SHAWNEE, OK, USA - Did you know?
Robert S. Kerr, "The Uncrowned King of the Senate" - Environmentalist & Statesman
At the close of the 1911-12 school year, nine students received degrees.
Remarkably, included in the first student body were three men who later served as United States Senators: Josh Lee and Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma and Huey P. Long of Louisiana.
Robert S. Kerr (1896 - 1963) was Oklahoma’s first native-born governor, a wealthy oilman, and eventually a powerful U.S. senator, elected three times.
Kerr was mentioned as a running mate for Roosevelt in 1944 and ran for President himself in 1952. He was a strong ally of his good friend, Lyndon Johnson and later John F. Kennedy.
Senator Kerr believed strongly in the promise of Oklahoma, and that it was possible to heal her land and conserve her natural resources.
As Governor, Kerr along with US Rep Carl Albert, was instrumental in construction of reservoirs to store and tame Oklahoma's water ways.
In 1971, Richard Nixon attended the opening of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System which runs from the Tulsa area to the Mississippi River and finally the Gulf of Mexico, the farthest inland seaport at the time and an engineering marvel.
After he died suddenly in 1963, his wife and children established a private non-profit foundation in his name to engage in scientific, educational, and charitable activities.
If you see surface water in Oklahoma, it is the result of the plans initiated by Kerr and his vision of water and natural resource management in Oklahoma. His legacy is all around us.