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History of Rogers State University

A History of Rogers State University

Rogers State University (RSU) has a long and proud history as a high-quality institution of higher learning serving the educational and professional needs of residents of the Claremore area, northeastern Oklahoma, and, via its distance learning programs, the nation and the world.

For more than 90 years, the institution on College Hill, which overlooks the city of Claremore, has symbolized quality education and service to area residents.

RSU was founded in 1909—just two years after Oklahoma was granted statehood. The University was officially established as Eastern University Preparatory School in Claremore by the Oklahoma Legislature in its second session. The mission of the Eastern University Preparatory School was to prepare the sons and daughters of Native Americans, farmers, and ranchers for entry into the colleges and universities of Oklahoma.

As a condition established by the Oklahoma Legislature, the citizens of Claremore - led by A. L. Kates, editor of the Claremore Progress - raised $3,000 to purchase land for the new institution. A group of citizens known as the “Hill-toppers” located 40 acres of land on College Hill, one mile west of Claremore. With an appropriation of $50,000 by the Oklahoma Legislature, construction began on a building for the new institution, Preparatory Hall. Today, Preparatory Hall, which features a stately white dome and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, remains the focal point of the university.

During the construction of Preparatory Hall from 1909 to 1911, classes of the Eastern University Preparatory School were held in the old Claremont Building in downtown Claremore. Five students graduated at the end of the institution's first academic year. During its second academic year (1910-11), 375 students were enrolled. The institution continued to grow rapidly, adding a library in 1914 and receiving accreditation as a secondary school by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1916. Preparatory Hall housed the entire operation of Eastern University Preparatory School until the institution was closed in 1917 due to the changing educational needs of area residents.

Oklahoma Military Academy

Two years later, the institution was resurrected as the Oklahoma Military Academy in response to the needs of area residents and the United States Armed Forces. By 1923, the Oklahoma Military Academy offered secondary education and two years of college to young men from Oklahoma and across the nation.

The Oklahoma Military Academy has an extensive register of graduates who became great leaders, both in military and civilian life. More than 2,500 Oklahoma Military Academy graduates served in the Armed Forces of the United States during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. More than 100 graduates of the Oklahoma Military Academy gave their lives in service to their country. The Oklahoma Military Academy quickly gained recognition as one of the top military schools in the United States. Among the graduates of the academy is retired Lt. Gen. William E. Potts - the most decorated living soldier in the U.S. Army. A bust of Lt. Gen. Potts is located in the lobby of RSU's Meyer Hall.

Several historic buildings were constructed on College Hill during the days of the Oklahoma Military Academy. Meyer Hall was constructed to serve as the first barracks for the cadets of the academy. The building was named in honor of Maurice Meyer, who was killed in action during World War I. Meyer Hall also appears on the National Register of Historic Places. To find out more about the buildings on campus, see University Facilities on the Claremore Campus.

Becoming a College

In 1971, in response to the growing educational needs of a rapidly developing technological and industrial economy in the Claremore area, the Oklahoma Legislature replaced the Oklahoma Military Academy with the new Claremore Junior College. The mission of the institution was expanded to provide a variety of high-quality two-year associate degree programs for area residents.

Claremore Junior College quickly grew from 477 students in 1971 to more than 3,000 in 1982, when the institution was renamed Rogers State College to better represent the areas it served - Rogers County and the surrounding communities. As Rogers State College, the institution prospered, adding a variety of academic programs, including the state’s only full-power public television station to be located on a university campus, and the Thunderbird Library. The institution was a pioneer in establishing education outreach centers in Northeast Oklahoma. Rogers State College also became a pioneer in the nation in distance education, offering telecourses and independent study options for students.

In 1996, the Oklahoma Legislature approved the merger of Rogers State College and the University Center at Tulsa (UCAT), a consortium of four Oklahoma universities: The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Northeastern State University, and Langston University. The new institution was named Rogers University and continued operation for two years.

A New University is Born

In 1998, the Oklahoma Legislature separated the institutions, creating a branch of Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, and Rogers State University, a new regional university with a main campus in Claremore.

The Oklahoma Legislature granted permission for Rogers State University to create and seek accreditation for its own four-year bachelor degrees, while continuing to offer high-quality two-year associate's degrees.

In April 2000, a team from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) announced it would unanimously recommend that the NCA Commission on Institutions of Higher Education grant RSU accreditation as a four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institution.

In August 2000, the NCA Commission on Institutions of Higher Education formally granted RSU accreditation as a four-year university.

Today and into the Future

Today, RSU is a dynamic, progressive university widely recognized for its high-quality academic programs, distance learning options, and high-technology learning environment.

In fall 2005 a total of 3,880 students were enrolled at RSU's campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville, and Pryor.

RSU is the only public four-year, residential university in the Tulsa metropolitan area, and is located near several major Tulsa high-technology employers and Tulsa International Airport.

RSU offers bachelor's degrees in Applied Technology, Biology - Medical and Molecular, Biology - Environmental Conservation, Business Administration - Accounting, Business Administration - Entrepreneurship, Business Administration - Management, Business Administration - Human Resources Management, Business Information Technology - Telecommunications Foundations, Business Information Technology - Software Development and Multimedia, Business Information Technology - Computer Network Administration, Communications - Corporate Communications, Communications - Radio and Television, Game Development, Justice Administration, Liberal Arts, Social Science - History and Political Science, and Social Science - Psychology and Sociology.

RSU also offers high-quality associate degrees in a wide variety of disciplines to serve the educational needs of area residents. RSU is a national pioneer and leader in distance education, offering courses via the Internet, television, and compressed video to students across the state of Oklahoma, the nations, and the world.

RSU was the first public university in Oklahoma to offer bachelor degrees entirely via the Internet. Students can earn bachelor degrees in applied technology, business information technology, and liberal arts through the innovative RSU Online program, without ever stepping foot on campus. RSU offers four associate degrees entirely via the Internet, including applied technology, business administration, computer science, and liberal arts.

RSU operates a main campus in Claremore and two growng, full-service campuses in Bartlesville and Pryor – the only public four-year institutions to serve those communities. Major expansion projects are planned for each campus.

RSU is growing by leaps and bounds. An $8.3 million state-of-the-art student apartment complex opened on RSU’s campus in Claremore in fall 2001, featuring high-speed Internet connections in every room, private bedrooms, computer laboratories, fully equipped kitchens, a swimming pool, an outdoor sand volleyball court, and meeting facilities.

The new $4.2 million Stratton Taylor Library opened in 2004. The 45,000-square-foot facility features increased shelving areas, reading rooms, meeting rooms, classrooms, and a coffee bar.

RSU also recently renovated several historic buildings on its campus in Claremore, including Markham Hall, Preparatory Hall, and Bushyhead Fieldhouse.

Students can easily transfer to and from RSU. The university has articulation agreements with several two-year institutions, including Tulsa Community College, Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Carl Albert State College in Poteau, and Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

RSU offers cooperative educational agreements with several technology centers across Oklahoma, including Tulsa Technology Centers, Northeast Technology Centers, and Central Technology Centers.

RSU is the only university in Oklahoma to operate its own full-power public television station. RSU-TV broad-casts a variety of telecourses and educational pro-gramming, reaching more than 1.2 million residents across Oklahoma and surrounding states. RSU also operates its own radio station, RSU Radio (KRSC) FM 91.3, which can be heard in Claremore, Tulsa, and across northeast Oklahoma. RSU Radio is the only alternative college radio station on a campus in Oklahoma. Much of the programming is produced and hosted by RSU students.