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People of ORU: Who is Brandon Richards?

The people of ORU: Everyone has a story and few get to tell theirs. Join the Oracle this year for the stories of the amazing and unknown.

The sun shines through the window throwing shimmery light through the coffee shop. The white walls are offset by the deep wooden tables and a man in glasses strolls in. His khaki joggers cover blue socks stuffed into shoes and his slightly rumpled button-up covers a grey T-shirt. His glasses are tortoise shell, and he clenches his wallet and the two iPhones in his hands.

He pulls out a chair. It scrapes loudly on the cement floor.

The man who sits across the table, sipping a chai latte is eloquent yet sloppy. A man strangely reminiscent of Albert Einstein in appearance; slightly unkempt with wild hair and a smile that says something more is happening behind his skull. He’s an Eagle Scout, President of the Accounting Society, a resident of MOG, Senate Floor Leader of Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature (OIL), a senior, the youngest of three and an actor. A jack of all trades, master of none.

“Who is Brandon Richards?” He ponders. “That’s a great question, isn’t it? I don’t know if I can answer it entirely. I’ve lived by a motto I learned from Boy Scouts… a wilderness pledge,” he continues. “It essentially says to leave a place better than you found it. I’ve altered it a little bit to make it a little bit more practical, but not everything you do in life is leaving a place better than you found it, but I do say this; ‘when you’re gone, make sure they miss you.’”

Who is Brandon Richards?

Inside the Oklahoma State Capitol, Brandon Richards is beaming. His pale blue shirt contrasts his crooked yellow bow tie slowly becoming untied.

“Make them remember you,” he says during his nightly pep talks to his teammates.

And he is memorable: a small ball of energy working the chamber floor, charming people with his quirky smile and verbose body language; making them smile, feel special.

“I love the idea of challenging ideas and I’m a fan of dialectics; the idea of debating without emotion. I like the idea of debating for the attainment of better knowledge of a situation,” he says. “OIL has been full of that for me.”

Who is Brandon Richards?

The stage blooms to life, and he is not nervous even though his hands are shaking and his heart feels ready to beat out of his chest. His right foot is hurting as he prepares to go on stage. His character, an Italian named Vinnie Bavasi is a lively and energetic, the comedic relief of “Proposals.”

“And I do remember right before I went on thinking: ‘this is the start of something new,’” he says. “I really, really fell in love with theater. And I can’t help but think they’ve left me better than I’ve left them.”

Since then, he’s performed in three main-stage productions at ORU and lent his talents to film. His talents and business could lead him to start a production company, but he’s still not sure.

Who is Brandon Richards?

Back in the coffee shop, he mentions poetry. He asks about Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and eagerly leans in, as if he’s preparing to tell an exciting secret. It’s infamously overused at graduations, he claims, and always misquoted.

“They always say, ‘I took the road less traveled by and it made all the difference.’ Like they made some sort of decision in their life, like going to college. But the Robert Frost poem is exactly the opposite of that,” he says. His eyes are alive now, intent on divulging truth.

“There’s a part in the poem where the character pauses and says, ‘I… I took the road less traveled by and that made all the difference.’ And, looking back, the roads had really been one and the same. The two paths that he had to choose between when he was walking in these woods were equally worn, but he had to decide on one. He couldn’t stay put. And most of us decide to stay put. We don’t make a decision because we don’t want to make the wrong one.”

Who is Brandon Richards?

He is the man sitting across the table full of energy, but his voice is somehow soft and thoughtful. His sips of coffee are deliberate and thoughtful.

He is the man who lived out of his car this summer. Not because he had to, but because he had the opportunity to.

He is the man who ran for SA Vice President and lost but still gave himself to serving his university, sans the title.

He is the man who holds the timeless value of leaving a place better than he found it. Archaic, maybe, but admired nonetheless.

Who is Brandon Richards?


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