East Central University

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East Central University
East Central logo.png
AffiliationRegional University System of Oklahoma
Endowment$35,564,099 [1]
PresidentKatricia G. Pierson
ProvostBrenda Sherbourne
Administrative staff
663 [2]
Students4,450 (2015) [3]
Location, ,
United States
CampusCollege Town
ColorsOrange and Black          
AffiliationsGreat American Conference
MascotRoary 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.[4] 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.[5] The club raised funds for faculty salaries so classes could begin that fall in local churches and public school classrooms.[5] Graduates of the normal school program received lifetime teaching certification statewide.[4] 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.[5] 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.[4]

Expanding beyond education degrees, in 1939 the school became East Central State College.[5] 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.[4]


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[6]

A full-size tiger statue in the center of Frank R. Crabtree Sr. Honor Plaza, directly in front of the old Science Hall

East Central is divided into 5 academic units (three colleges and two schools) with 70 degree programs.[7] 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

Other campuses[edit]

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.[8] ECU offers online graduate and undergraduate courses.



Division II game between East Central and NSU.

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.

Notable alumni[edit]


ECU has had several graduates move to political office, including five of alumni who were elected to the position of governor.

Professional sports[edit]

Several ECU grads have excelled in the area of professional sports:

Other notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.ecok.edu/sites/default/files/website_files/ECU_Foundation/2019-FS-6-30-ECU%20Foundation%2C%20Inc.-FINAL.pdf
  2. ^ "Faculty & Staff Directory". East Central University. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c d About ECU Archived 2007-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, Eastern Central University (accessed June 9, 2010).
  5. ^ a b c d Turner, Alvin O., "East Central University," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (accessed June 9, 2010).
  6. ^ "NEHSPAC -". www.ehacoffice.org. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  7. ^ "Academics-East Central University-Ada, Oklahoma". ecok.edu. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  8. ^ "Distance Education-Centers and Programs-East Central University-Ada, Oklahoma". ecok.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-09-01. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ Ellis, Ashley. "Republican Cindy Byrd to be next Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector". KTUL. Retrieved January 29, 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°46′28″N 96°39′53″W / 34.77444°N 96.66472°W / 34.77444; -96.66472