Luke & Becky Corbett

Loyal Contributors to the United Way of Central Oklahoma

A Shared Belief in Strong Family and Community Values

When Luke Corbett and his wife, Becky, arrived in 1985, they discovered Oklahoma was a lot like their home state of Georgia.

“Oklahomans believe in God, country and family. They believe in helping people and they do it all the time,” Corbett said. “That’s the way they are  in Georgia.”

So, setting down roots in Oklahoma City was no problem for Corbett, who served many years as Kerr-McGee’s chairman and chief executive officer. At the time he arrived, he was a veteran geophysicist with 16 years in the oil industry, and he felt like he had found a home with a great company and a strong community accustomed to supporting one another.

After settling into his new job and his new home, it didn’t take long for Corbett to discover the United Way of Central Oklahoma. Kerr McGee was involved in the nonprofit’s annual workplace campaign, so Corbett joined in, and he’s been a loyal contributor ever since.

But he didn’t stop there. Corbett has been a volunteer within the organization for many years, currently serving as a trustee. His past service includes a term as board chairman, and he also served as chairman of the United Way’s annual campaign in 2004.

Perhaps the most tangible contributions Corbett made to the community and the United Way was through his leadership in securing the organization’s headquarters.

During his term as board chairman, Corbett focused on finding a building that could house the organization’s operations with enough room for future growth, and as a result of his work, the United Way moved into its new home near downtown in December 2008.

For his dedication to volunteering, leadership, philanthropy and service to the entire community, the United Way recognized Corbett the following year with the Richard H. Clements Lifetime Achievement Award.

Corbett says he has many fond memories from serving the United Way, but the most fun he had was the year he served as campaign chair.

“You really got to know the other business leaders from across the metro, and you got to see the employees, how much they wanted to give back.”

Meanwhile, at Kerr McGee, employees had a tradition of running annual campaigns with elaborate themes and stage shows. The fun always led to generous contributions from employees who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

“It was a time that employees could have fun and poke a little bit at the senior executives, who were always good natured about it,” Corbett said.

Though he’s now retired, Corbett says he’s still involved with the United Way, working behind the scenes in an advisory role, ready to contribute when needed, but he has passed leadership to the next generation.

“I hope the younger generation gets involved and stays involved,” said Corbett, who is a Platinum Donor, recognized for contributing to the United Way for more than 20 years.