History

The USAO Alumni Association was born on the afternoon of May 18, 1917, in the college library, then located on the third floor of the Administration Building, according to university archives. Six of the seven graduates of the school were present. Alumni dues were set at 50 cents per year.

While the school's preparatory branch had graduated five students in 1912, the first official college graduate from OCW was Miss Ruby Canning in 1915, who crossed the Main Auditorium stage to receive her degree in communication. Canning died in 1918. Her diploma, the very first one granted by this institution, is hanging today in the office of the President. A dormitory constructed in 1935 bears her name.

Miss Emma Estill was the second graduate. She served the association as its first president. Belle Wylie was temporary chairperson and secretary-treasurer at the first meeting. She was a 1917 graduate, along with Nell Dashner and Lillian Penquite. Susie Frey and Gladys Kimbro Knox were 1916 graduates.

Of the seven original members of the association, Gladys Kimbro Knox lived the longest. She came from her home in Ruidoso, N.M., for the 1986 alumni homecoming, her 70th anniversary reunion.

The purpose of the association was outlined in the second meeting of the association in 1918 by President Estill. "She suggested that we make it our aim to get new pupils for the college and to uphold it at all times, but most of all, to show by results in our own lives the real worth of the Oklahoma College for Women," Wylie wrote.