Our Next Century: Fast Forward

Letter from the President to Discover Chickasha Special Edition
Chickasha Express Star / Summer 2009

Our Second Century has begun!

But our celebration of history isn’t over. When classes begin on Aug. 24 this fall, we will officially mark the 100th anniversary of the start of classes a century ago.  While last year’s centennial celebration marked the official founding of the institution by Oklahoma’s First Legislature, it was not until August 1909 that classes began, as the appointment of leadership, the hiring of faculty, and the setting of curriculum was accomplished during the school’s first year.

Now comes the future. For our annual alumni homecoming in November, our alumni have chosen the theme “Fast Forward,” representing all eyes and expectations on the bright future ahead. From my perspective – given our unique history, dedicated constituencies and strong forward momentum – it would be hard to imagine how the years ahead could offer anything but promise.

Now completing its fourth year, our Mission Enhancement Plan (MEP) has raised standards and is raising expectations for all. This fall, our admissions requirements will equal the highest in Oklahoma’s system of state colleges and universities. Private giving is up. Quality indicators are rising. We are welcoming some of the best-prepared freshmen in history to a curriculum tailored to their long-term success.

To our alumni, whether you graduated or not, your interest in, devotion to and support for this college is more critical than ever. To our friends and community members, your interest in the university is vital. Thank you to everyone who gives, shares, attends, or speaks out in support of Oklahoma’s public liberal arts college.

As we look ahead, there are many reasons to be positive:

  • Once again USAO is the only public Oklahoma school named to the exclusive “Great Schools, Great Prices” list in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges annual guide  that recognizes academic quality and reasonable cost.
  • USAO continues to be recognized nationally among the 240 distinguished institutions in the Colleges of Distinction guidebook and website.
  • Several construction projects are at completion: 1) the alumni-funded Stevens Alumni House will open for staff and visitors this fall; 2) a transformed Canning Hall is now open as home to our unique deaf education program and a PK-3rd grade school for deaf children; 3) the restored and expanded Art Annex is open for teaching and learning; 4) the privately funded renovation of the President’s Home is finished inside with an outdoor entertainment venue underway; 5) the charming new carillon system, funded by the Class of 1956, is complete on the roof of Troutt Hall, everyday cheering students and staff and members of the community on the hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and 6) new outdoor art projects are under development, including a ‘new’ clock tower near Sparks, a new sculpture garden near Austin, and a new bronze sculpture called “Coming Together” south of the Student Center.

Please! celebrate our success; please! Help us build our future. To us and to your neighbors, tell your USAO story. As you think of us, keep the ‘Three Rs” in mind:  Remember. Rededicate. Reciprocate.