BIG ORANGE: President Gary Trennepohl has led OSU-Tulsa since 1999. During that time, enrollment has more than quadrupled and scholarships, faculty and degrees granted have gone up exponentially. In the background is BOB, the popular Big Orange Bus transportation system that ties the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses together.
JERRY L. CORNELIUS for GTR Newspapers
The Oklahoma State University-Tulsa campus has experienced amazing progress under the leadership of Dr. Gary Trennepohl, who assumed his position as president in 1999 when the institution became part of the OSU system.
Trennepohl has been recognized by leaders of the OSU system and will be honored with the “President Gary Trennepohl Chair in Leadership for the OSU-Tulsa Campus” at “A Stately Affair,” which will be held May 20 in the Main Hall Commons.
“A Stately Affair” is a new OSU-Tulsa fundraising initiative that will generate private funds for scholarships, community initiatives and program needs. Leading the fund drive for the Trennepohl endowed chair are Monty and Jane Butts, Henry and Jane Primeaux, Bill and Pat McKamey and a large committee of supporters.
Monty Butts, vice chairman of the OSU Foundation Board of Governors, said creating a presidential chair was the natural choice to honor Trennepohl and to support top priorities at the university for generations to come.
“President Trennepohl is a highly regarded educator and community leader who is deserving of this prestigious designation,” Butts said. “His passion is creating opportunities for students to learn. We are pleased to salute President Trennepohl’s ongoing career contributions to education and his commitment to OSU and the city of Tulsa.”
Endowed chairs, which provide long-term funding for the university, are also one of the highest forms of honor and recognition that an administrator or faculty member can receive. The goal of the campaign is to raise $1 million in private funds, which will be eligible to be matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Trennepohl joined the leadership of the OSU system in 1995 as the Dean of the College of Business Administration, now known as the William S. Spears School of Business.
The accomplishments at OSU Tulsa are significant. Among them are:
• Construction on the Helmerich Advanced Technology Research Center (ATRC). Research in the Center will focus on advanced materials and nanotechnology. In addition to supporting academic programs, research in the facility should produce new technologies that can be commercialized to stimulate economic development in Oklahoma. More than $40 million for the Helmerich ATRC and its scientific equipment has been raised from city, county and state sources, and $9 million has been pledged by Walt and Peggy Helmerich and The Helmerich Foundation.
• Implementation this spring of a joint admission program with Tulsa Community College. This program helps students seamlessly complete their bachelor’s degree. Designed primarily for students completing high school, the program enables qualified students to gain admission to both OSU and TCC at the same time and utilize resources on all TCC and OSU campuses.
• Creation of a “Professional MBA” degree designed for working professionals in managerial positions. For those who qualify based on prior coursework and work experience, the required coursework is reduced to 36 hours from the traditional 48 to 60 hour program. The new degree will be offered initially in Tulsa and should be attractive to a wide range of students. Applications are now being accepted for the fall 2006 semester.
• Installation of hardware to make OSU-Tulsa the newest hotspot in town. Thanks to a new wireless network, OSU-Tulsa students now have access to educational resources anywhere on campus. “Wi-Fi” (Wireless Fidelity) is a wireless technology that works
much like a cordless phone. Students can access the Internet and library databases using their personal computers from anywhere on campus, at any time.
• Continued development of academic programs offered at OSU-Tulsa. For perspective, it is useful to compare data today to eight years ago, just before OSU-Tulsa began operating in 1999 at the former UCT consortium campus.
• Student enrollment has in-creased from 583 to 2,631.
• Scholarships awarded increased from $2,500 in 1999 to $84,000 this year.
• Classes taught per year have increased from 253 to 738.
• Resident faculty has increased from 5 to 52.
• OSU degrees available in Tulsa have increased from 31 to 82.
• The student information system has been redesigned to allow all OSU students to enroll in classes, access records, obtain transcripts and receive services in either Tulsa or Stillwater.
• Riders on BOB, the Big Orange Bus, have increased from 25,000, in 2002, the first year of operation, to 68,500 this fiscal year.
From its roots as a campus serving only non-traditional students through evening classes, OSU-Tulsa is evolving toward a campus that serves both traditional and non-traditional students. Now, classes are being offered throughout the day, and the average undergraduate is taking almost nine hours (12 hours is considered full time) while the average graduate student is taking five hours (9 is considered full time).
To further improve the service to students, OSU-Tulsa plans to add degree programs over the next few years in history, sociology, political science, university studies, biological sciences/pre-medicine and merchandising. Construction of student housing, and expansion of daytime, weekend and intersession classes also are planned.
OSU-Tulsa has made significant progress the past seven years by developing and delivering academic programs desired by the community. The focus on growing and investing in the campus has demonstrated OSU’s commitment to Tulsa.