Southeastern Oklahoma State University

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Southeastern Oklahoma
State University
SEOSU seal.png
Motto Where Your Story Begins
Established 1909
Type Public
President Sean Burrage
All campus enrollment 4,000
Academic staff 237
Location Durant, Oklahoma, USA
Campus Rural 269 acres (1.09 km2)
Colors          Blue and gold
Nickname The Campus of a Thousand Magnolias; School of the Rising Sun[1]
Mascot Bolt, The Savage Storm Mascot

Southeastern Oklahoma State University, often referred to as Southeastern and abbreviated as SE, or SOSU, is a public university located in Durant, Oklahoma, with an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 4,000 as of Fall 2014.[2]


Morrison Hall.

On March 6, 1909, the Second Oklahoma State Legislature approved an act designating Durant as the location for a normal school to serve the following 12-county region: Atoka, Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Latimer, LeFlore, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, McIntosh, Pittsburg, and Pushmataha. Southeastern Oklahoma State University first opened its doors to students on June 14, 1909,[1] as Southeastern State Normal School. The early program of instruction consisted of four years of high school and the freshman and sophomore college years. The first sessions of the school were held in temporary quarters pending completion of Morrison Hall in January, 1911, long known as the Administration Building.

The original purpose of Southeastern was the education of teachers for the public schools of Oklahoma. The two-year graduates were awarded life teaching certificates. In 1921, the institution became a four-year college and was renamed Southeastern State Teachers College. Construction on the college's library, now the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library, was completed in 1928. The primary function remained that of teacher education and the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Education and Bachelor of Science in Education were authorized.[1]

The purpose of the college was expanded in 1939. Courses leading to two newly authorized non-education degrees - Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science - were added. At this time, the college was renamed Southeastern State College. In 1954, the curriculum was enlarged by the addition of a graduate program leading to the Master of Teaching degree. In 1969, the name of the degree was changed to Master of Education.[1]

Bennett Memorial Library.

On May 27, 1968, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education designated Southeastern as an Area Community College. While retaining previous functions, the college moved in the direction of providing greater post-secondary educational opportunities by expanding its curriculum to include new programs in areas such as business, technology, aviation, and conservation.

In 1971, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education requested that the state supported institutions of higher education review and evaluate their functions as members of the State System of Higher Education. Upon completion of the review, a comprehensive “Plan for the Seventies” was prepared by each institution and submitted to the Regents. On June 1, 1972, Southeastern submitted its plan to the Regents which was, subsequently, approved on March 29, 1973. The Master of Education degree was changed to the Master of Behavioral Studies and, subsequently, the University was approved to offer a graduate program in business which culminated in the degree of Master of Administrative Studies. Four options of the Master of Behavioral Studies degree were renamed Master of Education in August, 1979. The Master of Administrative Studies degree was revised and renamed Master of Business Administration in August, 1996.[1]

On August 15, 1974, the name of Southeastern State College was changed to Southeastern Oklahoma State University by an act of the Oklahoma State Legislature. Since 1974, Southeastern, through institutional reorganizations, has continued to diversify, so that, presently, there are three academic schools: Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education and Behavioral Science.[1]

SOSU viewed from First Avenue.

After the long 20 year tenure of President Leon Hibbs, Dr. Larry Williams served ten years as Southeastern's President. Dr. Glen D. Johnson served Southeastern for 9 years then in 2007 assumed the duties of Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System for Higher Education. Dr. Jesse Snowden succeeded Johnson as interim president. Dr. Michael Turner was selected as SE president in 2008 and inaugurated in January 2009. He announced his resignation June 2009, and Regents named Dr. Larry Minks as interim president. Minks served as president through June 30, 2014, and Sean Burrage began duties as the 20th president on July 1, 2014.


  1. Marcus E. Moore, 1909–1911[3]
  2. Edmund Dandridge Murdaugh, 1911–1914[3]
  3. William C. Canterbury, 1914–1915[3]
  4. Andrew S. Faulkner, 1915–1916[3]
  5. T. D. Brooks, 1916–1919[3]
  6. Henry Garland Bennett, 1919–1928[3]
  7. Eugene S. Briggs, 1928–1933[3]
  8. Wade H. Schumate, 1933–1935[3]
  9. Kate Galt Zaneis, May 1935 to July 1937.[3]
  10. W. B. Morrison, Summer 1937[3]
  11. H. Vance Posey, 1937–1939[3]
  12. T. T. Montgomery, 1939–1952[3]
  13. Alan E. Shearer, 1952–1967[3]
  14. Elvin Leon Hibbs 1969 to April 1987[3]
  15. Larry Williams, May 1987 to June 1997
  16. Glen D. Johnson, Jr., July 1997 to December 2006
  17. Jesse Snowden (Interim) January 2007 to December 2007
  18. Michael Turner, January 2008 to June 2009
  19. Larry Minks, 2009–2014
  20. Sean Burrage, 2014-present


Southeastern offers associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree in a variety of disciplines. The university is a leader in education, aviation, and business administration studies, and is the only university in Oklahoma to offer a Master of Science in Aviation.

Class size[edit]

64% of the classes have fewer than 30 students; less than three percent of classes have more than 50 students. The student to faculty ratio is 19:1.

Additional facilities[edit]

SE has additional teaching facilities in the following location:[2]

  • McCurtain County branch campus (Idabel)
  • University Center of Southern Oklahoma (Ardmore)
  • Eastern Oklahoma College (McAlester)
  • Tinker Air Force Base and Rose State College (Midwest City)
  • Oklahoma City Community College
  • Grayson College (Denison and Van Alstyne, Texas)

Greek life[edit]

Southeastern currently has three fraternities and two sororities on campus.

Fraternities: Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Tau Gamma, and Tau Kappa Epsilon

Sororities: Alpha Sigma Tau and Sigma Sigma Sigma

Southeastern also has honorary fraternities on campus. Kappa Kappa Psi, Alpha Eta Rho, Alpha Psi Omega, and Sigma Tau Delta


Athletics logo

SE is currently a member of the NCAA Division II Great American Conference. The Savage Storm participate in baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, men's and women's tennis, men's golf, rodeo, women's cross country, softball, cheerleading and women's volleyball.

Controversies and criticism[edit]

Conduct policy[edit]

Southeastern has a zero tolerance policy regarding student conduct. Punishments occur for violations of campus regulations including punishments of alleged violations which cannot be appealed, as per the guidelines set by the Regional University System of Oklahoma. Controversy occurred after Football player Justin Pitrucha was suspended following felony charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute within 2,000 feet of a school.[4]However, the charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor[5] and Pitrucha was reinstated.

Due Process[edit]

SE generated media attention in 2013 when the NAACP [6] and Reverends Marshall Hatch and Ira Acree of the National Action Network[7] spoke on behalf of five African-American college football students attending Southeastern, one of whom was from Chicago, Illinois, regarding an incident which occurred in April 2, 2013. According to Durant Police, several people reported masked men came to their residences and demanded money and cell phones.[8] The students were suspended, scholarships revoked, and hold felony-conspiracy charges of burglary and assault beginning June 27, 2013. Arlene Barnum of the NAACP contested under grounds based on the denial of the right to an attorney during disciplinary proceedings. Members of The NAACP protested on the SOSU campus.[9] All five were charged in June with felony conspiracy to engage in a pattern of criminal offenses plus misdemeanor charges of wearing a mask, hood or covering for the purposes of coercion, intimidation or harassment, and four counts of assault and battery.[6] During a preliminary hearing on October 16, 2013 all five men entered no-contest pleas to misdemeanor charges. The felony charges against them were dismissed as part of a plea agreement and each was given three-year deferred sentences on the misdemeanor charges and also sentenced to 90 days in jail.[8]

ADA compliance[edit]

SE has had controversy regarding the condition of its sidewalks. The sidewalks were cracked severely and became unleveled which caused problems for people with limited mobility.[10] The sidewalk condition has existed since 1995. Another issue has been steep ramps and faulty elevators. All issues were addressed in 2007 after renovations began. In 2014, the self-study survey for HLC accreditation (issued to faculty, students, and staff) indicated that 89% of respondents think the campus is more accessible to individuals with disabilities than it was ten years prior.[11]

Tenure denial controversy for transgender professor[edit]

In April 2011, Dr. Rachel Tudor, an Assistant Professor of English, Humanities and Literature was denied tenure despite having been recommended for promotion and tenure twice in the last two years by the Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee, based on the university's criteria of teaching, scholarship and service. The Committee, whose positive recommendations for tenure routinely approved by the Administration was overruled by the vice president of academic affairs Dr. Douglas McMillan, who had previously inquired with the university's Human Resources Department whether Dr. Tudor could be terminated because her lifestyle "offends his Baptist beliefs." Justifying the tenure denial, McMillan has claimed that Tudor was unqualified, despite the original Tenure and Promotion Committee's findings, those of the Faculty Appeals Committee, and a resolution by the Faculty Senate in support of Tudor's application. Dr. Tudor has not worked at SOSU since May 2011, and has brought her case to the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission, the US Department of Education, and the EEOC.[12][13][14]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Norris, L. David. "Southeastern Oklahoma State University". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Southeastern Oklahoma State University. About Southeastern. General Information. Retrieved December 20, 2013
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Norris, L.David (1986). A History of Southeastern Oklahoma State University Since 1909. Durant, Oklahoma: Mesa Publishing Company. p. 439. ISBN 978-0-930719-10-4. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ [1] On September 5, 2012, the EEOC issued a "Determination" that states Southeastern Oklahoma State University terminated Dr. Tudor's employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. The EEOC specifically cited sex discrimination, religious discrimination, and retaliation. Although Dr. Tudor welcomed the EEOC's conciliation offers, Southeastern rejected the EEOC's best efforts. The EEOC forwarded the case to the Department of Justice for consideration. Weiss, Jillian T. "Oklahoma English Prof Denied Tenure at Public College Based On Gender Identity". Bilerico Project. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 
  13. ^ [2] Dyer-Fisher, Kim. "Transgender Professor Denied Tenure, Terminated". Daily O'Collegian. Oklahoma State University. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 
  14. ^ Savage, Dan. "Outrageous Case of Anti-Trans Discrimination at Southeastern Oklahoma State University". The Stranger. Index Newspapers. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°00′23″N 96°22′41″W / 34.00639°N 96.37806°W / 34.00639; -96.37806