OSU-Tulsa is marking a major milestone this spring, celebrating 15 years of providing quality higher education in downtown Tulsa and making a degree from a comprehensive research university more accessible to thousands of graduates.
“While our campus is still relatively new, OSU-Tulsa has had a major impact on higher education in Oklahoma,” said OSU-Tulsa President Howard Barnett. “By bringing OSU to Tulsa, the institution has offered Tulsa-area students the opportunity to complete their degrees from a flagship state university.”
OSU-Tulsa hosted a special event today to commemorate the past 15 years and the university’s impact on Tulsa. Since OSU-Tulsa first opened, enrollment has grown from 870 to more than 3,000. The campus offers more than 80 degree options for students in the Tulsa area, including bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. Students earn the same OSU degrees as students on the Stillwater campus.
More than 30,000 students have taken courses at OSU-Tulsa since the summer of 1999 through fall 2013, comprising some 534,758 student credit hours. Those 30,000 students have earned 17,479 OSU degrees, including 11,150 bachelor’s degrees, 5,489 master’s degrees and 840 doctoral degrees, with some students earning multiple degrees from OSU. Of those earning degrees, more than 7,200 have taken the majority of their classes at OSU-Tulsa.
“Our research indicates that those are students who would have never left Tulsa to complete their degree,” said Barnett. “Many of our students are place-bound, meaning they can’t leave the Tulsa area for a variety of reasons, including work and family commitments. We are very proud to provide the opportunity for these Tulsans to finish their degree and become even more valuable to their employer, their families and themselves.”
The university also honored five founders who played a critical role in the establishment and early development of OSU-Tulsa. The OSU-Tulsa Founders include former OSU President Jim Halligan, former Oklahoma Sen. Charles Ford, former Oklahoma Sen. Penny Williams, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and founding OSU-Tulsa President Gary Trennepohl.
“There are many people who deserve credit for the progress OSU-Tulsa has made over the past 15 years, but these five individuals are being recognized for their unique contributions,” said Barnett. “The 15th anniversary of OSU-Tulsa is the perfect time to remember and honor those individuals who have helped us get there from here.
Later this year, five special trees will be planted on the site of OSU-Tulsa’s new Signature Gateway, under construction west of the Helmerich Research Center between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Detroit Avenue. Each tree will include a commemorative plaque honoring the Founders for their contributions to OSU-Tulsa.
The Oklahoma Legislature, under the leadership of Ford and Williams, approved a bill in May 1998 establishing OSU-Tulsa on the site of the former University Center at Tulsa campus. OSU officially began administration of the downtown campus on Jan. 1, 1999. Prior to that, Tulsa was the largest city in the nation without a free-standing public university.