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August 21, 2013

Stonecipher reflects on life, success as ECU prepares grand opening of new business center

Ada —

Whether discussing his humble origins as the son of Tupelo sharecroppers or his rise to prominence as one of Oklahoma’s most successful entrepreneurs, Harland C. Stonecipher speaks with the calmness and warmth of an old friend, putting visitors at ease. 
The penthouse apartment he shares with his wife, Shirley, on the top floor of the LegalShield building in Ada, symbolizes his achievement, but Stonecipher himself might as easily be talking over coffee at a downtown cafe.
“The key to success,” he said Monday, “is helping other people. I felt that was right for a long time, but only in the last few years have Shirley and I come to really appreciate that.”
 
Making his mark
Stonecipher is the founder of Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc., now LegalShield, based in Ada. Pre-Paid was the pioneering company in the U.S. prepaid legal service industry.
Created more than 40 years ago, Pre-Paid directly influenced the delivery of legal services to Americans and has provided a source of income for thousands of people. Stonecipher has won numerous awards for his leadership, including being named Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO in 2010. He has been director of the Oklahoma and the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and is still involved in numerous civic and philanthropic activities.
A graduate of East Central University, Stonecipher contributed $2 million toward the construction of the new Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business, which is housed in the Chickasaw Business & Conference Center. He and Shirley will celebrate not only the center’s grand opening Thursday, but their 55th wedding anniversary as well.
“I think some of the folks here found out our anniversary was on the 22nd,” Stonecipher said, laughing. “It’s pretty exciting to celebrate both events at the same time.”
He said the center itself is dedicated to entrepreneurialism. 

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