Celebrating 75 years of Educating Oklahoma’s Workforce

Join us in our year-long 75th anniversary celebration as we remember OSUIT’s commitment to building a globally competitive workforce.

Here, we’re sharing stories and memories that highlight the value and significance of what OSUIT has offered to our students, our community, our state and our country for more than seven decades.

Special events on campus and online will give you opportunity to reflect with us—commemorating our legacy, our innovation and our impact, and looking ahead at what the next 75 years will hold for OSUIT and those we serve.

Celebrate With Us

Participate in OSUIT’s 75th anniversary celebration

TRUE TO YOU at OSUIT

A Historical Perspective of 75 Years

Memories of osuit

Alumni and Retirees Share Their OSUIT Experience

I started the nursing program at OSUIT in 2018 with no idea what to expect or where it would lead me. That nursing program changed my life and I met some pretty amazing people. The instructors are so passionate about what they do and you can really tell. It was fantastic to have people who love what they do teaching me! I learned so much and moved up to a position as the Assistant Director of Nursing at the nursing home I’ve worked at for 4 years now. I love my job. Thank you OSUIT!

—Chelina Charles, ‘20

I chose OSUIT because I knew I would go there for two years, I’d have a paid internship, and I’d have a good guarantee for a job after I graduated—and that is exactly what happened.

—Matthew Henson, ‘12

My fourth semester was my favorite—we had a karaoke contest to raise money for the student nurse association. It was so fun, and everyone was so excited to almost be done. I had such a great experience at OSUIT!

—Jessica Cagnolatti, ‘17

I had a job waiting for me as soon as I got my diploma. OSUIT truly set me up for my career and got me where I am today.

—Jennifer Matthews, ‘08

“I went through my program with a great group of people. We had most of our classes together and hung out after class at events on campus or at the lake. And I loved the bakery! They had the best cream horns and pizza bread. Great memories going there for lunch and sitting on the lawn between Culinary and the Library!” 

—Dollene Duff, ’86

OSUIT’s diverse curriculum broadened my scope of future job opportunities. Great instructors provided patient classroom education. I met other students, some of whom are still close friends after nearly 50 years. I was past president of the Data Processing Management Association while on campus.

—James LeGate, ‘72

I attended two different times. My first time was Spring of 1981 and I was in the Drafting program. After completing service with the Marine Corps I started back with the Construction Technology program in 1992 and graduated 1994. I saw the campus with the ramps and leaking roofs and then the new campus. Both of my parents attended OSU or Oklahoma Tech in the 1950s. My mother was in the secretarial program and my father was in plumbing.

—Timothy Meltabarger, ‘94

Some of my best memories were with the Phi Theta Kappa honor society! I was an officer. I made many friends and had many enjoyable experiences. I was able to serve through the organization. It was definitely a highlight of my college experience.

—William Groenveld, ‘15

Wow, Oklahoma State Tech was just what I needed post high school. When I arrived on campus I found both instructors and students with passions similar to me. My time there really changed my life for the better. I loved it so much that when I was in the position to bring my company’s program there I did. And, as expected, OSUIT delivered industry leading technicians.

—Kurt White, ‘83

Have a story to share? Submit your memories of life at OSUIT.

From The Archives

Explore our 75-year history through photos, videos, news clippings and other memorabilia collected and stored by the OSUIT Library Archives.

March 1968: Tulsa World | “Tech’s Graduates Remain in State”

March 1968: Tulsa World | “Tech’s Graduates Remain in State”

This Tulsa World article dated March 3, 1968 shows how OSUIT has always been the university of jobs. "Oklahoma State Tech is confident it's doing perhaps the best job of any institution supporting Oklahoma's industrial growth." Tulsa World Article - March 3, 1968...

Slide OSUIT began in 1946—and our development as an institution has evolved greatly since those first days. 1946 The Okmulgee campus was the brainchild of OSU President H.G. Bennett, who when faced with overcrowding on the Stillwater campus following WWII, located and purchased this property from Army Surplus for $1. L. Keith Covelle was named the first president (then known as director) of the Oklahoma A&M College School of Technical Training. The hospital covered slightly more than 600,000 square feet, 80 buildings, all connected with some 8,000 feet of covered ramps, equivalent to twenty-six city blocks. 1946 Slide Classes officially began at Oklahoma A&M College School of Technical Training for 500 students, all WWII veterans. Production agriculture programs along with mechanical programs, such as diesel mechanics, were offered for those veterans desiring to return to rural Oklahoma as farmers and ranchers. For those veterans with disabilities, programs of jewelry design and watch repair, shoe repair, dry cleaning and small engine repair were offered. Even though 142 students had previously graduated, the first official graduation ceremony for the School was held on January 14. In the photo, Oliver Gilliam receives his bakery diploma from Director Covelle. The automotive parts department began in 1958 as a means to establish the campus’s own parts inventory and to use that inventory for instructional purposes. 1946 In February 1948, a program in jewelry manufacture and repair was established to provide for the training of disabled veterans. This program would evolve into the Watchmaking & Microtechnology program and was sponsored by Rolex until it closed in 2018. 1948 1949 1958 Slide In 1963, Wayne W. Miller became the second president of Oklahoma State Tech.
The Technicians pep band supported OSU Tech’s varsity sports between 1968 and 1971. During Miller’s twenty-year tenure, millions of dollars’ worth of instructional equipment was added, student enrollment tripled and nine new facilities were constructed including new student housing.
1963 The Red Door was dedicated September 18 and provided kitchen laboratory space and dining accommodations for 238 guests. Glass windows partitioned the kitchen and allowed diners to view the culinary students at work. 1964 1968 1975
Slide The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved the institution to offer classes for college credit and to award the Associate in Applied Science. The branch campus was also given five-year provisional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Dr. Bob Klabenes became the third president of what was then referred to as OSU Tech.
Toyota agreed to establish its first international partnership with OSU Tech. It would be the first of many industry sponsorships that would soon serve as a model for technical education worldwide. Industry partnerships provide the institution with millions of dollars in equipment, student scholarships and support for faculty. Today, OSUIT is proud to have more than 700 industry representatives that serve on advisory boards for each academic program of study. 1979 The commercial refrigeration class taught by Robert Nichols made a giant 268-pound strawberry popsicle that was transported to the center of campus by forklift. Miss Oklahoma State Tech Lora Chambers took the first lick before it was reduced to hundreds of snow cones for students to enjoy. 1980 1983 1985 . The campus’s first fundraising campaign in the community of Okmulgee was organized to help build a Student Union. One million dollars was raised in a single day. The new Student Union was occupied in 1990, and to this day, dedicated space is available for community use at no cost.
1987
Slide Culinary Arts students collaborated with the Okmulgee community to set the Guinness Record for world’s largest pecan pie during the annual Pecan Festival downtown. The Noble Center for Advancing Technology was funded by a series of gifts and grants from the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and dedicated in 1995. During Klabenes’ 27-year tenure, the campus underwent $150 million in new construction and remodeling projects. Dr. Klabenes also facilitated the establishment of Green Country Technology Center, the College of the Muscogee Nation and the OSUIT MidAmerica Industrial Park Advanced Training Center. 1988 The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded the campus $8.1M to build and equip the Donald W. Reynolds Technology Center. At the time, the award was the largest private grant given to a public institution of higher education in Oklahoma. 1995 1995 2000 Slide The Miller-Kamm Residence Hall opened in August 2001. 2001 Governor Brad Henry signed the legislation on June 25, 2008, that legally changed the name of the institution to Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT). This was the first legal name change of the institution since it was founded in 1946. 2008 . OSUIT was approved for the Bachelor of Technology degree in selected disciplines. Earning the right to offer this degree was a 10 year study and effort to gain approval, which included the administration visiting the presidents of nearly all public four-year institutions in Oklahoma to ask for their support. 2010 The 25,000-square-foot Nursing & Health Sciences building was dedicated in 2010 and is outfitted with two high-fidelity patient simulators which provide realistic patient care scenarios for students. 2010 Slide Dr. Bill R. Path became the fourth president of OSU Institute of Technology and led the development of an ambitious strategic plan to provide advanced technical education and enhance OSUIT's position in meeting global workforce demands. The Pipeline Integrity program was added in 2013. OSUIT’s 200th graduation event took place in April 2015.
2011 The newest instructional space on campus, The Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center, was dedicated on September 25, 2013.
2013 2013 2015
Slide The Pistol Pete Plaza was dedicated on October 26, 2015. OSUIT introduced the new online Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technical Leadership for Fall 2019. Developed in direct collaboration with OSUIT’s industry partners, the accelerated degree program is uniquely designed to address the needs of professionals working in technical industries who wish to advance into leadership roles. 2015 The Grand Old Post Office Student Housing building in downtown Okmulgee was dedicated Nov 28, 2017. The loft-style housing was originally a two-building complex built in 1918 and 1919. The adaptative reuse project repurposed materials original to the building and its previous tenant, the original Okmulgee post office.
2017 2019 .

Timeline

The Okmulgee campus was the brainchild of OSU President H.G. Bennett, who when faced with overcrowding on the Stillwater campus following WWII, located and purchased this property from Army Surplus for $1.

1946

The hospital covered slightly more than 600,000 square feet, 80 buildings, all connected with some 8,000 feet of covered ramps, equivalent to twenty-six city blocks.

1946

L. Keith Covelle was named the first president (then known as director) of the Oklahoma A&M College School of Technical Training.

1946

Classes officially began at Oklahoma A&M College School of Technical Training for 500 students, all WWII veterans. Production agriculture programs along with mechanical programs, such as diesel mechanics, were offered for those veterans desiring to return to rural Oklahoma as farmers and ranchers. For those veterans with disabilities, programs of jewelry design and watch repair, shoe repair, dry cleaning and small engine repair were offered.

1948

In February 1948, a program in jewelry manufacture and repair was established to provide for the training of disabled veterans. This program would evolve into the Watchmaking & Microtechnology program and was sponsored by Rolex until it closed in 2018.

1949

Even though 142 students had previously graduated, the first official graduation ceremony for the School was held on January 14. In the photo, Oliver Gilliam receives his bakery diploma from Director Covelle.

1958

The automotive parts department began in 1958 as a means to establish the campus’s own parts inventory and to use that inventory for instructional purposes.

1963

In 1963, Wayne W. Miller became the second president of Oklahoma State Tech.

1964

The Red Door was dedicated September 18 and provided kitchen laboratory space and dining accommodations for 238 guests. Glass windows partitioned the kitchen and allowed diners to view the culinary students at work.

1968

The Technicians pep band supported OSU Tech’s varsity sports between 1968 and 1971.

1975

During Miller’s twenty-year tenure, millions of dollars’ worth of instructional equipment was added, student enrollment tripled and nine new facilities were constructed including new student housing.

1979

During Miller’s twenty-year tenure, millions of dollars’ worth of instructional equipment was added, student enrollment tripled and nine new facilities were constructed including new student housing.

1980

The commercial refrigeration class taught by Robert Nichols made a giant 268-pound strawberry popsicle that was transported to the center of campus by forklift. Miss Oklahoma State Tech Lora Chambers took the first lick before it was reduced to hundreds of snow cones for students to enjoy.

1983

Dr. Bob Klabenes became the third president of what was then referred to as OSU Tech.ch.

1987

The campus’s first fundraising campaign in the community of Okmulgee was organized to help build a Student Union. One million dollars was raised in a single day. The new Student Union was occupied in 1990, and to this day, dedicated space is available for community use at no cost.

1988

Culinary Arts students collaborated with the Okmulgee community to set the Guinness Record for world’s largest pecan pie during the annual Pecan Festival downtown.

1995

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded the campus $8.1M to build and equip the Donald W. Reynolds Technology Center. At the time, the award was the largest private grant given to a public institution of higher education in Oklahoma.

1995

The Noble Center for Advancing Technology was funded by a series of gifts and grants from the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and dedicated in 1995.

2000

During Klabenes’ 27-year tenure, the campus underwent $150 million in new construction and remodeling projects. Dr. Klabenes also facilitated the establishment of Green Country Technology Center, the College of the Muscogee Nation and the OSUIT MidAmerica Industrial Park Advanced Training Center.

2001

The Miller-Kamm Residence Hall opened in August 2001.

2008

Governor Brad Henry signed the legislation on June 25, 2008, that legally changed the name of the institution to Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT). This was the first legal name change of the institution since it was founded in 1946.

2010

OSUIT was approved for the Bachelor of Technology degree in selected disciplines. Earning the right to offer this degree was a 10 year study and effort to gain approval, which included the administration visiting the presidents of nearly all public four-year institutions in Oklahoma to ask for their support.

2010

The 25,000-square-foot Nursing & Health Sciences building was dedicated in 2010 and is outfitted with two high-fidelity patient simulators which provide realistic patient care scenarios for students.

2011

Dr. Bill R. Path became the fourth president of OSU Institute of Technology and led the development of an ambitious strategic plan to provide advanced technical education and enhance OSUIT’s position in meeting global workforce demands.

2013

The newest instructional space on campus, The Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center, was dedicated on September 25, 2013.

2013

The Pipeline Integrity program was added in 2013.

2015

OSUIT’s 200th graduation event took place in April 2015.

2015

The Pistol Pete Plaza was dedicated on October 26, 2015.

2017

The Grand Old Post Office Student Housing building in downtown Okmulgee was dedicated Nov 28, 2017. The loft-style housing was originally a two-building complex built in 1918 and 1919. The adaptative reuse project repurposed materials original to the building and its previous tenant, the original Okmulgee post office.

2019

OSUIT introduced the new online Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technical Leadership for Fall 2019. Developed in direct collaboration with OSUIT’s industry partners, the accelerated degree program is uniquely designed to address the needs of professionals working in technical industries who wish to advance into leadership roles.

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