A Special Letter from President Feaver

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hello friends. By now a number of you may be aware of the story that ran in The Oklahoman last weekend. Some have expressed concern over the headline. Taken alone, it seems alarming. However, sometimes it takes an outside observer to jumpstart a necessary conversation. In fact, Silas Allen’s article was perceptive and quite on target. He is right that although USAO was assigned a distinctive liberal arts mission nearly 50 years ago, since then the school’s purposes have been confused in the public mind with Oklahoma’s system of Regional institutions.

Mr. Allen is also correct that the State Regents and the USAO Board of Regents committed to rectify this confusion with the Mission Enhancement Plan (MEP) in 2005. Unfortunately as he points out, the 2008 recession forced serious cuts to state higher education funding and took the wind out of the MEP’s early momentum.

Mr. Allen is also correct that our statewide enrollment is not where we want it to be. Of course, with selective admission standards, our MEP mandate to reach out statewide has not been without success. Our spring honor rolls show a geographically diverse student body drawn from 14 countries, six states and 35 counties across Oklahoma. We have invested considerable monies in marketing and advertising and the energies of our tireless admission staff to get where we are. Our diverse and talented student body reflects the real gains we’ve been able to make using conventional marketing strategies.  But conventional is not enough…

This past summer we sat down and asked hard questions about what we’ve done and what we can do to best utilize the resources available to us in spreading the message.

This answer came as no surprise. It’s us. We agreed that the most effective voice for reaching those curious minds most likely to thrive at USAO is our own. And it is yours.

Those young minds that will shape Oklahoma’s future, and belong at a school like USAO, are your family and neighbors. They are your sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren. They are in your community.

They are already a part of every one of our lives and they are waiting for someone to tell them there is a place where their zeal for learning and academic success will be rewarded; a place where they will become part of a community of teachers and learners committed to honing the skills of life-long achievement; a place where their curiosity for life and living successfully will be powerfully met by a dynamic faculty who shares one occupation and preoccupation – teaching and teaching well.

If your experience tells you that USAO is that place, then I ask you to join our campus community in becoming an advocate. By clicking the link I’ve provided here, you can become part of USAO’s “It Takes a College” initiative to bring the right students for the right reasons from every part of the state to this campus and its special educational opportunities.

Join the It Takes a College Initiative

We are not asking for your money. If it is to succeed, what the “It Takes a College” campaign needs most from you cannot be purchased. It’s passion and a belief in this college. We need your time and attention, and your voice and your willingness to share it all on our behalf.