CLAREMORE — What is now called Rogers State University has seen many incarnations in its 100 years — from one building on College Hill to an expanding campus serving more than 4,000 students.
The school officially celebrated its centennial Wednesday, under the direction of a man who began his higher education career in 1979 as a professor at what was then Claremore Junior College. "We have a wonderful legacy,” RSU President Larry Rice said recently. "It’s a beautiful campus.” It opened March 25, 1909, as Eastern University Preparatory School. It became Oklahoma Military Academy 10 years later, and was a military institution into the 1970s. It became a junior college in 1971, and then a four-year university in 2000. "It really has changed in the years since it became a regional university,” the school’s president said. Enrollment has risen about 70 percent since 2000. Sports have returned, with the men’s basketball team nationally ranked in its division this year. Recent construction has included housing, a library and a student center. RSU also has campuses in Pryor and Bartlesville and was the state’s first public university to offer bachelor’s and associate’s degrees entirely with online classes. John Wooley, who wrote a book about the school’s past, said his study revealed a complex story. "I don’t know of any other school in Oklahoma that has such a rich history,” he said. RSU’s history includes troubled phases.
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IF YOU GOSunday’s centennial events Noon to 5 p.m.: Free guided tours of the Oklahoma Military Academy Museum, Meyer Hall Noon to 2 p.m.: Student center open for lunch 2 p.m.: Film premiere of "RSU: The First 100 Years,” Student center ballroom