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East Central University

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History of ECU

East Central University was one of three normal schools established in eastern Oklahoma in 1909. Three similar institutions had been established earlier in the western half of the new state; each provided preparatory education including two years of college leading to teacher certification.

Ada's selection as the college's location followed intensive lobbying efforts by the 25,000 Club, a local booster club which also raised funds for faculty salaries so classes could begin that fall in local churches and public school classrooms. The 1910 legislature appropriated funds for faculty salaries and construction of a building which was completed later that year on a sixteen acre site which had been donated by Dan Hayes, a Chickasaw allottee.

In 1919 the six normal schools became teachers' colleges and began to confer bachelors degrees. In 1939 they added degree programs in Arts and Sciences and were designated as state colleges. In 1954 the six colleges were authorized to offer their first graduate work in a fifth-year program for teachers. Other master's degrees have since been added. In 1974 East Central became East Central Oklahoma State University which was changed to East Central University in 1985.

East Central has had only six presidents during its history: Charles Biles; James Gordon; Adolph Linschied; Charles Spencer; Stanley Wagner; and, Bill Cole. Distinguished alumni include three governors. Those serving Oklahoma were Robert S. Kerr, who is also noted for his career in the U. S. Senate, and George Nigh. Ernest McFarland, governor and U.S. Senator from Arizona, was a class mate of Kerr's. Varied Chickasaw and Choctaw governors and officials also graduated from the university. Other East Central distinctives include pioneering efforts among Oklahoma universities promoting access to handicapped students and the development of corresponding undergraduate and graduate degree programs for rehabilitation services, services to the deaf, and similar areas. Today the campus consists of 37 buildings on 135 acres; the university typically enrolls more than 4,000 students per semester.

Alvin O. Turner


Biles, J. Hugh. The Early History of Ada. (Oklahoma State Bank, 1954).

Boeger, Palmer, et. al. The East Central Story. (East Central University, 1984).

East Central University, 2002-03 Catalog. (East Central University, Ada, OK, 2002).

A History of Pontotoc County, unpublished Master's Thesis. (Oklahoma State U, 1940).

Kroeker, Marvin E. and Guy W. Logsdon. Ada, Oklahoma, Queen City of the Chickasaw Nation. (Donning Co., 1998).

Mission Statement

The East Central University Mission Statement

Mission Statement
East Central University's mission is to foster a learning environment in which students, faculty, staff, and community interact to educate students for life in a rapidly changing and culturally diverse society.  Within its service area, East Central University provides leadership for economic development and cultural enhancement.

Affirmative Action Compliance Statement
East Central University, in compliance with the Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended), Executive Order 11246 (as amended), Title XI of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and other federal and state laws, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This includes, but is not limited to, admissions, employment, financial aid and education services.

Interesting facts about ECU

Interesting facts about East Central University


  1. Three of ECU's alumni were elected to the position of state "Governor."They are:
    former Oklahoma Governor Robert S. Kerr
    former Oklahoma Governor George Nigh
    former Arizona Governor Ernest McFarland

  2. ECU's Collegiate Officer Program (COP) was the first one implemented in the state.
    It is a collaborative arrangement between the State of Oklahoma
    Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) and ECU
    that allows students to fulfill
    State of Oklahoma police officer certification requirements
    while completing their bachelor's degree.

  3. East Central University is the only public institution in the state of Oklahoma that offers a Bachelor of Science degree in LEGAL STUDIES.

  4. What ECU alum won 30 PGA Tour events?
    58 year-old Dr. Gil Morgan, has totaled more that 17 million in career earnings. 

  5. Our Nursing department rates highest in the state with ECU students passing the RN test by more than 90% the past five years.

  6. What ECU All-American Linebacker was a part of the 1986 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears with NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton? 
    Clifford Thrift.

  7. There are over seventy clubs and organizations on campus including four fraternities and three sororities. Each year there are rush weeks for both men and women. 

  8. School of Business alum Kevin Turner was the youngest at age 32 to become a vice president for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 1995, then CFO of Sam's club, and in 2005 became Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft Corporation. 

  9. ECU has one of the few Cartography Departments in the nation.
    Cartography is the art of map making and in recent years all graduates have secured employment within cartography or gone to graduate school.

  10. ECU is in the rugged NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference with varsity sports offered in:
    Cross Country
    Golf (men only)
    Soccer (women only)

  11. East Central has a diverse student body presently from 24 countries and 25 different states helping make up the university's 4,600 students. 

  12. East Central University is the only institution in Oklahoma (and is only one of 21 nationally)    that offers an accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health Science.

  13. The East Central University McNair Scholars Program, a U.S. Department of Education funded grant program, honors the memory of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut who lost his life in the Challenger Shuttle accident on January 28, 1986.
    The McNair program prepares low-income, first generation and minority undergraduate students for doctoral study.

  14. The ECU Foundation has raised more money towards Academic Scholarships than any other regional university in Oklahoma.

  15. Coach Calip was inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. He was an All-American Quarterback at East Central University. Calip played arena football and was on the World Champion team. He has also played in the Canadian Football League. Coach Cali is a 2003 Vision of Excellence Award Winner for team teaching in Jenks Schools. He has six state titles in hes 17 years of coaching.