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University of Oklahoma

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma (OU) is a coeducational public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it had existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. As of 2007 the university had 29,931 students enrolled, most located at its main campus in Norman. Employing nearly 3,000 faculty members, the school offers 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master's programs, 75 doctorate programs, and 20 majors at the first professional level. David Lyle Boren, a former U.S. Senator and Oklahoma Governor, has served as President of the University of Oklahoma since 1994.

The school is ranked first among public universities in enrollment of National Merit Scholars and among the top ten in the graduation of Rhodes Scholars. PC Magazine and the Princeton Review rated it one of the "20 Most Wired Colleges" in both 2006 and 2008, while the Carnegie Foundation classifies it as a research university with "very high research activity." Located on its Norman campus are two prominent museums, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, specializing in French Impressionism and Native American artwork, and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, specializing in the natural history of Oklahoma.

The school, well known for its athletic programs, has won 7 NCAA Division I National Football Championships. Its baseball team has won 2 NCAA national championships and the women's softball team won the national championship in 2000 and 2013. The gymnastics teams have won four national championships since 2002 and its football program has the best winning percentage of any Division I-FBS team since the introduction of the AP Poll in 1936, playing in four BCS national championship games since the inception of the BCS system in 1998.

With the support of Governor George Washington Steele, on December 18, 1890 the Oklahoma Territorial legislature established three universities: the state university in Norman, the agricultural and mechanical college in Stillwater (later renamed Oklahoma State University) and a normal school in Edmond (later renamed University of Central Oklahoma). Oklahoma's admission into the union in 1907 led to the renaming of the Norman Territorial University as the University of Oklahoma. Norman residents donated 407 acres (1.6 km2) of land for the university 0.5 miles (0.8 km) south of the Norman railroad depot. The university's first president ordered the planting of numerous trees before the construction of the first campus building because he "could not visualize a treeless university seat." Landscaping remains important to the university.

The university's first president, David Ross Boyd, arrived in Norman in August 1892 and the first students enrolled that year. The university established a School of Pharmacy in 1893 because of high demand for pharmacists in the territory. Three years later, the university awarded its first degree to a pharmaceutical chemist. The "Rock Building" in downtown Norman held the initial classes until the university's first building opened on September 6, 1893. On January 6, 1903, the university's only building burned down and destroyed many records of the early university. Construction began immediately on a new building, as several other towns hoped to capitalize by convincing the university to move. President Boyd and the faculty were not dismayed by the loss. Mathematics professor Frederick Elder said, "What do you need to keep classes going? Two yards of blackboard and a box of chalk." As a response to the fire, English professor Vernon Louis Parrington created a plan for the future development of the campus. Most of the plan was never implemented, but Parrington's suggestion for the campus core formed the basis for the North Oval. The North and South Ovals are now distinctive features of the campus.

The campus has a distinctive architecture, with buildings designed in a unique Cherokee Gothic style. The style has many features of the Gothic era but has also mixed the designs of local Native American tribes from Oklahoma. This term was coined by the renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright when he visited the campus.

The University has built over a dozen buildings in the Cherokee Gothic style.

Presidents of the University of Oklahoma David Ross Boyd, 1892–1908 A. Grant Evans, 1908–1912 Stratton D. Brooks, 1912–1923 James S. Buchanan, 1923–1925 William Bennett Bizzell, 1925–1941 Joseph A. Brandt, 1941–1943 George Lynn Cross, 1943–1968 John Herbert Hollomon, 1968–1970 Paul F. Sharp, 1971–1977 William S. Banowsky, 1978–1984 Frank E. Horton, 1985–1988 Richard L. Van Horn, 1989–1994 David Boren, 1994–present

In 1907, Oklahoma entered statehood, fostering changes in the political atmosphere of the state. Up until this point, Oklahoma's Republican tendencies changed with the election of Oklahoma's first governor, the Democratic Charles N. Haskell. Since the inception of the university, different groups on campus were divided by religion. Early in the university's existence, many professors were Presbyterian, as was Boyd. Under pressure, Boyd eventually hired several Baptists and Southern Methodists. The Presbyterians and Baptists got along but the Southern Methodists conflicted with the administration. Two notable Methodists, Rev. Nathaniel Lee Linebaugh and Professor Ernest Taylor Bynum, were critics of Boyd and activists in Haskell's election campaign. When Haskell took office, he fired many of the Republicans at the university, including President Boyd.

The campus expanded over the next several decades. By 1932, the university encompassed 167 acres (0.7 km2). Development of South Oval allowed for the southern expansion of the campus. The University built a new library on the oval's north end in 1936. Then President Bizzell was able to get the Oklahoma legislature to approve $500,000 for the new library up from their original offer of $200,000. This allowed for an even greater collection of research materials for students and faculty.

Like many universities, OU had a drop in enrollment during World War II. Enrollment in 1945 dropped to 3,769, from its pre–World War II high of 6,935 in 1939.

Many infrastructure changes have occurred at the university. The southern portion of south campus in the vicinity of Constitution Avenue, still known to long-time Norman residents as 'South Base', was originally built as an annex to Naval Air Station Norman. It contained mostly single-story frame buildings used for classrooms and military housing. By the late 1980s, most were severely deteriorated and were demolished in the 1990s to make room for redevelopment. The Jimmie Austin University of Oklahoma Golf Course was built as a U.S. Navy recreational facility.

During World War II, OU was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

The north campus and airfield were built in the early 1940s as Naval Air Station Norman. The station served mainly an advanced flight training mission and could handle all but the largest bombers. A large earthen mound east of Interstate 35 and north of Robinson Street, colloquially known as 'Mount Williams', was used as a gunnery (the mound has since been removed to make way for a commercial development). In the post–World War II demobilization, the university received the installation. Naval aviator's wings displayed at the entrance to the terminal commemorates this airfield's Naval past.

After the World War, a period of rapid growth occurred on the campus and enrollment surged. By 1965, enrollment had risen over 450% to 17,268, causing housing shortages. In the mid-1960s, the administration completed construction of three new 12-story dormitories located immediately south of the South Oval. In addition to these three towers, an apartment complex was completed that housed married students, including men returning to college under the GI Bill. These apartments are now Kraettli Apartments.

In 1943 George Lynn Cross took over as president of the University, two years after the U.S. entered World War II. He served until 1968, 25 years later, becoming the longest-serving president in history of the university. Five presidents served in the next 25 years. In 1994, the university hired a president who has stayed longer.

The African American Civil Rights Movement began a new era as the university began policies against racial discrimination and segregation after legal challenges and court cases outlawed discrimination. The Bizzell Memorial Library has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in commemoration of the cases of G. W. McLaurin, a black man who was denied admission to graduate school in 1948. It was then state law that no school should serve both white and black students, but there were few or no separate graduate programs available for blacks. A court case effectively forced the Board of Regents to vote to admit McLaurin, but he was directed to study in a separated area within the law library and to be allowed to lunch only in a segregated area as well. The National Association for Advancement of Colored People brought the case to the U.S. Supreme court in McLaurin vs. Oklahoma State Board of Regents. In 1950, the court overturned the university's policy for segregation at the graduate school level. The case was an important precedent for the more famous and sweeping 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education which disallowed "separate but equal" policy at all school levels.

Since David Boren became President in 1994, the University of Oklahoma system has experienced tremendous growth, with an increase in new developments throughout including the purchase of 60 acres (0.2 km2) for OU-Tulsa, the new Gaylord Hall, Price Hall, the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility, Devon Energy Hall, the Wagner Student Academic Services Center, the Research and Medical Clinic, the expansions of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, and the National Weather Center.

The class of 2013 is the largest incoming freshmen class in University of Oklahoma history with more than 4,200 students, more than 190 National Merit Scholars and more than 300 State Regents Scholars among the freshmen. In the past 4 years there have been $2 billion in private donations and 10 times as many Rhodes Scholars as any other university in Oklahoma.