March 2, 2009

RSU to Unveil Pictorial History Book ‘100 Years on the Hill' March 25

A new pictorial history book chronicling the history of Rogers State University and its predecessor institutions titled "100 Years on the Hill" will be available to the public for the first time on Wednesday, March 25 – the university's 100th birthday.

The oversized, hard-cover "coffee table book" was written by John Wooley, who also captured the history of the institution's military era in his recent book "Voices from the Hill: The Story of the Oklahoma Military Academy."

The book will be offered to the public for the special price of $29.95. Wooley will sign copies of the book during the RSU 100th Birthday Celebration at 12 noon on Wednesday, March 25, in the new Student Center on the Claremore. The book also will be available for sale in the RSU Bookstore, located in the Student Center.

The book was designed by Tulsa graphic designer Carl Brune, published by Hawk Publishing and its owner William Bernhardt of Tulsa and funded by the RSU Foundation.

"Very few institutions have a history as rich and varied as Rogers State University," said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. "We are proud and honored to commemorate our 100th anniversary with this book, which features painstaking research, some interesting and heretofore unknown tales by John Wooley and beautiful photos in color, sepia and black and white tones."

In writing the unique story of RSU and its previous incarnations, Wooley drew from a doctoral dissertation by President Rice titled "Eighty Years of University Preparatory Education on College Hill," written in 1992.

The book tells the story of the institution, which was founded as Eastern University Preparatory School in Claremore by an act of the Oklahoma Legislature on March 25, 1909. The school prepared the children of area residents for college. The school closed in 1917 but reopened in 1919 as the Oklahoma Military Academy, one of the nation's most prestigious military institutions. More than 10,000 cadets attended the OMA, 2,500 of its students served in the armed forces during various conflicts and 108 graduates gave their lives in service to their country.

The OMA operated until 1971 when it became Claremore Junior College. The junior college was later renamed Rogers State College, gaining a reputation of academic quality among two-year institutions in the state. The RSU campus in Pryor was established in 1986 and the Bartlesville campus began operation in 1988.

In 1998, the Oklahoma Legislature renamed the institution Rogers State University, assigning it a new mission to gain accreditation at the baccalaureate level. In 2000, RSU became a four-year university, offering bachelor's and associate degrees. Today, RSU has nearly 4,000 students on campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor.

Wooley is the author, co-author or editor of 21 books. A former entertainment writer for the Tulsa World, he has been a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award in both the fiction (2000's "Dark Devil") and nonfiction (2006's "From the Blue Devils to Red Dirt: The Colors of Oklahoma Music") categories. He was also the first journalist to be inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

He is currently working on a book about Oklahoma's movies, titled "Sooner Cinema," for the University of Oklahoma Press, as well as a history of Tulsa's Cain's Ballroom, with co-author Brett Bingham, and well known Oklahoma political figure Mike Turpen. In addition, he's teamed with his filmmaker son Jonathan to work on a feature-length documentary about an Oklahoma-based comic-book collectors club from the 1960s.

To reserve advance copies of the book, contact the RSU Foundation at (918) 343-7773.