Norma and Steve Turnbo - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • Norma and Steve Turnbo Endowed Excellence Fund for the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences | Est. 2016
brick engraved with name Norma and Steve Turnbo

Norma and Steve Turnbo

When Steven W. “Steve” Turnbo (BA ’67, English) supported an organization, he gave it his all, and that’s what he did for his alma mater, The University of Tulsa. Steve donated his time and leadership talents in the boardroom as a member of the TU Board of Trustees (1988-2015), in the classroom as an adjunct professor in the Department of Media Studies, and at the helm of some of TU’s most important support organizations, including the TU Alumni Association, the Golden Hurricane Club, and the TU Letterwinner’s Association. Mr. Turnbo was a TU Trustee Emeritus when he passed away in November of 2023.

Steve and his wife, Norma, also invested their financial resources in TU programs, including the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Media Studies, the Golden Hurricane Club, TU Athletics, the TU Alumni Association, scholarship funds, the Nimrod International Journal, KWGS, and the TU Annual Fund. This generous partnership brought them recognition as members of the Circle Society, the President’s Council, and the Chapman Legacy Society.

Steve Turnbo credited part of his career success to his experiences at The University of Tulsa, where he enjoyed quality academics and extracurricular activities. He was a baseball letterman, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and he took his first post-graduation job at TU as the university’s Sports Information Director from 1967-1970.

Steve Turnbo later used his knowledge in the field of communications and his strong business skills to establish one of Oklahoma’s premier public relations firms, known as Schnake Turnbo Frank, Inc., of which Mr. Turnbo remained Chairman Emeritus until his death.

Norma Turnbo was a community leader who was known for her compassion and generosity. She was active in her church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and in many community organizations, including Iron Gate, the Tulsa Board of Adjustment, the Tulsa Preservation Commission, and the Assistance League. She also was skilled in several crafts, including knitting, needlepoint, and jewelry making. She passed away in January of 2022.

To recognize Steve Turnbo’s extraordinary career achievements and his loyalty to The University of Tulsa, he was named a TU Distinguished Alumnus in 2001, and he was later inducted into the university’s Communication Hall of Fame and the Collins College of Business Hall of Fame. The Public Relations Society of America also recognized his success in the field by naming him to its College of Fellows and by honoring him with the Paul M. Lund Public Service Award.

In 2016, Steve and Norma Turnbo fortified their commitment to academic excellence at The University of Tulsa by creating an endowment fund, which is known as The Norma and Steve Turnbo Endowed Excellence Fund for the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences. This endowment will generate perpetual supplemental funding for the college, to be used at the discretion of the dean, with a portion supporting the Department of Media Studies (formerly the Department of Communication) each year.

In 2018, the couple supported the renovation of a classroom in Oliphant Hall, which is home to the Department of Media Studies. This classroom has been named in honor of Steve in recognition of his impressive TU legacy. The Steve Turnbo Classroom in Oliphant Hall had special meaning to Mr. Turnbo because he taught his very first class as an adjunct professor in this room.

The University of Tulsa remains deeply grateful to Steve and Norma Turnbo for their many gifts of time and financial assistance, including their namesake endowment. The Norma and Steve Turnbo Endowed Excellence Fund for the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences will foster academic excellence in TU’s arts and sciences programs while also standing as a proud testament to the couple’s loyal commitment to TU.