East Central University
|President||John R. Hargrave|
|Provost||Katricia G. Pierson|
|Students||4,447 (2015) |
|Location||Ada, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|Colors||Orange and Black|
|Mascot||Roary the Tiger|
|Affiliations||Great American Conference|
East Central University (shortened to ECU or East Central) is a public, co-educational teaching university located in Ada, in the south central region of the U.S. State of Oklahoma. East Central one of the six universities that are 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 provided 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.
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
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 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
- 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
- Kappa Kappa Psi Gamma Theta Chapter
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 13 sports, 6 men's athletic programs and 7 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.
ECU has had several graduates move to political office, including five of alumni who were elected to the position of Governor.
- Robert S. Kerr, former Governor of the State of Oklahoma, and U.S. Senator
- George Nigh, former Governor of the State of Oklahoma
- Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation Governor
- Ernest McFarland, former Arizona Governor
- Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor
- Lyle Boren, former U.S. Congressman
- Tom Colbert, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
- Charles W. Blackwell (Class of 1964), first Ambassador of the Chickasaw Nation to the United States from 1995 until 2013.
Several ECU grads have excelled in the area of professional sports
- Gil Morgan, professional golfer
- Mark Gastineau, former professional football player
- Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, former baseball player
- Todd Graham, Arizona State Sun Devils Head Football Coach
- Dewey McClain, football player
- Armonty Bryant, Cleveland Browns Defensive End
- Brad Calip, College Football Hall of Fame Football Player
- Cliff Thrift, former San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams professional football player
- Lloyd Waner, baseball hall-of-famer
- Paul Waner, baseball hall-of-famer
Other Notable Alumni
- Hallie Brown Ford, philanthropist
- Aaron Gwyn, professor and author
- Kenneth Hite, professional author and game designer.
- 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
- About ECU, Eastern Central University (accessed June 9, 2010).
- Turner, Alvin O., "East Central University," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (accessed June 9, 2010).
- Academics-East Central University-Ada, Oklahoma
- EHAC Office
- Distance Education-Centers and Programs-East Central University-Ada, Oklahoma
- "Chickasaw Nation Ambassador Charles W. Blackwell – a Man of Vision". KXII. 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-01-20.