season - A Coach’s Story of Raising an Exceptional Son,” which chronicles the joys and heartbreaks he and his family faced in raising their late son, John Mark, who had Downs Syndrome. That experience of demonstrating and sharing a father’s love for his son helped shape Stallings into the leader he became. He will sign copies of his book at WINGS from 5 to 6 p.m.

Hosting Stallings at the Ethics Symposium is especially important for Kelly because of her experience raising her own special needs daughter, Denise, who also benefits from WINGS.

“Thirty years ago, my family was encouraged to meet Coach Stallings so we could learn how best to raise our daughter,” Kelly said. “We loved his book, but we had not met before this event. We are so appreciative of the servant heart he has demonstrated in his life and leadership.”

Stallings played college football at Texas A&M University and later served as head coach there. He also was the head coach of the NFL’s St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals and at the University of Alabama. His 1992 Alabama team went 13–0 and won the national championship. Stallings was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2010.

He also has received many humanitarian awards, including the Arthritis Humanitarian Award of Alabama, National Boys Club Alumni of the Year, Dallas Father of the Year, Humanitarian Award of the Lion’s Club of Alabama and Paris Boys Club Wall of Honor.

Stallings and his wife, Ruth Ann, have three grown daughters along with their late son, John Mark. They live in Paris, Texas.

The Ethics Symposium is sponsored by the J.J. Millican Endowment, which was created by Don and Donna Millican to honor Don’s father. Don serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Kaiser-Francis Oil Company and as Oklahoma Christian’s board chair.

The endowment provides academic opportunities to OC students, faculty and the university community through scholarships, programs, OSCPA student memberships and other activities related to the field of accounting and ethics in OC's School of Business Administration.

J.J. Millican was a respected Christian businessman, faithful husband and father, and a Certified Public Accountant. He also was a national partner with Ernst & Young. Previous symposium speakers have included Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins, nationally-known tax expert Susan Hamill, and Jim Gardner, former executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Massey Energy.

In addition to Ethics Week, Oklahoma Christian students participated in the 2012 Ethics Challenge in October. One OC team placed first, and another team placed third. The contest featured 16 teams from 10 universities across the state.

Both Oklahoma Christian teams advanced to the Regional Ethics Bowl on Nov. 17 in San Antonio, with a chance to move on to the National Ethics Bowl in Cincinnati. The Oklahoma Business Ethics Foundation sponsors the Statewide Student Ethics Challenge.