In recognition of his outstanding achievements as an exceptional alumnus of the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Donald R. Baucom was selected as a 2010 Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences. This honor is bestowed each year on four graduates of the college who represent respectively the humanities, professional schools, natural sciences and social sciences. Dr. Baucom was recognized during the annual Focus on the College of Arts and Sciences (FOCAS) week, February 22-26, 2010. On Thursday, February 25, he presented a lecture, “Hitting a Bullet with a Bullet: The Emergence of Kinetic Energy Interceptors,” and on Friday, February 26, he was one of the guests of honor at the Kaleidoscope Evening, attended by students, faculty, alumni and friends of the college. Proceeds from the evening provide funds for the college’s scholarship program.
Donald R. Baucom is a 1962 graduate of the USAF Academy, who earned his Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University of Oklahoma in 1976. During twenty-eight years in the Air Force, he served tours as a communications-electronics officer in Spain and Thailand, taught history at the Air Force Academy, taught strategy and history at the Air War College, and served as the editor of the Air University Review, professional journal of the Air Force. In May of 1987, he was detailed to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization in the Pentagon where he established the official history program for President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Upon retirement from the Air Force in 1990, he returned to federal service as the civilian historian for DOD’s missile defense program. His book, The Origins of SDI, was awarded the 1994 Leopold Prize by the Organization of American Historians. He has published numerous articles on military history and the profession of arms and reviewed books for a number of historical and professional military journals. In addition to the Leopold prize, he has received several other awards for his professional writing, including a George Washington Medal presented by Freedom's Foundation at Valley Forge (1986) and an article of the year award (2008) from the Air Force Historical Foundation.
Dr. Baucom retired from the Department of Defense in June 2003 and now lives in El Prado, NM, just north of Taos. His military decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and various campaign and service awards. He has been married for forty-seven years to the former Margaret Rivers. They have three children and six grandchildren.