||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 seven presidents during its history: Charles Biles; James Gordon; Adolph Linscheid; Charles Spencer; Stanley Wagner; Bill Cole, and Richard Rafes. Distinguished alumni include four 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, including Governor Bill Anoatubby, 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.
Brief Description: East Central University is a public university offering Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Master's degrees. ECU is located in Ada, a city of 17,000, approximately 90 miles from Oklahoma City, 115 miles from Tulsa and 150 miles from Dallas.
- Type of Institution: Regional University
- Other locations: Students can enroll in and attend ECU classes on campus in Ada, in Ardmore at the Ardmore Higher Education Center, in McAlester at the Eastern Oklahoma State College branch campus and in Shawnee at the Gordon Cooper Technology Center. Some ECU classes are also available on OneNet and online. The ECU nursing program is available in Durant at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
- Support: State
- Setting: small town residential
Housing types: Four traditional residence halls for single students, one apartment complex for single students, and one apartment complex for adult and married students. Students are required to live on campus their freshman year unless they are married, have dependents, live with parent or legal guardian, are over the age of 21 or enrolled in less than nine hours.
Campus organizations: ECU encourages learning both inside and outside of the classroom. ECU has more than 80 student organizations, including student government, departmental clubs, honor societies, religious organizations, special interest groups plus national fraternities and sororities. Tiger leadership and Service Saturdays are two unique programs for everyone.
Intramural sports: Students can elect to participate in team or individual activities including football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball, wallyball, cross-country relay, pool, board games, foosball and Xbox tournaments.
Collegiate sports: Men's Tiger Athletics includes football, cross country, basketball, baseball, tennis and golf. Women's Tiger Athletics includes soccer, cross country, basketball, softball, tennis, golf and volleyball.
Special student services: The University Center houses a Wellness Center with racquetball courts, fitness and cardiovascular workout areas, indoor running tract, aerobics area, swimming pool and gymnasium; a small movie theater; visit with student senate officers, check their email or access their online classes via wireless access; participate in out-of-class presentation in the amphitheater or meeting rooms; and to gather informally to study, play pool, ping-pong or Xbox and just hang out.