East Central University
|Affiliation||Regional University System of Oklahoma|
|President||Katricia G. Pierson|
|Students||4,450 (2015) |
|Colors||Orange and Black|
|Affiliations||Great American Conference|
|Mascot||Roary the Tiger|
East Central University (ECU or East Central) is a public university in Ada, Oklahoma. It is part of Oklahoma's Regional University System. Beyond its flagship campus is Ada, the university has courses available in McAlester, Shawnee, Ardmore, and Durant, as well as online courses. Nearly 4,500 students are enrolled in the school's undergraduate and graduate programs. Founded as East Central State Normal School in 1909, its present name was adopted in 1985. Some of its more famous alumni include former NFL player Mark Gastineau, past governors Robert S. Kerr and George Nigh, former U.S. Representative Lyle Boren, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Tom Colbert, and U.S. Army General James D. Thurman.
The university was founded as East Central State Normal School in 1909, two years after Oklahoma was admitted as the 46th U.S. state. It was one of the six newly created state funded normal schools that were designed to provide four years of "preparatory" (or high school) study, followed by two years of college work towards teacher certification. The school's establishment was the product of the intense lobbying efforts of the 25,000 Club, a local booster group. The club raised funds for faculty salaries so classes could begin that fall in local churches and public school classrooms. Graduates of the normal school program received lifetime teaching certification statewide. The 1910 Oklahoma Legislature funded faculty salaries and the construction of a building on a 16-acre (65,000 m2) site donated by a Chickasaw allottee. In 1919, the normal schools were authorized by the Oklahoma Legislature to offer four years of teacher education, to offer bachelor's degrees, and were designated teachers' colleges.
Expanding beyond education degrees, in 1939 the school became East Central State College. Fifteen years later, the regional colleges were allowed to offer graduate degrees. By 1974, the state legislature renamed the state colleges, and it became East Central Oklahoma State University—a name it retained until 1985 when it gained its present name.
ECU serves around 5,000 students and is perhaps best known internationally for its cartography program, as only a few such programs exist. ECU is also home to an Environmental Health Science Program, one of only 30 programs nationally accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council
East Central is divided into 5 academic units (three colleges and two schools) with 70 degree programs. They are:
- The Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business
- College of Education and Psychology
- College of Health and Sciences
- College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
- School of Graduate Studies
East Central is no longer one of four participating institutions offering courses at the Ardmore Higher Education Center. There are also Distance Education sites located in Shawnee, OK, through the Gordon Cooper Technology Center and McAlester, OK through the Eastern Oklahoma State College. ECU offers online graduate and undergraduate courses.
- Chi Omega Phi Theta Chapter Est. December 12, 1964
- Sigma Tau Gamma Tau Chapter Est. 1938
- Zeta Tau Alpha Zeta Theta Chapter Est. April 16, 1966
- Phi Kappa Tau - Gamma Xi Chapter - Est. April 15, 1966
- Pi Kappa Alpha - Epsilon Omega Chapter - Est. October 25, 1963
East Central's athletic teams (the "Tigers") have competed in the NCAA Division II Great American Conference (GAC) since 2011, after competing in the Lone Star Conference of the NCAA from 1995 to 2011. The university hosts 11 sports, 5 men's athletic programs and 6 programs for women. The school's football team won the NAIA national football championship in 1993. Athletics offices are located within the Kerr Activities Center.
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ECU has had several graduates move to political office, including five of alumni who were elected to the position of governor.
- Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation Governor
- Charles W. Blackwell (Class of 1964), first Ambassador of the Chickasaw Nation to the United States from 1995 until 2013.
- Lyle Boren, former U.S. Congressman
- Cindy Byrd, Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector
- Tom Colbert, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
- Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor
- Robert S. Kerr, former Governor of the State of Oklahoma, and U.S. Senator
- Ernest McFarland, former Arizona Governor
- George Nigh, former Governor of the State of Oklahoma
Several ECU grads have excelled in the area of professional sports:
- Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, former baseball player
- Armonty Bryant, Detroit Lions Defensive End
- Brad Calip, College Football Hall of Fame Football Player
- Mark Gastineau, former professional football player
- Todd Graham, former Arizona State Sun Devils Head Football Coach
- Dewey McClain, football player
- David Moore, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver
- Gil Morgan, professional golfer
- Cliff Thrift, former San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams professional football player
- Jerry Walker, former major league baseball player and front-office executive
- Lloyd Waner, baseball hall-of-famer
- Paul Waner, baseball hall-of-famer
Other notable alumni
- Wade Burleson, author, historian, and teacher
- Hallie Brown Ford, philanthropist
- Aaron Gwyn, professor and author
- Kenneth Hite, professional author and game designer.
- Jennifer McLoud-Mann, mathematician
- Leon Polk Smith, Artist
- Harland Stonecipher, Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Founder, Chairman & CEO
- Kevin Turner, senior executive with the Microsoft Corporation, and former president and chief executive officer of Sam's Club
- La Vern E. Weber, United States Army Lieutenant General and Chief of the National Guard Bureau
- "Faculty & Staff Directory". East Central University. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- About ECU Archived 2007-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, Eastern Central University (accessed June 9, 2010).
- Turner, Alvin O., "East Central University," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (accessed June 9, 2010).
- "NEHSPAC -". www.ehacoffice.org. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- "Academics-East Central University-Ada, Oklahoma". ecok.edu. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- "Distance Education-Centers and Programs-East Central University-Ada, Oklahoma". ecok.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-09-01. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- "Chickasaw Nation Ambassador Charles W. Blackwell – a Man of Vision". KXII. January 4, 2013. Archived from the original on January 8, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Ellis, Ashley. "Republican Cindy Byrd to be next Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector". KTUL. Retrieved January 29, 2019.