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2005 Kate Barnard Award Recipient
Senator Penny Williams
Born in New York, New York in 1937 to Peter and Polly Baldwin, Senator Williams has been an important presence in Oklahoma. She was elected to the 38th Legislature in 1981, and was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1981 to 1988. She was elected to the Oklahoma Senate in the 42nd Legislature, and was a member of the Senate from 1989 to 2004.
During her time in the legislature, Senator Williams authored important bills on education, including the historic education reform legislation, House Bill 1017. She also authored the bill creating the Oklahoma Council for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). She also authored the Art in Public Places Act, and was instrumental in the commission and placement of artwork throughout the Capitol building.
Senator Williams is active in many civic and community organizations. Among many awards and honours, she received the Constitution Award from Rogers State University in 2004. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma foundation for Excellence, the University of Tulsa Board of Visitors, the St. Gregory's College Board of Trustees, and the Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations. She is a member of the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals.
Senator Williams attended Sarah Lawrence College from 1955 to 1956, the University of Teheran from 1965 to 1967, and the University of Tulsa from 1968 to 1976. Her three children are Joseph Hill Jr., Peter Baldwin, and James Chesnut.