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Cover of Confluence, liberal studies journal
A New Name and Look for Liberal Studies Journal
July 10, 2006

CLS Graduate Earns Perfect 4.0

Patty Frakes with David Boren after earning 4.0

There, in a room with 11 other students all much younger, Patty Frakes was nervous. However her case of nerves was understandable, for this was not just any room, but the office of David L. Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma. One of only 12 students at the university to receive the 4.0 medal in December, Frakes was the only student from the College of Liberal Studies.

After showing the group various items of historical significance, including OU’s first library – a bookcase filled with around 50 volumes – an “extremely gracious” President Boren placed the medals, representing a perfect academic record, on each recipient and congratulated them.

“There I sat with all of those ‘youngsters,’” Frakes said. “They were all just starting their lives and here I was just proud to be there.”

The 4.0 medal, Frakes said, represents the completion of a process. “I went back to school with the idea that I would do my best work and that I would succeed. I had so much help along the way and being able to achieve a 4.0 was the culmination of hard work, determination, and incredible support from my teachers, my classmates, and my family. When I look at [the medal], I think ‘I did it!’”

From August 2004 through December 2005, Frakes’ days were filled with lunch hours on the computer doing research or working on assignments as an undergraduate in the Bachelor of Liberal Studies program. Dinners consisted of cheese and crackers from the bookstore on the way to class. While in school, Frakes changed jobs, leaving a position she had held for 30 years, to join the staff of Judge Arlene Johnson at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, where she continues to work today.

“I am now a believer in the interdisciplinary approach to learning,” she said. “As I progressed through the coursework, it never ceased to amaze me how the different courses intertwined with one another. It was truly a well-rounded course of study.”

Frakes’ journey toward earning her Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree first began at the college graduation of her youngest child. As she watched her daughter cross the stage and receive her degree from OU’s Price College of Business, Frakes felt a tremendous feeling of relief. “It was always my goal to see that all three of my children earned degrees,” she said.

Later that summer, Frakes turned 50, and an important moment occurred for her. “On my 50th birthday, I had an epiphany,” she recalled. “I had spent my entire adult life focusing on goals for others. It was time to focus on meeting goals for myself. I was determined not to be the only one in my family without an undergraduate degree.”

The following fall, Frakes began pursuing her BLS, choosing on-site classes and the administrative leadership emphasis.

“I am now a believer in the interdisciplinary approach to learning,” she said. “As I progressed through the coursework, it never ceased to amaze me how the different courses intertwined with one another. It was truly a well-rounded course of study.”

Throughout the months of coursework, Frakes said her children and her husband were excited for, and supportive of, her educational goal. Her husband of 33 years took over the kitchen and did virtually all of the cooking. “We managed to have late nights, early mornings and a few lunches together, and we survived with a new appreciation for one another,” she said.

The journey toward attaining her BLS is now over, but Frakes acknowledges, “Life is a journey. I will journey on.”

– Lauren Park  

OU CLS
The College of Liberal Studies is a fully accredited academic unit of the University of Oklahoma, offering 100% online, hybrid and onsite bachelor's and master's degrees for working adults and non-traditional students.

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