May 11, 2009

RSU Online Graduate Travels to Claremore from New York

East Coast resident Livingstone Clarke was trying to tackle a lot at once, balancing a new job and a new baby while going back to school and earning his degree. Long hours at work, coupled with lots of late nights taking care of a newborn resulted in Clarke falling asleep during class.

He realized the situation was not working and something would have to change. Clarke began researching online degree programs and found Rogers State University's online program.

"RSU was a lifesaver; I could get through my work on my time," he said. "When I started off eight years ago there were not many online universities and I found RSU Online. The university offered the ideal degree that I was looking for," he said.

When Clarke, a 33-year-old New York native, first started his program he was working as a technician on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. A few years and a few promotions later he now manages the maintenance of the trading floor's information technology.

Saturday afternoon Clarke donned his cap and gown and with his wife and son watching, earned his bachelor's degree in applied technology.

Clarke joined nearly 400 graduates Saturday during the university's 97th commencement ceremony held at the Claremore Expo.

"For me, especially in this job market, having this degree will definitely help me maintain my position and maybe take another leap forward," Clarke said.

This weekend's trip to Oklahoma was not Clarke's first. He traveled here last month to complete a project for his degree. Clarke now lives in Pennsylvania and commutes into Manhattan for work each day.

Traveling to Green Country to finish his project in person was not required, but Clarke wanted a chance to meet his professors and classmates in person.

"It is a very nice campus and it was very cool to see where I have been attending," he said.

Dr. Roy Gardner, RSU associate professor and head of the department of applied technology, said he was happy to meet Clarke last month after working with him online for the past few years.

"This is a really great accomplishment for him, especially while juggling work and family," Gardner said.

RSU is a national leader and pioneer in distance learning and was the first public university in Oklahoma to offer bachelor's and associate degrees entirely online. Since the program began in 1992, students from across Oklahoma – and around the world – have completed classes and degrees through the nationally recognized RSU Online program. Through RSU Online, students can complete all requirements for three bachelor's degrees and four associate degrees.

More information about RSU Online is available by calling (918) 343-7726 or visiting