RSU 1909: Volunteers with the Claremore Main Street Program and the Coo-Y-Yah (Huckleberry) Historical Players from Pryor dressed in period costumes from 1909, when the institution was founded, to help commemorate the RSU Centennial Clock Dedication. Front, from left are RSU Instructor Phil Sample, Linda Myers, Ivan Pace and Sherry Martin. Back row left are Carolyn Peterson, Dale Peterson, John David Wolf and Vickie Chaney.
DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
Rogers State University began a year long celebration of its 100th anniversary with a Centennial Kick-Off and Clock Dedication Ceremony on Dec. 4, featuring a presentation by Dr. Bob L. Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the dedication of the new Oklahoma Centennial Clock.
The Centennial Clock is an official project of the Oklahoma Centennial Commemoration and was funded in part through a grant made possible by the Oklahoma Legislature. The students of RSU’s President’s Leadership Class spearheaded the project and worked in partnership with the City of Claremore.
Contributors to the clock include RSU President’s Leadership Class, R&R Machine Works, Inc., RSU Foundation, Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, College Democrats, College Republicans and the RSU Student Government Association. The dedication ceremony featured remarks by area dignitaries, RSU students and RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. Blackburn presented, Oklahoma and the Struggle for a Sense of Community” in the historic Will Rogers Auditorium on campus. Blackburn has served as executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society since 1999 and on numerous national and regional boards and committees, plus made several appearances on the History Channel.
The Centennial Kick-Off and Clock Dedication Ceremony also featured period costumes from 1909, when the institution was founded, and the return of alumni and faculty from various eras of the institution. The RSU Jazz Band and cheerleaders performed and refreshments were served under the complimentary hospitality tent.
RSU was founded as Eastern University Preparatory School in 1909. The school closed in 1917 but reopened in 1919 as the Oklahoma Military Academy, one of the nation’s most prestigious military institutions. More than 2,500 OMA graduates served in the armed forces during various conflicts and more than 100 graduates gave their lives in service to their country.
The OMA operated until 1971 when it became Claremore Junior College. The junior college was later renamed Rogers State College, gaining a reputation of academic quality among two-year institutions. In 1998, the Oklahoma Legislature renamed the institution Rogers State University, assigning it a new mission to gain accreditation at the baccalaureate level. In 2000, RSU became a four-year university, offering bachelor’s and associate degrees. Today, RSU has nearly 4,000 students with campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor.
For more information on the RSU Centennial Kick-Off and Clock Dedication Ceremony, call (918) 343-7773.