OKLAHOMA CITY – OU Law celebrated the graduation of 186 juris doctorate and 14 master of laws students on Saturday, May 11th at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall.
Serving as the keynote speaker for the convocation was 1985 OU Law alumnus Jerry Stritzke, current President and Chief Operating Officer of Coach, Inc. Following graduation from OU Law, Stritzke practiced law with Best, Sharp, Sheridan and Stritzke earning partnership status at only 28 years old. He opened Stritzke Law Office in 1992, and soon thereafter began working with the retail consulting firm, Webb and Shirley. In 1999, Stritzke was hired by Limited Brands and in less than a year, he was asked to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of MAST Industries, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers, importers, and distributors of apparel. From 1999 through August 2007, Stritzke held several executive positions with Limited Brands Inc., ultimately serving as the Chief Operating Officer and co-leader of Victoria’s Secret, including Victoria’s Secret Stores, Victoria’s Secret Direct, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Pink. In 2008, Stritzke joined Coach and serves as the retail conglomerate’s President and Chief Operating Officer.
In his address, Stritzke shared his experiences, including how his time at OU Law helped shape his career. Similarly, he expressed how valuable the OU Law degree will be to the graduates, regardless of their specific career path. “The analytical skills and ability to understand context I learned while at OU Law governed me throughout my professional life and directly contributed to my successes.” Stritzke offered that this graduating OU Law class had future legislators, governors, trial lawyers, and business executives sitting in their midst, and he urged the OU law graduates to work diligently to accomplish their dreams and to seek to touch the lives of others in a significant and meaningful way. “I want to leave you all with an important challenge,” Stritzke said, “Go out and change the world.
“It was a tremendous honor to have Mr. Stritzke as our featured Convocation speaker,” said OU Law Dean Joe Harroz. “His incredible career progression, leadership and vision in the retail industry are nothing short of remarkable. Jerry is a true testament to the value of the OU Law degree not only in the practice of law, but also in the corporate world.”
About the University of Oklahoma College of Law
Founded in 1909, the University of Oklahoma College of Law is Oklahoma’s premier law school and the highest ranked law school in the state by US News & World Report. OU Law is also nationally recognized as “Best Value” law school (top 15) and “Best Law School” (top 15 percent) by National Jurist magazine. OU Law has small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community, accomplished faculty with international expertise and a state-of-the-art facility featuring study rooms, court rooms and classrooms equipped with the latest technology. As Oklahoma’s only public law school, OU Law is the academic home of more than 500 students enrolled in the juris doctor program, the John B. Turner Master of Laws program, the master of legal studies program, and various dual degree programs.
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What led you to OU Law? I have wanted to go to law school since I was a teenager. I was active in speech contests and enjoyed making oral presentations. When I was in high school, I would go downtown and watch some of the trials at the courthouse, so, I got acquainted with the courtroom rather early. I obtained a Navy scholarship to go to OU. I was a regular Navy midshipman then I served three years in the far east before coming back to law school. I wanted to attend law school and came back to OU.
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What led you to OU Law? OU Law has been part of my family since the 1920s. My great uncle was Dr. Maurice Merrill, a 1922 graduate of OU Law who then earned a Doctorate in Law from Harvard University in 1925. Merrill taught at OU Law for 30 years, published numerous seminal works in oil and gas law, constitutional law, administrative law and the law of Notice. While still in his twenties, Merrill published the seminal treatise Implied Covenants in Oil and Gas Law, which has been a cornerstone of my cases. In law school, I lived with Uncle Maurice and marveled at his longhand scrawl which was literally final copy in its first draft form. In my mind, he will always be ten times the lawyer that I ever became.