Attracting top students from across the nation and more than 100 countries around the world, OU provides a major university experience in a private college atmosphere. OU is number one in the nation in the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled among public universities and is in the top ten of public universities in the nation in the graduation of Rhodes Scholars. The OU Honors College is one of the largest honors programs among public universities in the United States, matching the University’s best and brightest students with faculty in classrooms of 19 or fewer students. OU is one of the few public universities in the nation to cap the class size of first-year English composition courses at no more than 19. OU offers students the opportunity to study abroad in over 100 cities and 50 countries, including our signature program in Arezzo, Italy. The number of endowed faculty professorships and chaired positions has increased from less than 100 15 years ago to more than 560 today. This enables OU to keep and attract faculty researchers of national and international stature.
For four of the last six years the OU Debate team has won the National Debate Championship. Other students from across campus have worked in teams to also win top awards in the National Petroleum Engineering Competition, the National Kennedy Center Competition in Drama, and the entrepreneurship program consistently ranks in the top five nationally.
OU has emerged as a pacesetter for public higher education in the United States and is ranked by The Princeton Review among the top 10 public universities in the nation in terms of academic excellence and cost for students. OU has more than doubled the amount of private scholarships in five years and raised its scholarship goal to $250 million. In addition, OU’s private endowment has increased more than five-fold since 1994, growing from $204 million to more than $1.8 billion.
There is a true sense of family on the OU campus. Serving as a model for other public universities, OU established the Faculty-In-Residence program which places faculty members and their families in each of our residence halls to foster faculty and student interaction and encourage intergenerational friendships. Further, a different professor adopts each floor of the residence halls as well as each fraternity and sorority, allowing students and faculty to build relationships outside of the classroom.
OU’s Fred Jones Museum of Art ranks in the top 5 university art museums in the United States. It received the Weitzenhoffer Collection, the largest gift of French Impressionist art ever given to a public university in the US. The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History is the largest university based museum of its kind in the world. OU’s Bizzell Memorial Library features one of the three largest history of science collections in the world, and is the only place in the United States where you can hold a book with Galileo's handwriting in your own hands.
During the past decade, research expenditures have more than doubled at OU and sponsored research has grown at twice the national growth rate. Particularly successful university research programs including weather, genomics, chemistry, health sciences, nanosciences, education, and applied social research as well as technology development and transfer will continue to grow with the development of the University Research Campus. The buildings and spaces on the Research Campus support a true community of ideas that reflects the core mission and values of the University, but with a decidedly modern approach that includes academia, government and the private sector.
Since 1995, almost $2 billion in construction projects have been completed, are under way or are forthcoming on OU’s three campuses. As each new facility opens, we bring to the campus national and international figures in relevant fields of study. Among the largest facilities that have opened recently include the renovation and expansion of historic Holmberg Hall, home of music and dance programs; National Weather Center, largest research center of its kind in the nation; Price Hall, serving the Michael F. Price College of Business; Gaylord Hall for journalism and mass communication; the two Stephenson Research and Technology Centers; the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, the largest public-private biomedical initiative in Oklahoma history; The new Stuart Wing of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, providing an additional 18,000 square feet for the University’s collection which is valued at over $1 billion; and the football stadium expansion and renovation.
Other projects recently completed include the 38,000-square-foot Lissa and Cy Wagner Student Academic Services Center, which will greatly enhance a wide variety of services – including academic advising and tutoring – designed to help our students succeed in their academic goals. Construction is also complete on Devon Energy Hall, which will provide 80,000 square feet of instructional and research space for our College of Engineering. Just next to it, the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility is also open and will be a center of interdisciplinary research and experiments.
Current construction includes the renovation of Hester Hall for the College of International and Area Studies, and the new Headington Hall Sooner Housing Center, which will provide state of the art living accommodations for our students.
Above All, OU has a strong sense of community. We are all part of a university family where we respect and care about each other.
I invite you to visit our beautiful campus and discover OU’s impact of excellence.
David L. Boren