Nolan family returns
to make a difference at OU

Winter 2019

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Justin (left), Lisa and Boyd Nelson visit the construction site of the future Gallogly Hall, where a lab will be named in honor of their family’s support.

Justin (left), Lisa and Boyd Nelson visit the construction site of the future Gallogly Hall, where a lab will be named in honor of their family’s support.

After a certain age, it’s not uncommon for people to look back on their lives with a sense of regret over opportunities lost or paths not chosen – should have earned that degree, should have spent more time with the kids, should have taken that job.

Boyd Nolan looks back and wishes he would have come home sooner. The University of Oklahoma alumnus completed his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1985 and his Masters of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1992. Then he disconnected from OU, focusing time and energy on his family in Norman and his career at Boeing.

He sees a 20-year gap when he was not involved at the university, and he sees the gap as time that he could have been making a difference. Now, the former Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band member is back home at OU. This time, he and his wife, Lisa, plan to stay involved for many years to come.

Boyd returned several years ago to serve on the Gallogly College of Engineering’s Computer Science Advisory Board. He and Lisa joined the college’s Felgar Society and began supporting OU with their financial gifts, contributing $25,000 to benefit faculty, staff and students in ways that made the college stronger.

“We always want to live a generous life and to be giving with our money and our time, but we want to know where our contributions go. The Felgar Society has been a great avenue for that,” said Boyd, who now is the director of technical development for Tyler Technologies.

The Nolans’ Felgar Society pledge ended, and they began a new pledge in 2018. But this time, they involved their son, Justin, an OU graduate who has followed in his father’s footsteps, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s in mechanical engineering, in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Justin was a member of the OU cheer squad for five years before beginning his career at Boeing.

Together, the Nolans recently made a $25,000 gift to the OU Foundation to support the construction of Gallogly Hall, establishing a family legacy that Justin can carry forward. A lab on the building’s third floor will be dedicated to the Nolans in recognition of their gift.

“Gallogly Hall is an important project,” Boyd said. “It’s not just another building. It establishes a new field of study in biomedical engineering, which is an emerging area in engineering.”

Justin said the gift designation to Gallogly Hall has personal meaning to him. He was intrigued by the future of biomedical engineering during his OU undergraduate honors thesis work, but the field was still in its nascent stages. Justin moved forward with his mechanical engineering major.

If Gallogly Hall had been built when he was at OU, Justin says his academic career may have gone a different direction. He considers his family’s contribution an investment that will enrich future opportunities for OU students.

Gallogly College of Engineering Dean Tom Landers called the Nolans “Sooner role models for all of us. Philanthropy is very important to the Nolan family, and, naturally, Justin is following the family tradition.

“Their impact goes beyond financial investments in the Felgar Society and Gallogly Hall,” said Landers, who also serves as OU’s AT&T Chair and Professor. “We can always count on Boyd’s leadership on the Computer Science Advisory Board and in many other ways throughout the year.

“The Nolan family truly represents the Sooner legacy as proud engineers, alumni and donors.”