History of the College of International Studies
The International Programs Center (IPC) was founded in the fall of 1996 by the University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren, a former United States Senator and Governor of Oklahoma. Boren, who had been Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence and a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, England, as he envisioned an international program at the University so that OU graduates would be prepared for the globalized world of the 21st century. The IPC was created by President Boren in August 1996 to:
- Coordinate and promote international activities and programs,
- Enhance the international content of the curriculum and degree programs,
- Increase the University's outreach on international matters in state, national and international arenas, and
- Provide Oklahoma and the region with a greater voice in our country's international relations.
The University of Oklahoma Regents named U.S. Ambassador Edward J. Perkins as the first Executive Director of the International Programs Center and the William J. Crowe Chair Professor in Geopolitics. Perkins served as a U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, the Republic of South Africa, the United Nations, and Australia. He also held the distinguished post of Director General of the Foreign Service.
Ambassador Edwin G. Corr, who served as a U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Bolivia, and El Salvador, joined the International Programs Center as Associate Director. Ambassadors Perkins and Corr retired from the University in 2007.
In 2007, the University of Oklahoma was awarded the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.
In January 2011, the OU Board of Regents approved a recommendation to establish a College of International Studies in response to growing student demand. At that time, President David L. Boren announced a $2 million lead gift from Tulsans L. Francis and Kathleen Rooney to launch a $14 million campaign for the new College.
Suzette Grillot joined IPC in 2008 as Associate Director and now serves as the Dean of the College of International Studies.
Zach P. Messitte joined the International Programs Center in 2007 as the Executive Director and was the first Dean of the College of International Studies.
The College of International Studies is the coordinating element for the Department of International and Area Studies, the Center for Middle East Studies, the Institute for US-China Issues, Education Abroad and International Student Services.