The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 12, 2011

Harold Hamm selected to Oklahoma Hall of Fame

ENID — Continental Resources Chairman and CEO Harold Hamm has been selected for induction into the 2011 class of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, billed as “the highest honor bestowed upon a citizen from the state of Oklahoma.”

University of Oklahoma president David Boren will present Hamm for induction into the Hall of Fame later this week at a ceremony in Oklahoma City.

Boren himself is a 1988 inductee into the Hall of Fame, which is a program of the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum.

In a prepared statement, Boren said the former Enid resident “is a rare combination of intellectual brilliance and heartfelt generosity.”  

“His rise from humble beginnings to national leadership in the energy industry is truly an American story defined by vision, creativity and hard work,” Boren said.  

Boren cited Hamm’s philanthropic efforts as good cause to present Hamm to the Hall of Fame. The Harold and Sue Ann Hamm Foundation recently donated $30 million for the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center, located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

“All along the way he has never forgotten to reach out and help others in need, including his recent gifts, which made possible a new center to help those with diabetes,” Boren said.

In return, Hamm said during an interview this week he’s honored to be presented for the honor by Boren.

“He’s someone I’ve always looked up to,” Hamm said of Boren. “He’s a great American and a great Oklahoman, and having him present means a lot.”

Hamm, who was born the youngest of 13 children to share-crop farmers in 1945, said he never envisioned being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

“I’m shocked to receive this honor,” Hamm said. “It’s a great honor, and it’s not anything I ever thought I would receive ... it’s really beyond my dreams.”

He said he’s pleased to receive the honor now, while two of his siblings, an older brother and an older sister, still are living.

“The timeliness of this right now is tremendous,” Hamm said. “For this honor to come about right now while I still have some siblings alive, and for them to share this with me means everything. I really appreciate the foundation doing this now while we can all celebrate this together.”

Hamm has come a long way on the road from his Enid High School graduation to commanding a company that operates in 20 states and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

After high school, Hamm got his start in the oil business working for an oilfield service contractor and Champlin Petroleum Co., before starting his own one-truck oilfield service business in Ringwood.

In 1967, Hamm incorporated Shelly Dean Oil Co., which later would become Continental Resources.

Hamm said his path to success has required both hard work and the good fortune of “being at the right place at the right time.”

“Back then it was one day at a time, it was one minute at a time, almost. It was a very meager beginning and we’ve been very fortunate,” Hamm said. “It’s just amazing I’ve come this far. So many times there were critical junctures in my life where if I hadn’t been there at that time and place I would have missed a lot of great opportunities.”

He said young entrepreneurs face more challenges today than he did coming up, but there still is room for someone with energy, hard work and a little good fortune to capture big success.

“There are a lot more regulations and compliance issues today that do hamper business and slow progress, but I still see young entrepreneurs that come up with different ideas and make it big overnight,” Hamm said. “It doesn’t stop, it’s only really limited by what people can do applying their own ingenuity ... so, yes, you can do it again.”

Hamm said the next big opportunity for Continental Resources and many entrepreneurs lies beneath North Dakota and Montana in the lucrative Bakken Shale formation.

“There’s going to be so many opportunities up there that are going to be real company makers,” Hamm said. “It will be the opportunity that launches a lot of people up there into other great opportunities.”

Hamm will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, along with six other nominees in the 2011 class, during a banquet and ceremony at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City Thursday evening.

This year’s other honorees are: Tommy Franks, Wynnewood; Marques Haynes, Sand Springs; Cathy Keating, Tulsa; Steve Malcolm, Tulsa; Elizabeth Warren, Oklahoma City; and Roger Miller, Erick, who will be inducted posthumously.

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