Oklahoma State University–Stillwater

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Oklahoma State University (OSU) is a public land-grant research university in Stillwater, Oklahoma. OSU was founded in 1890 under the Morrill Act. Originally known as Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (Oklahoma A&M), it is the flagship institution of the Oklahoma State University System. Official enrollment for the fall 2010 semester system-wide was 35,073, with 23,459[5] students enrolled at OSU-Stillwater. Enrollment shows the Freshman class of 2012 was the largest on record with 4,298 students.[5] OSU is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with highest research activity.[6]

Oklahoma State University–Stillwater
Oklahoma State University seal.svg
TypeFlagship Public Land-grant university
EstablishedDecember 25, 1890 (1890-12-25)
AffiliationOklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical Colleges
Academic affiliation
Endowment$903 million (2018)[1]
PresidentV. Burns Hargis
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States

36°07′56″N 97°04′51″W / 36.13222°N 97.08083°W / 36.13222; -97.08083Coordinates: 36°07′56″N 97°04′51″W / 36.13222°N 97.08083°W / 36.13222; -97.08083
CampusSmall city, 1,489 acres (6.03 km2) on the Stillwater campus[3]
ColorsOrange and Black[4]
NicknameCowboys and Cowgirls
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IBig 12
MascotPistol Pete
Oklahoma State University system logo.svg

The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Cowgirls' athletic heritage includes 52 national championships, a total greater than all but three NCAA Division I schools in the United States, and first in the Big 12 Conference.[7] Students spend part of the fall semester preparing for OSU's Homecoming celebration, begun in 1913, which draws more than 40,000 alumni and over 70,000 participants each year to campus and is billed by the university as "America's Greatest Homecoming Celebration."[8]


Old Central at Oklahoma A&M, 1894
Williams Hall, the Castle of the Prairies, in 1920

On December 25, 1890, the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature finally gained approval for Oklahoma Territorial Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) College, the land-grant university established under the Morrill Act of 1862. It specified that the college was to be within Payne County. Such an ambiguous description created rivalry between towns within the county, with Stillwater ultimately winning out. Upon statehood in 1907, "Territorial" was dropped from its title.

Oklahoma A&M seal

The first students assembled for class on December 14, 1891. Classes were held for two and one-half years in local churches until the first academic building, later known as Old Central, was dedicated on June 15, 1894, on the southeast corner of campus, which at the time was flat plowed prairie.[9] In 1896, Oklahoma A&M held its first commencement with six male graduates. The first Library was established in Old Central in one room shared with the English Department. The first campus building to have electricity, Williams Hall, was constructed in 1900. With its turreted architecture it was referred to as the "Castle of the Prairies";[10] It remained standing until 1969. One of the earliest campus buildings was also a barn, used as part of an agricultural experiment station, which was served by a large reservoir pond created in 1895. The barn burned in 1922, but the pond, enlarged and remodeled in 1928 and 1943, is now known as Theta Pond, a popular campus scenic landmark.[11] In 1906, Morrill Hall was completed and became the principal building on campus. A fire gutted the building in 1914, but the outside structure survived intact, and the interior was reconstructed. The first dormitory for women was completed in 1911. It contained a kitchen, dining hall, some classrooms, and a women's gymnasium. It is now the Bartlett Center for the Studio Arts and houses the Gardiner Art Gallery.[12] By 1919 the campus included Morrill Hall, the Central Building, the Engineering Building (now Gundersen Hall), the Women's building, the Auditorium (replaced later by the Seretean Center for Performing Arts),[13] the Armory-Gymnasium (now the Architecture Building) and the Power Plant.[14]

At the beginning of World War II, Oklahoma A&M was one of six schools selected by the United States Navy to give the Primary School in the Electronics Training Program (ETP), also known as Naval Training School Elementary Electricity and Radio Materiel (NTS EE&RM).[15] Starting in March 1942, each month a new group of 100 Navy students arrived for three months of 14-hour days in concentrated electrical engineering study. Cordell Hall, the newest dormitory, was used for housing and meals; lectures and lab sessions were held in the Engineering Building. Professor Emory B. Phillips was the Director of Instruction. ETP admission required passing the Eddy Test, one of the most selective qualifying exams given during the war years.[16] At a given time, some 500 Navy students were on the campus, a significant fraction of the war-years enrollment. The training activity continued until June 1945, and served a total of about 7,000 students; among these was Robert B. Kamm, a future professor and president of Oklahoma State University.[17][18] During some of the war years, the Navy also had a Yeoman training activity for WAVES and SPARS on the campus.

Student Union Building at OSU

Much of the growth of Oklahoma A&M and the campus architectural integrity can be attributed to work of Henry G. Bennett, who served as the school's president from 1928 to 1950. Early in his tenure Dr. Bennett developed a strategic vision for the physical expansion of the university campus. The plan was adopted in 1937 and his vision was followed for more than fifty years, making the university what it is today, including the Georgian architecture that permeates the campus. The focal point of his vision was a centrally located library building, which became a reality when the Edmon Low Library opened in 1953. Another major addition to the campus during the Bennett years was the construction of the Student Union, which opened in 1950. Subsequent additions and renovations have made the building one of the largest student union buildings in the world at 611,000 sq ft (56,800 m2).[19] A complete renovation and further expansion of the building began in 2010.

Statue of Henry G. Bennett near Library Lawn at OSU

On May 15, 1957, Oklahoma A&M changed its name Oklahoma State University of Agricultural and Applied Sciences to reflect the broadening scope of curriculum offered. Oklahoma Gov. Raymond Gary signed the bill authorizing the name change passed by the 26th Oklahoma Legislature on May 15, 1957. However, the bill only authorized the Board of Regents to change the name of the college, a measure they voted on at their meeting on June 6. However, the name was quickly shortened to Oklahoma State University for most purposes, and the "Agricultural & Applied Sciences" name was formally dropped in 1980. Subsequently, the Oklahoma State University System was created, with the Stillwater campus as the flagship institution and several outlying branches: OSU-Institute of Technology in Okmulgee (1946), OSU-Oklahoma City (1961), OSU-Tulsa (1984), and the Center for Health Sciences also in Tulsa (1988).[20]

In 2005, OSU announced its "Campus Master Plan", a campaign to enhance academic, athletic, and administrative facilities. Over $800 million is ear-marked for campus construction and renovation over twenty years. The Plan calls for an "athletic village" where all of the university's athletic facilities will be located on the main campus. To accomplish this goal, the athletic department bought all (or nearly all) the property north of Boone Pickens Stadium up to McElroy between Knoblock and Washington streets. This drew criticism from the city of Stillwater and property owners.[21] While the vast majority of the real estate was rental property targeting college students, a few owners were longtime residents. There was a lone holdout in this parcel of land, who sued OSU over their right to use eminent domain.[22] The case was decided in favor of the University. The project includes the construction of an indoor practice facility for most sports, a soccer stadium/outdoor track, a tennis complex, and a baseball stadium.

Edmon Low Library

In 2006, OSU became the recipient of a gift of $165 million from alumnus T. Boone Pickens to the university's athletic department, and in 2008 received another gift from Pickens of $100 million for endowed academic chairs. It was the largest gift for academics ever given in the state.[23] Ethical concerns have been raised in media reports about the propriety of how some of the Pickens gifts have been made, immediately returned to Pickens, and then placed in hedge funds owned by Pickens' companies[24] In February 2010, Pickens announced that he was pledging another $100 million to fund a scholarship endowment as part of a $1 billion fund-raising campaign titled "Branding Success." The pledge brought the total pledged or contributed to OSU by Pickens to over $500 million.[25]

On October 24, 2015 during the annual homecoming parade, Adacia Chambers drove her vehicle into a crowd of people killing 4 people and injuring 47.[26]


Oklahoma State University–Stillwater offers nearly 200 undergraduate degree majors through six Colleges:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Education, Health, and Aviation
  • College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology
  • College of Human Sciences
  • Spears School of Business

OSU provides further opportunities for select students to study, conduct research, and exchange ideas in a more challenging and supportive academic environment through the Honors College.

The graduate degree programs of all colleges are administered through the Graduate College.

The Center for Veterinary Health Sciences (CVHS) has three academic Departments: Veterinary Pathobiology, Physiological Sciences, and Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Each of the three academic departments share responsibility for the four-year professional curriculum leading to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree. The interdepartmental Veterinary Biomedical Sciences graduate program offers MS and PhD degrees. It also offers ECFVG and PAVE programmes for foreign trained veterinarians.

Rankings and reputationEdit

University rankings
ARWU[27] 138–155
Forbes[28] 358
Times/WSJ[29] 373
U.S. News & World Report[30] 192
Washington Monthly[31] 153
ARWU[32] 501–600
QS[33] 751–800
Times[34] 401–500
U.S. News & World Report[35] 503

As a land-grant university, OSU has several historically renowned programs, including the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Veterinary Medicine. The College of Engineering is renowned in the fields of architecture and mechanical engineering. The School of Entrepreneurship is internationally renowned at both the practical and academic levels.

  • The Wall Street Journal named Oklahoma State University as a top 45 school whose graduates rank highest with recruiters. OSU is the only school in the state of Oklahoma to receive this recognition.[36]
  • It has been named a Truman Honor Institution for its success in producing Truman scholars.[37]
  • OSU is one of five U.S. universities where Sun Grant Research Initiative programs have been established by the U.S. Congress in the Sun Grant Research Initiative Act of 2003 for the purposes of researching and developing sustainable and environmentally-friendly bio-based energy alternatives.
  • The Math Department has been recognized by the American Mathematics Association as one of four innovative programs in the nation and has produced four Sloan Fellowship winners.[38]
  • The U.S. National Security Agency chose OSU as a National Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Education in 2005.[39]
  • Aerospace engineering designed, built, and flew multiple winning RPV aircraft in the annual international DBF,[40] competitions sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Office of Naval Research, and Cessna Aircraft Company.
  • The Oklahoma Mesonet, a state-of-the-art network of environmental monitoring stations that is an OU-OSU 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 at the National Weather Center.[41]
  • OSU is headquarters for the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association,[42] which has members from as far away as Sweden, Japan, Australia, England and South Africa.
  • OSU is home to Fire Protection Publications and the International Fire Service Training Association, the largest publisher of fire and emergency services books in North America.
  • OSU's Colvin Center has been named one of the top six collegiate sports facilities in the nation, by The National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association.[43]
  • OSU's Homecoming was awarded the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Seal of Excellence. Presented each year by the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association, "America's Greatest Homecoming Celebration" began in 1913 and today draws more than 70,000 alumni and fans back to Stillwater for events like the Harvest Carnival, Walkaround and Sea of Orange Parade. It is widely regarded as one of the best homecoming celebrations in the U.S.[8]
  • As of August 2011, the School of Entrepreneurship is ranked number 10 in the world with regards to research productivity[44]
  • The School of Entrepreneurship was named the "National Model Undergraduate Program" in 2012 by the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)[45]
  • As of 2012, the Princeton Review rankings for the School of Entrepreneurship's undergraduate and graduate programs were No. 22 and No. 14. Over 2,000 schools were surveyed.[46]
  • The School of Entrepreneurship's Riata Center for Entrepreneurship was awarded the 2012 "NASDAQ Center for Entrepreneurship Excellence Award." The award is presented annually by NASDAQ in association with the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) and recognizes the unique contributions and achievements of entrepreneurship centers around the world.[47]
  • Each year the School of Entrepreneurship hosts the "Experiential Classroom", an intensive 3-day seminar for entrepreneurship educators. It has been widely recognized as being the top program of its kind. In 2011, the program hosted entrepreneurship faculty from 29 states, 17 countries, and 65 different universities.[48]

Student lifeEdit


Current university-owned housing options include 26 residence halls, more than 15 dining options, and seven family-first apartment complexes. In recent years, on-campus housing has been undergoing significant transformation. Student living was previously dominated by traditional residence halls; however, apartment-style buildings now comprise approximately half of the living quarters. In 2005, the high-rise Willham North and South residence halls that once dominated the Stillwater skyline were demolished and replaced with the Village suites on its site. Iba Hall, another traditional hall, was closed in 2007, but was reopened in 2011 due to an increase of incoming freshman. In 2017, Iba Hall underwent significant renovations which lasted through most of that year, before reopening in time for the Fall 2018 semester.

Iba, Parker, Wentz and Stout Halls continue to offer traditional residence hall accommodations. In addition, three residence halls were opened in the fall of 2015, collectively known as the University Commons. North houses female students, south houses male students, and west is a co-ed facility that also houses the twenty-four-hour service desk for the area. Although Kerr-Drummond was slated to be closed with the opening of the University Commons, Drummond was reopened in fall 2015 due to increased occupancy of campus housing. Kerr was closed and is scheduled for demolition in the coming years. Apartments for single students are Bost, Davis, Morsani-Smith, Peterson-Friend, Kamm, Sitlington and Young Halls. Housing in suite-style accommodations are provided in the named Village CASNR (College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources), Village HS (Human Sciences), Village C, Village D, Village E and Village F. Deluxe suites are provided in Patchin & Jones, Bennett, Zink & Allen, and Stinchcomb & Booker Halls. Graduate students and families are offered accommodations in seven apartment "neighborhoods" with a variety of floor plans and amenities: Brumley, Demaree, Morrison, Prosser, Stevens, West and Williams.

Additionally, a number of learning communities and special interest housing options are available, providing opportunity for students who share interests or majors to live together. Most of these communities occupy certain floors of buildings or halls, rather than consisting of separate buildings. Included among the options are: FIT (Freshman in Transition, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources), athletic training, career exploration (College of Arts and Sciences), computer science floor, engineering floors, health and sciences floor, HS housing (College of Human and Environmental Sciences), journalism and broadcasting housing, Kamm Leadership House, Ketchum House (Native American interests), James Building (Young Engineers House), Maude's Quad (Women in Engineering House), Recovery House (students recovering from drug and/or alcohol dependence), Spanish House (language immersion), Spears School of Business House, Stout Honors housing (University's Honors Program), Uhuru House (African Centered Cultural House), Wellness House, and The Transfer Zone (transfer students).

Fraternity & Sorority lifeEdit

Oklahoma State University's fraternities and sororities celebrated 100 years of existence at OSU in 2008.

Social fraternities and sororities at Oklahoma State are divided among four councils: Panhellenic, Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic and Multicultural.

Thirteen national Panhellenic sororities have chapters at OSU. They are: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, Pi Beta Phi, and Zeta Tau Alpha.

Twenty-one fraternities make up the Interfraternity Council. Member fraternities include: Alpha Gamma Rho, Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Beta Upsilon Chi, Delta Tau Delta, FarmHouse, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Kappa Sigma, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Tau Gamma, and Theta Chi.

NPHC member organizations are historically black fraternities and sororities. As of the 2018-2019 school year, Alpha Phi Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, and Zeta Phi Beta have chapters at OSU.

The Multicultural Greek Council is the umbrella organization for additional minority Greek letter groups. Member organizations include Alpha Pi Omega, Kappa Delta Chi, Sigma Lambda Alpha, Sigma Lambda Beta, Omega Delta Phi.

Student organizationsEdit

Organizations are available to students through the university that serve any interest. A complete list of campus organizations can be found on OSU's website.[49]


OSU athletics logo
Houston Cougars vs Oklahoma State Cowboys football game at Boone Pickens Stadium in 2008


NCAA Division I-A
Conference: Big 12
Major Rivalries: University of Oklahoma Sooners
Minor Rivalries: University of Texas Longhorns, University of Kansas Jayhawks, Iowa State University Cyclones (wrestling)
NCAA Championships: 52 (#4 after Stanford, USC, and UCLA)
Wrestling: 34
Golf: 11
Basketball: 2 (1945 and 1946)
Baseball: 1 (1959)
Cross Country: 4 (1954, 2009, 2010, 2012)
National Championships not sanctioned by NCAA: 5
Equestrian: 4
Football: 1 (1945)
Athletic Director: Mike Holder


10 conference titles – 26 bowl games played – 1988 Heisman Trophy winner and single season rushing record (Barry Sanders).


Men's basketball is tradition rich at Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State made the Final Four in 1995 and 2004 and was the first ever Division 1 basketball program to win back-to-back National Championships in 1945-1946.


The Cowboy wrestling team brought home their 33rd NCAA championship in spring 2005, scoring the most points ever by an Oklahoma State wrestling team in the NCAA. OSU won their 34th overall (and 4th consecutive) title in 2006.[50] OSU's 34 team titles are the most ever collected by a school in one sport. The Cowboys have also produced 127 individual national champions, including the sport's first-ever four-time champion, Pat Smith.

Other sportsEdit

Since the 1924 Olympics, 68 Oklahoma State University Olympians have won a total of 30 medals: 21 gold, four silver, and five bronze.[51]

Fight songsEdit

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement, convocation, and athletic games are: The Waving Song, Ride 'Em Cowboys (the Oklahoma State University fight song), and the OSU Chant.[52] At the end of every sporting event, win or lose, OSU student-athletes face the student section and sing the alma mater along with other students, faculty, alumni and staff.


Today, there are more than 200,000 living OSU alumni worldwide.[53] Prominent alumni include oil tycoon and billionaire philanthropist T. Boone Pickens, actor James Marsden, "the father of the personal computer" Ed Roberts, country singers Garth Brooks and Hoyt Axton, former Prime Minister of South Korea Nam Duck-woo, former Prime Minister of Jordan Adnan Badran, US Senator Tom Coburn, former Governor of Oklahoma Mary Fallin, former acting Surgeon General of the United States Robert A. Whitney, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Steven W. Taylor, David Noel Ramírez Padilla rector of Tecnológico de Monterrey Mexico's most prestigious university, former Central Bank of Somalia Governor Yussur A.F. Abrar, production designer and drummer K.K. Barrett, legal scholar Anita Hill, and Ponnala Lakshmaiah, an Indian politician.

Interviews with OSU Alumni can be viewed and heard through the O-State Stories Project of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program.[54]


A number of prominent scholars, authors and researchers have served on the OSU faculty, including poet Ai, historian Angie Debo, literary critic and author Brian Evenson, mathematician William Jaco, computer scientist and philosopher Subhash Kak, chemical engineering scholar Nicholas A. Kotov, information studies pioneer and research librarian Edmon Low, engineering pioneer J. Tinsley Oden, and highly cited psychologist Robert Sternberg (who now teaches at Cornell University).

In recent decades, number of notable academic administrators have served on the Oklahoma State faculty, including Guy Bailey (who would serve as President of the University of Alabama), Ray M. Bowen (who served as President of Texas A&M), Hilton Briggs (who served as President of South Dakota State University), Robert W. MacVicar (who went on to become President of Oregon State University), James E. Martin (who served as President at Auburn and the University of Arkansas), J. Tinsley Oden (who served as Provost for the University of Texas at Austin), Robert Sternberg (who left to become President of the University of Wyoming), and Paul Torgersen (who served as President of Virginia Tech).


Coaching alumni include OSU wrestling head coach John Smith, OSU football head coach Mike Gundy, and former OSU basketball coaches Eddie Sutton and Sean Sutton. The Cowboys have produced several NBA players, including Desmond Mason, formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, Jawun Evans of the Los Angeles Clippers, Tony Allen of the New Orleans Pelicans, James Anderson of the Sacramento Kings, Joey Graham of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Stephen Graham of the New Jersey Nets, JamesOn Curry of the Chicago Bulls, Terrel Harris of the Miami Heat, and former New York Knicks guard John Starks. NFL players Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas also attended OSU, as did baseball All-Star pitcher Joe Horlen and All-Star third baseman Robin Ventura. Ventura went on to manage the Chicago White Sox for five seasons. Also in the NFL are former Cowboys Dez Bryant and Dan Bailey of the Dallas Cowboys, and Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings. Retired MMA and UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture and Don Frye, and former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks wrestled at OSU. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier wrestled at the university, as well as other MMA fighters including Mark Munoz. PGA professional golfers Rickie Fowler, Scott Verplank, Bo Van Pelt, Charles Howell III, Bob Tway, and Hunter Mahan also attended OSU. Two-time gold medalist, ESPN analyst, and ASA Hall of Fame inductee Michele Mary Smith played softball at OSU. Houston Nutt and Brent Guy, both former players and teammates, became head coaches after serving as assistants for the Cowboy football program.

Campus buildingsEdit

Listed below are just a few of the buildings at OSU. For a complete list, visit List of Oklahoma State University buildings.

Academic buildingsEdit

Edmon Low Library
  • 4-H Youth Development
  • Advanced Technology Research Center
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture North
  • Animal Sciences
  • Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts
  • Biosystems and Agriculture Engineering Lab
  • Classroom Building
  • Colvin Center
  • Donald W. Reynolds School of Architecture
  • Edmon Low Library
  • Endeavor Lab
  • Engineering North
  • Engineering South
  • General Academic Building (former Spears School of Business)
  • Gundersen
  • Henry Bellmon Research Center
  • Human Sciences
  • Human Sciences West
  • Life Sciences East
  • Life Sciences West
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • McElroy Hall
  • Morrill Hall
  • Murray Hall
  • Noble Research Center
  • North Classroom
  • North Murray
  • Old Central
  • Paul Miller Journalism and Broadcasting Center
  • Physical Sciences
  • Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products
  • Seretean Center for the Performing Arts
  • Spears School of Business
  • Whitehurst Hall
  • Willard Hall
  • Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development

Residential buildingsEdit

Kerr and Drummond halls
  • Allen Hall
  • Davis Hall
  • Drummond Hall (now closed)
  • Kerr Hall (now closed)
  • Morsani-Smith
  • Parker Hall
  • Wentz Hall
  • Patchin Hall
  • Jones Hall
  • Booker Hall
  • Stinchcomb Hall
  • Iba Hall
  • Bennett Hall
  • Stout Hall
  • University Commons
  • University Village Suites
  • Willham North Hall (now closed)
  • Willham South Hall (now closed)

Other buildingsEdit

Historic Gallagher-Iba Arena and the OSU Spirit Rider statue

See alsoEdit


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