FEBRUARY 20, 2008

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Celebrations planned for OPSU’s “Prized Possession of the Panhandle”

Oklahoma Panhandle State University will commemorate its 100th Birthday in 2009. Rather than make it a one-time celebration, the OPSU Centennial Committee already has sponsored some activities and has been planning more events and special projects.

Dr. Sara Jane Richter, centennial committee chair said, “OPSU’s legacy must be treated and celebrated as a prized possession of the Panhandle.”

The committee developed a logo that will be used on clothing and souvenirs sold to memorialize the milestone. Other fund raising endeavors include selling memorial bricks for the new planter on the Hughes-Strong lawn, the state of Oklahoma Centennial tree site, centennial flags displayed throughout Goodwell and restoration of the campus statue, “The Sower.” Another special project in the works is an original piece of music commissioned by the committee and written by OPSU’s director of instrumental music, Dr. Matthew Saunders.

Other plans consist of identifying “Legends of OPSU” and collecting and publishing biographies of those individuals or groups who have contributed to OPSU. “Biographies” of campus buildings and the history of OPSU will also be researched. Videotaped interviews with alumni, faculty, administrators, personnel and community members have already begun and will continue for the next two years. Once these projects are completed, an OPSU history book and documentary will be planned incorporating all of the information.

Several events spanning the next two years have been proposed. The October 25, 2008, homecoming celebration will feature the upcoming centennial year and on November 1, 2008, OPSU will host a 99th birthday party.

New Year’s Eve 2008 will be the focus of a special centennial party, and in spring 2009, Hughes-Strong Hall auditorium will be renamed “Centennial Theatre” during a special ceremony. During the 2009 homecoming celebration, a centennial time capsule will be packed in a special location for future generations to uncover. Festivities will continue through the May 2010 commencement.

The committee has been working on these plans for more than six months, and a dedicated group of volunteers is seeking funding for these many pursuits. A special account has been set up through the Panhandle State Foundation for monetary donations, and your tax-deductible gift may support any of the specific projects planned. To make a contribution, please contact Dr. Doris Looper or Charmen Rider at (580) 349-1392 or via email at foundation@opsu.edu.

Do you have any OPSU memorabilia that you would be willing to share? Richter said the committee is particularly looking for trophies, banners, programs and photos or anything else that documents OPSU history. If so, contact her at (580) 349-1472 or via email at saraj@opsu.edu.

“The success of the OPSU centennial project depends on the support of its alumni and friends,” Dr. Richter said. “OPSU continues to contribute to the economic, educational, cultural and social fabric of the High Plains, and we look forward to celebrating the past and the future of the university with the support of alumni, friends and area citizens.”