History of Rogers State University
A History of Rogers State University
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
As a condition
established by the Oklahoma Legislature, the citizens of Claremore - led by A.
L. Kates, editor of the Claremore Progress
$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
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
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.
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.
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
To find out more about the buildings on campus, see University Facilities on the
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’s degree
programs for area residents.
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.
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.
Legislature granted permission for Rogers State University to create and seek
accreditation for its own four-year bachelor’s 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
In August 2000,
the NCA Commission on Institutions of Higher Education formally granted RSU accreditation as a four-year university.
Today and into
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
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
Administration, Liberal Arts, Social Science - History and Political Science,
and Social Science - Psychology and Sociology.
offers high-quality associate’s 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
the first public university in Oklahoma to offer bachelor’s degrees entirely via
the Internet. Students can earn bachelor’s 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’s degrees entirely via the Internet, including applied technology,
business administration, computer science, and liberal arts.
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
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
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.)
RSU offers cooperative
educational agreements with several technology centers across Oklahoma,
including Tulsa Technology Centers, Northeast Technology Centers, and Central
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.