The Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race and Justice in Law

Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher forever changed OU. Now, it's our turn.

Let's Continue Dr. Fisher's Legacy

Through a transformational gift of $910,000 from an anonymous donor, alongside the collective efforts of nearly 80 supporters, OU Law has endowed a chair, the highest faculty distinction at OU, to honor Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher’s legacy. The Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race, and Justice in Law will focus on teaching and research in these areas, and will support empowering future OU lawyers who also seek legal reform. To further support this vision, the anonymous donor has pledged to match up to $90,000 for continuing donations to the chair.

Give Now

Who was Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher?

In 1949, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher became the first African American student admitted to OU Law. Her admission to law school, however, was preceded by a three-year legal battle. At the time of her application to OU’s law school in January 1946, Oklahoma schools were segregated, and she was denied admission on racial grounds. With the support of civic leaders and grassroots supporters, Fisher challenged the decision through the court system, ultimately reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously in her favor. Fisher was finally admitted to the OU College of Law on June 18, 1949. Her landmark case laid the groundwork for the elimination of segregation in public education nationwide. After graduating from the OU College of Law in 1951, Fisher practiced law in Chickasha and later joined the faculty at Langston University. In 1991, OU awarded her an honorary doctorate of humane letters, and the following year, she was appointed to the OU Board of Regents – the very group that once rejected her. Fisher died Oct. 18, 1995.

“Dr. Fisher was an everyday person who had the courage, the spirit, the smarts and the love to do superhuman things. She empowers each and every one of us by showing us what standing up and speaking up can do. She believed in herself, and paradoxically in so doing, she revealed her belief in us. She is an inspiration come to life.” - OU Law Interim Dean Katheleen Guzman

The Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race and Justice in Law

The Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race, and Justice in Law was created to honor Dr. Fisher’s enduring impact on OU Law and civil rights and to continue her legacy by empowering future lawyers to carry forward the work she began. The Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair is one of the highest faculty distinctions at OU, and will ensure that the study of civil rights, race and justice is an integral part of the OU College of Law into perpetuity.

“By establishing a fund in her honor, it means that OU and the community can protect her legacy and further her mission of instilling civil rights and civil discourse – whether funded by the many or by the few. A fund in her honor ensures that she lives on.” - Bruce Fisher

This faculty position will be awarded to a national expert and legal scholar in the study of civil rights, race and justice, and promotion of equal rights. The professor will teach and conduct research primarily in the areas of civil rights’ law, election laws, race and the law, anti-discrimination law, equal rights and diversity in the law, and critical race theory.

In order to help defray the costs and expenses of practical skills development to teach, mentor and lead students, continuing donations to the Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair will be sought to further support this vision, and will be matched up to $90,000 by an anonymous donor.

OU Law Interim Dean Katheleen Guzman and Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher’s children, Bruce Fisher and Charlene Factory, stand with a portrait of Dr. Fisher that adorns Andrew M. Coats Hall. In a question-and-answer discussion in the Bell Courtroom, Bruce and Charlene shared memories of their mother and urged students to continue her legacy. The discussion was part of a week-long celebration across the university to honor Dr. Fisher and other civil rights leaders.


What can you do?

Donate today to the Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race, and Justice in Law. Gifts of any amount are encouraged.

Click here to make your donation online.

For more information, click here or contact (405) 325-9175 or or

Thank you for your interest in applying to OU Law

Please select your program of interest to learn more about the application process.

J.D. ProgramM.L.S. ProgramLL.M. ProgramLegal Assistant Education Not sure? Learn more about admissions at OU Law