University of Oklahoma, abbreviated OU, is a coeducational public research university located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. As of 2006, the university has 29,721 students enrolled, most located at its main campus in Norman. Employing over 2,000 faculty members, the school offers 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master's programs, 75 doctorate programs, and 20 majors at the first professional level. David Boren, a former U.S. Senator and Oklahoma Governor, has served as President of the University of Oklahoma since 1994.
In 2007, The Princeton Review named the University of Oklahoma one of its "Best Value" colleges. The school is ranked first per capita among public universities in enrollment of National Merit Scholars and among the top five in the graduation of Rhodes Scholars. PC Magazine and the Princeton Review rated it of the "20 Most Wired Colleges" in 2006, while the Carnegie Foundation classifies it as a research university with "high research activity. Located on its Norman campus are two prominent museums, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, specializing in French Impressionism and Native American artwork, and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, specializing in the natural history of Oklahoma.
The school, well-known for its athletic programs, has won 7 NCAA Division I National Football Championships. Its baseball team has won 2 NCAA national championships and the women's softball team won the national championship in 2000. The gymnastics teams have won four national championships since 2002 and its football program has the best winning percentage of any Division I-FBS team since the introduction of the AP Poll in 1936, playing in three BCS national championship games since the inception of the BCS system in 1998.
The university's first president, David Ross Boyd, arrived in Norman in August 1892 and the first students enrolled that year. The School of Pharmacy was founded in 1893 because of high demand for pharmacists in the territory. Three years later, the university awarded its first degree to a pharmaceutical chemist. The "Rock Building" in downtown Norman held the initial classes until the university's first building opened on September 6, 1893.
On January 6, 1903, the university's only building burned down and destroyed many records of the early university. Construction began immediately on a new building as several other towns hoped to capitalize by convincing the university to move. President Boyd and the faculty were not dismayed by the loss. Mathematics professor Frederick Elder said, "What do you need to keep classes going? Two yards of blackboard and a box of chalk. As a response to the fire, English professor Vernon Louis Parrington created a plan for the future development of the campus. Most of the plan was never implemented, but Parrington's suggestion for the campus core formed the basis for the North Oval. The North and South Ovals are now distinctive features of the campus. He also suggested the university adhere to the popular east coast college architectural style "Collegiate Gothic". The University has built over a dozen buildings in the Collegiate Gothic style.
|David Ross Boyd, 1892-1908|
|A. Grant Evans, 1908-1912|
|Stratton D. Brooks, 1912-1923|
|James S. Buchanan, 1923-1925|
|William Bennett Bizzell, 1925-1941|
|Joseph A. Brandt, 1941-1943|
|George Lynn Cross, 1943-1968|
|John Herbert Hollomon, 1968-1970|
|Paul F. Sharp, 1971-1977|
|William S. Banowsky, 1978-1984|
|Frank E. Horton 1985-1988|
|Richard L. Van Horn, 1989-1994|
|David Boren, 1994-present|
The campus expanded over the next several decades and by 1926, the university encompassed . Development of South Oval allowed for the southern expansion of the campus. The University built a new library on the oval's north end in 1929. Then President Bizzell was able to get the Oklahoma legislature to approve $500,000 for the new library up from their original offer of $200,000.
OU's enrollment, like many universities, sharply declined during World War II. Enrollment in 1945 dropped to 3,769, from its Pre-World War II high of 6,935 in 1939. Many infrastructure changes occurred at the university during this time. The southern portion of south campus in the vicinity of Constitution Avenue, still known to long-time Norman residents as 'South Base', was originally built as an annex to Naval Air Station Norman. It contained mostly single-story frame buildings used for classrooms and military housing; most were severely deteriorated by the late 1980s and were demolished in the 1990s to make room for redevelopment. The Jimmie Austin University of Oklahoma Golf Course was built as a U.S. Navy recreational facility. The north campus and the airfield were built in the early 1940s as Naval Air Station Norman. The station served mainly an advanced flight training mission and could handle all but the largest bombers. A large earthen mound east of Interstate 35 and north of Robinson Street, colloquially known as 'Mount Williams', was used as a gunnery (the mound has since been removed to make way for a commercial development). The university in the post-World War II demobilization received the installation. Naval aviator's wings displayed at the entrance to the terminal commemorates this airfield's Naval past.
After the war, enrollment surged. By 1965, enrollment had risen over 450% to 17,268 causing housing shortages. In the mid 1960s, the administration completed construction of three new 12-story dormitories located immediately south of the South Oval. In addition to these three towers, an apartment complex was completed around this time that housed married students, which was an issue following World War II. These apartments are now Kraettli Apartments.
George Lynn Cross took over as President of the University in 1943, two years after the U.S. entered World War II. He remained at the helm until 1968, 25 years later, becoming the longest serving president in history of the university. Five more presidents would serve in the next 25 years after Cross stepped down. In 1994, the university finally hired a long term president.
Since David Boren became Oklahoma's president in 1994, the University of Oklahoma system has had an increase in new developments throughout including: the purchase of for OU-Tulsa, the new Gaylord Hall, Price Hall, the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility (under construction), Devon Energy Hall (under construction), the Wagner Student Academic Services Center (under construction), the Research and Medical Clinic, the expansions of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, and the National Weather Center.
The Oklahoma Mesonet, a state-of-the-art network of environmental monitoring stations that is an OU-Oklahoma State University partnership, won a special award from the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation's leading professional society for those in the atmospheric and related sciences. In 2001, OK-FIRST was recognized as one of the nation’s five most innovative government programs by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and their Innovations in American Government program.
Students come from all 50 U.S. states and nearly 100 countries. 32% of the 2006 freshmen were in the top 10% of their high school class. Ethnic minority groups represent over 25% of newly-enrolled undergraduates and 27% of all students.. In addition, the university has an enrollment of over 700 National Merit Scholars, making it first per capita among public universities.
Oklahoma is ranked in the top 10 for "Best Value Public Colleges" by the Princeton Review. In a survey of the top 500 academic institutions in the world by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2006, Oklahoma ranked 301st. They were tied with 99 other schools, including Big 12 schools such as Texas Tech University and Kansas State University. Oklahoma State University and Baylor University were not ranked, while all other Big 12 schools were ranked higher. University of Colorado was the highest Big 12 school, being ranked number 34. However, due to stricter enrollment policies in recent years, average scores for incoming students are on the rise. The average ACT score for a first-time student in 2006 was a 25.6 while in 1999, it was 24.5.
In addition to 152 majors to choose from, the University of Oklahoma also has a nationally recognized Honors College. Every student from any major can apply to the college; if accepted the student is eligible to take honors classes and graduate cum laude. In order to graduate with honors, the student must complete 18 credit hours of honors classes. Transfer students are able to transfer up to nine credit hours of honor classes from a different university.
The largest school, The College of Arts & Sciences, enrolls 37% of the OU-Norman students. The next largest school, The Price College of Business enrolls 14%. Other large colleges on the Norman campus include the College of Engineering with 11% and the College of Education and the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, each with approximately 6% of the student body. Smaller schools include the Colleges of Architecture and Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, Earth and Energy, the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, and the Law School. New students do not have to declare a major (a concentrated course of study) immediately and are not required to declare a major until their Junior year. If they are undecided in their major, they are considered a part of the University College, comprising approximately 11% of the student body. Many Pre-Health majors choose this option until they are able to apply for the medical program of their choice.
The Norman campus is divided into three sections: north campus, main campus, and south campus. All three campuses are connected by a bus service funded by student fees which allows students to park at Lloyd Noble Center and provides 5-10 minute service to the main and south campuses. Other regular Norman bus routes provide service to north campus as well as the main campus. The main and south campus are contiguous while the north campus is located about two miles north of the main campus.
On the east side of the central part of campus lies Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, just north of Lindsey street on Jenkins Avenue. Immediately adjacent to the stadium is the Barry Switzer Center, a museum highlighting the historical success of Oklahoma athletics, as well as a comprehensive training facility for Oklahoma athletes. North of the stadium is the McCasland Field House, the former home of Oklahoma Basketball and the current home of Oklahoma's wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics programs. Across Jenkins Avenue are the athletic dorms and statues honoring Oklahoma's four Heisman Trophy winners. Other statues on campus include several honoring the Native Americans who defined so much of Oklahoma's history and a new memorial statue on the north side of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium honoring OU students, faculty, and staff that have died while serving in the armed forces.
The portion of campus south of Lindsey Street consists of mainly student housing, Cate and Cross centers being four-story quadrangular centers and Walker Tower, Couch Tower and Adams Center being twelve-story towers. Facing the towers on Asp Avenue is the Huston Huffman Center, the student activity and fitness center. On the north side of Timberdell road is the Murray Case Sells Swim Complex which is open to students and features indoor and outdoor pools.
Directly north of the main campus on Boyd Street is Campus Corner, a popular commercial area. There are several restaurants, bars, and small shops that cater to the student body and the Norman population at large.
The Oklahoma administration prides itself on the aesthetic appeal of the campus. All three campuses (Norman, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa) have beautifully landscaped gardens. Trees were planted on the OU campus before the first building was ever built. There are also many statues and sculptures around campus, most of which portray the strong influence of the Native American culture.
There are also four buildings on the main campus that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are the Bizzell Library, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house, Casa Blanca (the old Alpha Chi Omega sorority house), and Boyd House - the residence of the University president.
South of student housing is Timberdell Road, the approximate southern boundary of the university. South of this road are University-owned apartments and athletic complexes. On the south side of Timberdell Road is the law school building which has a recently added law library that opened in 2002. This area also includes many athletic complexes. Some of which include L. Dale Mitchell Baseball Park, OU Softball Field, and the Lloyd Noble Center (the basketball arena). While this area has traditionally been free from academic buildings, with the pressure of expansion being felt in the northern part of campus, new academic buildings, such as the National Weather Center and Stephenson Research and Technology Center were recently completed on the south end of campus. In 2004, global weather information provider WeatherNews opened its U.S. Operations Center located in the south campus one block away from the new NWC building. The southern boundary of the south campus is State Highway 9.
|Health Sciences Enrollment|
|College||Fall 2005||Fall 2006|
|Note: These numbers include participating students in Tulsa as well as at the Health Sciences Campus.|
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), established in the early 20th century, is OU's presence in Oklahoma City. OUHSC is one of only four academic health centers in the nation with seven professional colleges. The nineteen buildings that make up the OUHSC campus occupies a fifteen block area in Oklahoma City near the Oklahoma State Capitol. Surrounding these buildings are an additional twenty health-related buildings some of which are owned by the University of Oklahoma. The Health Sciences Center is the core of a wider complex known as the Oklahoma Health Center. With approximately 600 students and 600 residents and fellows training in specialties and subspecialties of medicine, the College of Medicine is the largest component of the Health Sciences Center. The major clinical facilities on campus are the OU Medical Center hospital complex and they include The Children's Hospital, the OU Physicians clinics, and the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. Large biomedical research facilities operated by the University are joined on campus by a growing biomedical research park developed by the Presbyterian Health Foundation and dedicated to biotechnology, research, and new scientific ventures.
Established in 1972 as a branch of the main Health Sciences Center campus, the College of Medicine–Tulsa has enabled the University to use hospital training facilities in Tulsa to establish medical residencies and provide for expanded health care capabilities in the state. Under this program, selected third- and fourth-year students receive their clinical training in hospitals in the Tulsa community. Between 1972 and 1999, OU's presence in Tulsa has grown but scattered. In 1999, a site formerly owned by BP Amoco was sold to the University for $24 million (even though the property was appraised at $48 million). The site already featured a building with office, labs, and classrooms. The university purchased this property with the help of a $10 million gift from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The existing building was renamed the Schusterman Center. In 2003, Tulsa voters approved the Vision 2025 plan for capital improvements to the Tulsa metro area. Included in this plan was $30 million for a new Research and Medical Clinic near the existing Schusterman Center. Construction on the new building is nearing completion.
The university has two prominent museums, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The Museum of Art was founded in 1936 and originally headed by Oscar Jacobson, the director of the School of Art at the time. The museum opened with over 2,500 items on display and was originally located on campus in Jacobson Hall. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Jones of Oklahoma City donated money for a permanent building in 1971 and the building was named in honor of their son who died in a plane crash during his senior year at the University of Oklahoma. Since then, the museum has acquired many renowned works of Native American art and, in 2000, received the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism which includes works by Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Vuillard. Today, the museum has over 65,000 square feet (6,000 m²) filled with over 8,000 items from a wide array of time periods and movements. In 2005, the museum expanded with the opening of the new Lester Wing designed by contemporary architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen. The architectural style of the new addition deviates from the Collegiate Gothic style of the university, but Jacobsen felt this was necessary given the contemporary works of art the wing would house.
The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, located south of the main campus and directly southwest of the law building, specializes in the history of the people and animals that have inhabited Oklahoma over the last 300 million years. Since its founding in 1899, the museum has acquired over 5,000,000 objects. In 2000, a new building was opened to house the ever expanding museum. The new building offered nearly 200,000 square feet (18,600 m²) of space to display the many exhibits the museum has to offer.
The University of Oklahoma Library system is headquartered in Bizzell Memorial Library and is largest research library in Oklahoma, contains over 4.7 million volumes and is ranked 54th out of 113 research libraries in North America in volumes held. It contains more than 1.6 million photographs, subscriptions to over 31,000 periodicals, over 1.5 million maps, government documents dating back to 1893, and over 50 incunabula. It has nine locations on campus. The primary library is Bizzell Memorial Library, located in the middle of the main campus. Other notable campus libraries include the Architecture Library, the Chemistry and Mathematics Library, the Engineering Library, the Fine Arts Library, the Physics and Astronomy Library, and the Geology Library. The OU library system contains many unique collections such as the History of Science Collection (which houses over 91,000 volumes related to the history of science, including hand-noted works by Galileo Galilei), the Bizzell Bible Collection, and the Western History Collection.
The School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), the only American Library Association-accredited program in Oklahoma, offers two graduate degrees (Master of Library and Information Studies and Master of Science in Knowledge Management) and one undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Arts in Information Studies). The impact of OU and SLIS on the history of libraries in Oklahoma is shown in the recent list of 100 Oklahoma Library Legends as produced by the Oklahoma Library Association. Two current faculty, one faculty emeriti, and numerous others associated with either the OU libraries or SLIS comprise nearly 10% of the list's members.
Oklahoma requires, with few exceptions, that all freshmen live in one of the four residence halls. Three of these building are towers (12 stories each): Adams Center, Walker Center, and Couch Center; the other is quads Cate Center. The Academic Arts Community, more commonly referred to as Cate 5 or Honors, is located directly above the honors college, David L. Boren Hall. Although it is commonly believed that this dorm caters only to honors students, a large proportion of non-honors students comprise the community. The three towers are all located around each other with the Couch Cafeteria completing the residence community. Couch Cafeteria is composed of several different themed restaurants that serves a wide variety of food each day. Located in between Adams and Walker Centers is the Adams/Walker Mall, a field roughly the size of a football field. This area includes a basketball court and an open grass area that hosts musical events and other student-related activities. As of Fall 2007, over 3,900 students lived in one of these residence halls. Each residence hall has its own RSA (Resident Student Association) office, as well as its own computer lab and laundry facilities. By 2010, all residential halls, with the exception of Cate, will be completely renovated and upgraded. As of the Spring 2008 semester, the north-west wing of Walker Center is under renovation.
The university owns several apartment complexes around the campus. Some of these apartments were old and dilapidated, and the university has taken the strides to resolve this issue. Two brand new complexes owned by the university opened in recent years; OU Traditions Square East in 2005 and OU Traditions Square West in 2006.
Due to a low cost of living in Oklahoma, many students find it financially viable to live off campus in either apartments or houses. Over the last several years, Norman has seen a boom in apartment development. Since 2002, four new apartment or condominium complexes (not including the OU-owned properties) have been built in addition to a booming housing market that is resulting in Norman spreading further east. Many students commute from nearby Moore and Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma has over 350 student organizations. Focuses of these organizations range from ethnic to political, religious to special interests. Oklahoma Memorial Union (student union) houses many of these organizations' offices.
The student union provides a place for students to relax, sleep, study, watch television, or socialize. The Union Programming Board provides diverse activities and programs in the union such as movies, bands, dances, give-aways, or other activities. Intramural sports are a popular activity on campus with over 35 different sports available. A large intramural field, where many outdoor events take place, is located just one block east of the dorms.
The Pride of Oklahoma, the university's marching band, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004 and consists of 311 student musicians and dancers from 19 states. Students wishing to enter the band go through a rigorous audition process. The band plays at every home football game. A smaller "pep-band," which usually consists of 100 members, travels to every away football game. The full band makes trips to the AT&T Red River Rivalry game against The University of Texas, Big 12 Championship Game, bowl games and other games of importance. Members of the band are also present for many student events. It was awarded the Sudler Trophy in 1987. In 2007, The Pride of Oklahoma marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, making it one of only a few bands to have ever marched in the Rose and Macy's Parades.
The local chapter of the Army ROTC provides officer training and education for nearly 100 OU students. Officially founded in 1919, it is one of the oldest such programs in the nation. OU Army ROTC cadets are active in numerous campus and state activities. They provide military color guards for Sooner football games and various on-campus ceremonies and events. After completing the Army ROTC program, OU students receive a commission in either the Regular Army, Army Reserve, or National Guard.
The campus radio station,The Wire, broadcasts on TV4OU's SAP feed and over the Internet. The campus TV station, TV4OU, features student produced programming five nights a week and is available on local cable (COX Ch. 4). "OU Nightly", the live, student newscast, airs weeknights at 4:30 and 9:30. "The Sports Package", a live sports program, airs live Monday nights at 5:00 and throughout the week. Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication programs The Wire and TV4OU. Oklahoma's Department of Continuing Education operates KROU and KGOU, a public radio station broadcasting on 106.3 FM. KGOU is affiliated with NPR. The campus newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, is produced daily during the fall and spring semesters and weekly during the summer semester.
Oklahoma has a strong social fraternity and sorority presence. Many fraternities and sororities are only a couple decades younger than the university itself with the first fraternity chapter established in 1905. Currently there are 40 national fraternities and sororities on campus. Governing these 40 Greek chapters are four governing bodies: Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the Latino Greek Council. In 2005, the average GPA for the Panhellenic Association was 3.30.
The Executive Branch provides student services on behalf of the UOSA, executes UOSA law, and advocates for the position of the student. The General Counsel, chief legal counsel for the UOSA, provides legal advice, handles issues regarding academic misconduct, and approves new student organization constitutions. The Legislative Branch comprises the Undergraduate Student Congress and the Graduate Student Senate. The Judicial Branch is headed by the Superior Court and includes Student Traffic Court. The Programming Branch comprises the Campus Activities Council (CAC). The CAC oversees all of the campus-wide events. These events include Homecoming, Parent's Weekend, Big Red Rally (a pep rally before the start of the football season), Howdy Week (a welcoming of new students to campus in the fall), Winter Welcome Week (same as Howdy Week, except before the spring semester), Speakers' Bureau (committee responsible for bringing speakers to campus), as well as many others. Originally, CAC was the programming arm of the UOSA under the Executive Branch which UOSA began in 1971. In 2002, UOSA voted to make the CAC its own branch. The CAC comprises over 300 students who volunteer their time to ensuring these events go as planned.
One of the main functions of the UOSA is allocation of student activity funds. The Ways and Means (WAM) Committee, a subset of the legislative branch, conducts extensive interviews with representatives from student groups each year to disperse over half a million dollars.
In addition to UOSA, Oklahoma is home to the Housing Center Student Association (HCSA) which is composed of the leaders of student government who are directly concerned with the on-campus housing at OU. HCSA is further comprised of six Resident Student Associations (RSA) which represent Oklahoma's six housing centers.
With strong academic and successful athletics programs, the University of Oklahoma has seen many of its former students go on to local and national prominence. This includes many athletes that have excelled at the collegiate and professional levels, including: Lee Roy Selmon, Roy Williams, Tommie Harris, Billy Sims, Wayman Tisdale, Joe Washington, Darrell Royal, Steve Owens, Adrian Peterson, Matthew Lane, Anthony Kim, and Jonathan Horton. In addition, many state politicians have graduated from Oklahoma, including current OU President David Boren, David Walters, J.C. Watts, Carl Albert, Frank Keating, Dan Boren, Tom Coburn, and current Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry. Other notable alumni include shuttle astronaut Shannon Lucid and Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Steven W. Taylor, the mutual fund manager Michael F. Price, 2006 Miss America Jennifer Berry, Stacy Dales former WNBA player and ESPN commentator, Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen,, Avanade FP&A Financial Director Kirk Alan Jones, and actors Van Heflin and James Garner.
|Sports at Oklahoma|
The school's sports teams are called the Sooners, a nickname given to early settlers during the land run who sneaked into the offered territory and staked claims before they were officially allowed to. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-Bowl Subdivision and in the South Division of the Big 12 Conference. The school sponsors nine sports for both men and women. The University has won 18 team NCAA National Championships and seven national championships in football (football championships are not awarded by the NCAA). By far, OU's most famous and storied athletic program is the football program, which has produced four Heisman Trophy winners: Billy Vessels in 1952, Steve Owens in 1969, Billy Sims in 1978, and Jason White in 2003. Many Pro Football Hall of Famers, including Lee Roy Selmon and Troy Aikman, also attended the University of Oklahoma. Oklahoma also currently holds the record for the longest winning streak in NCAA Division I history when they won 47 consecutive games between 1953 to 1957. In reference to the team's success and popularity as a symbol of state pride, George Lynn Cross, OU's president from 1943 to 1968, once told the Oklahoma State Senate, "I want a university the football team can be proud of.
The men's gymnastics team has won several national championships including championships in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008. In addition, Oklahoma has produced five Nissen Emery Award winners, more than any other school and the only school with back-to-back honorees. The softball team won a national championship in 2000 and the baseball team a national championship in 1994. On May 10, 2007 the University announced the addition of women's rowing to the intercollegiate athletics program. A rowing facility will be built on the Oklahoma River near downtown Oklahoma City. This is the first sport added since women's soccer was added in 1996.
The University of Oklahoma has had a long and bitter rivalry with the University of Texas known as the Red River Shootout, Red River Rivalry, or OU-Texas. This rivalry is often thought of as a contest of state pride along with school pride. Oklahoma has a long-standing rivalry with Oklahoma State University. Known as the Bedlam Series, it encompasses all the athletic contests between the two universities with the winner receiving the Bedlam Bell. Another major historic rival is the University of Nebraska, which was part of the Big 8 Conference with Oklahoma and later joined with Oklahoma and other schools in the formation of the Big 12 Conference.