The History of USAO page 3
NEW PRESIDENT, NEW PROGRAM
Dr. Robert L. Martin became the ninth president of the College and was charged with the development of OCLA. He and his staff developed the imaginative interdisciplinary liberal arts general education curriculum which today remains at the core of the University's academic program. They added courses to serve the interest of the male students and created degree programs to better serve the needs of the men and women now attending the Chickasha institution.
In addition, the school changed from the semester calendar to a program of year-round study with three equal 15-week terms. This allowed for acceleration of study by the more capable student which the college was attempting to attract.
Another new building went up on campus with the dedication of the Alumni Chapel in 1968. This facility was the culmination of a 20-year dream of alumni, former students, and friends who began the chapel fund in the late forties. In 1971 a three-story wing was added to the fine arts building along with a 300-seat amphitheater. This building had been named the Frances Dinsmore Davis Hall in 1957 in honor of the former dean of the fine arts school.
With major restructuring of the school, the inevitable occurred as there were some new "difficulties in harmonizing the teaching forces." With disunity among the faculty, a North Central Association review team placed the school on public probation with instructions to resolve faculty differences or face losing accreditation.
Dr. Bruce G. Carter, long time college president, was appointed interim president in 1972 to resolve the college's problems. He later received a permanent appointment to become the tenth president of the school.
Through his efforts, the college began a major evening college program to make higher education available and accessible to working adults in the community. He also reorganized the community scholarship program to make available 150 new freshman scholarships each fall.
THE CURRENT NAME
During Dr. Carter's second year, the state legislature renamed all four-year colleges in Oklahoma to designate the institutions as universities. The name selected for the school in Chickasha was the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Completing his work of "harmonizing" the teaching forces, Dr. Carter retired on June 30, 1975.
THE ELEVENTH PRESIDENT
Dr. Roy Troutt was appointed as the eleventh president of the institution on July 1, 1975. A decorated veteran of World War II, Troutt served as a bomb disposal expert in the U.S. Navy, which awarded him the Bronze Star for heroism in service.
Among his first duties at USAO was preparation for an accreditation evaluation team visit in 1976. When the North Central review was completed, the team praised the administration and faculty for major improvements in a brief span of time. They voted to continue accreditation of the University.
Later, in 1989, after several North Central evaluations, USAO was granted accreditation with no review for 10 years, which was the longest span granted in recent history and was regarded by observers as praiseworthy of Troutt's steady administration. Another review in 1999 gave USAO continued accreditation without review well into the next century (another 10 years). The evaluating team praised USAO's curriculum, staff and leadership. He retired in 2000 after 25 years as president.
RECENT MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
In 1992, state voters approved a capital improvements bond issue designed to address higher education's building and equipment needs. As a result, USAO began a $4.1 million capital plan in 1993 that would renovate Nash Library; Austin Hall, which houses the physical sciences; Gary Hall, which is home to education; and Davis Hall, which houses the fine arts and social sciences.
In late 1993, the Apache Oil Corporation announced it had struck oil on the College Farm. So productive was this well that it ran freely without pumpers for the first five months and produced more than $100,000 in royalties to the school. To date, it has produced more than $1 million in royalties to USAO.
Since USAO was named a hubsite in 1996 for Oklahoma's expansive OneNet Telecommunications Network, three new interactive television classrooms have been constructed in Nash Library. One of these sites allows USAO to send -- and all three to receive -- college courses. The system allows students in area high schools and colleges to take designed USAO courses, or it gives hundreds of area students opportunities to take graduate courses from other institutions without leaving the USAO campus.
More than 200 parking spaces have been added with four paving projects this decade: a wider campus oval, angled parking along 17th Street, a new lot at 19th and Utah, and a new lot north of Sparks Hall.
A new physical fitness center, offering students new and better equipment in a more user-friendly environment, was opened in 1998. Also that year, the new USAO Art Gallery was opened in Davis Hall in reclaimed office space. One of the larger galleries in Oklahoma, the facility showcases the work of top art educators.
The $7.5 million Student Life Facilities Enhancement Program was launched in 1997. It is making dramatic changes to the Student Center, Sparks Hall and some improvements to Willard Hall.
The Student Center restoration immediately presented challenges to the campus community in 1998, since all four major dining facilities in the Student Center were closed for renovation all year. But all complaints were forgotten when the completely renovated facility opened in November 1998. Its most impressive component is an elegant ballroom with coffered ceilings, inlaid oak floor, and posh wall coverings and drapes. Ceramic tile from Italy covers the first floor lobby. Still, nearly $1 million of this project’s budget was spent on improvements that can’t be seen: new wiring, plumbing, air, and fire safety systems throughout. The most visible change is a sweeping porte cochere that extends the building to the north and allows for weatherproof, drive-up access. The $2.2 million cost of this project was paid entirely with reserve funds.
The Sparks Hall restoration is a two-phase project. Phase I is a three-story, 120-bed addition directly west of the building, which was completed and occupied in 1999. Phase II includes demolition of the southwest wing, added in 1919, and complete reconstruction of the interior of the original 1914 building. Fully redesigned to the standards set by the Student Center interiors, this renovation will increase the facility’s attractiveness, security, fire safety, access and convenience. The project is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2000. Funding for the project has been secured through the sale of bonds, which USAO will repay over a 15-year period with Section 13 funds, a pool of funding shared by state colleges for capital projects.
NEW LEADERSHIP IN THE NEW MILLENIUM
John H. Feaver became the 12th president of USAO on July 1, 2000. Born on March 5, 1943, to Dr. J. Clayton and Margaret Feaver in Berea, Kentucky, John H. Feaver grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, where his father was a philosophy professor. He attended the Norman public schools and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, where he majored in history and subsequently earned three degrees. His Bachelor of Arts was earned in 1965 and the Master of Arts in European history was awarded in 1968. He then entered military service and served in Vietnam, where he earned the Bronze Star for valor as a member of the U. S. Army Aviation Service. In 1974 he joined the OU faculty and taught United States and Asian histories. He earned a Ph. D. in history in 1980, and was appointed to the faculty at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. He was a mainstay in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program for a number of years, and served as departmental and divisional chair in the social sciences. He was named Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1988 by the USAO Regents.
First Lady Marilyn Feaver has served many years in chamber leadership and community advocacy. She was named the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce “Executive of the Year” in 2000, and as one of “50 Women Making a Difference” in Oklahoma by the Journal Record in 2002. In that same year she was a participant in the National Women’s Leadership Summit in Washington, D. C. In 2004, Marilyn Feaver was a candidate for the District No. 23 post in the Oklahoma State Senate.
NATIONAL HISTORIC DISTRICT
Even before becoming president in July of 2000, John Feaver was working on a project to have a number of campus buildings included on the National Register of Historic Places. Cynthia Savage, an architectural historian, was retained to research the architectural history of the campus. She identified “fourteen buildings, six objects, and two structures” constructed between 1911 and 1951 as contributing elements eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Approval by the National Park Service came in September of 2001. That action made USAO the first and only college in Oklahoma to have its entire campus listed as an historic district.