Larry Oaks is the executive director of the Texas Historical Commission, a position he has held since 1999. Oaks also serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer and oversees the state historic preservation review process.
Oaks previously was executive director of the Alabama Historical Commission, where he supervised restoration of the Alabama State Capitol and developed the first statewide Ethnic Heritage Council in the nation. As executive director, Oaks supervised the operation of 18 historic and prehistoric sites in addition to developing the Alabama Heritage Preservation Trust Fund.
Oaks was appointed to a four-year term on the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 1987. He has also served as president of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and served as a member of that organization. Oaks received the National Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Jefferson Davis Medal from the Daughters of the Confederacy for his dedication to preserving America’s historic resources.
During his tenure with the Texas Historical Commission, the agency has received $207 million in state funds to restore many of Texas’ historic county courthouses and $5.5 million in state and private monies for the conservation of the French explorer La Salle’s ship the Belle which sank off the Texas Gulf Coast in 1686. The agency also oversees a highly successful heritage tourism program that partners with local communities and other state agencies to increase tourism and strengthen local economies.
Oaks earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in American studies and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Alabama. While attending the University, he founded and remained active in the Tuscaloosa Fine Arts Council and was recognized by the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and the Jasons Society for his efforts. He also received credit for graduate coursework at Georgetown University and the University of Virginia.
He and his wife Susan reside in Jonestown. They have one son, Brian, who is an attorney with the law firm of Baker & Botts. Brian and his wife Jenni live in Dallas with their twin toddlers.