Class Projects Continue to Make a Difference
February 17, 2005
OBU’s graduating seniors have gifted the university through the years with items ranging from furniture to life insurance policies to signage. Many of these memorials remain to be enjoyed by visitors to the campus today.
The first class gift to OBU was in 1922, and included the sundial and pergola remaining in their original location today, near Shawnee Hall. The class of 1923 donated the original curtains in Dorland Theater (now Craig-Dorland).
In 1924, the gravel surface for the oval drive, and in 1925, the cinder track was given by these classes.
The class of 1926 donated $1,000 for library books, and the class of ’27 built the north side of the University Street archway.
The class of 1928 donated $1,000 for a psychology laboratory, and in 1929, two concrete tennis courts were funded. These tennis courts serve as commuter parking today.
The class of 1930 donated floodlights on Hurt Field, and in 1931, the class built the entrance to Hurt Field. Part of this sign has been relocated to the corner of MacArthur and Kickapoo.
The bison statue and lily pond were donated by the class of 1932. The pond was later filled in, but the Bison statue is still in its original place. The class of 1933 donated the balcony in Dorland Theatre.
The “whiteway” around the oval and the rock wall around the campus were donated by the classes of 1934 and 1935, respectively.
The sunken garden outside of WMU Memorial Dormitory, class gift of the class of 1936, is the present site of the Geiger Center. In 1937, the class donated the balcony wings for Dorland Theatre, and in 1938, the class donated the illuminated water fountain on the oval, which remains in its original location.
The rock shelter house, class gift of 1939, was built as a part of the bison pen and was torn down when the Noble Complex was constructed. The class gift of 1940 was a clock and bell system in classroom buildings.
The class of 1941 built a recreation field, and the class of 1942 enlarged the radio studio in Shawnee Hall.
The library charging desk, class gift from 1943, was removed when the library was remodeled and the greenhouse donated by the class of ’44 was removed when the Geiger Center was constructed.
Gold Star Park was constructed by the class of ’45, and the 1946 gift of Brittain Hall landscaping and walks is the present library quad.
In 1947, a mirror pool was the class gift, and in 1948, the charging bison roadside placque at the Storer Lane entrance to the university, was installed. A neon sign was added atop Brittain Hall in 1949, and the class of 1950 added an audio-visual projection and recording studio to Shawnee Hall.
The class of 1951 added art glass windows and pews to Howard Chapel in Ford Music Hall, and the class of 1952 added a clock tower and water fountain to the library quad. Although the fountains no longer function, the clock tower is in its original location. 1953 class gifts including landscaping and sidewalks around the oval, and in 1954, the University Street archway was completed.
Montgomery Hall received a new patio with the class of 1955 gift, and in 1956, an outdoor bulletin board was added. This class gift now stands as brick benches outside of WMU Memorial Dormitory.
Raley Chapel benefited from class gifts for the next six years. Donations included furniture (class of ’57), landscaping (classes of ’58-’60), and in 1961, the stained glass window in Raley Chapel. The class of 1962 donated the chapel clock.
The class of 1963 refurbished Stubblefield Chapel, and the class of 1964 remodeled the downstairs of the Montgomery Hall lobby.
“The board of trustees asked the graduating classes not to donate a class gift for the next several years,” says Tom Terry, university archivist. “So many class projects had gotten torn down or covered up due to the expansion of the university.”
In 1986, class gifts resumed in the form of life insurance policies. The classes of ’87 and ’88 followed suit. The class of 1989 made a gift to the OBU Great Teacher Fund, the class of 1990 created a scholarship, and the class of 1991 restored the oval fountain.
The chapel received a new carillon from the class of 1992, and the class of 1993, donated a new sign at the corner of Kickapoo and MacArthur.
The class of 1994 restored the quadrangle clock tower and added park benches, and the class of ’95 provided financial support for Oklahoma City bombing victims.
A gazebo and park was added on University Drive by the class of ’96, and the campus signage project was provided by the class of ’97. The class of ’98 built the legacy wall, and the class of ’99 continued the campus signage project. The class of 2000 created Millenium Park, north of the campus near Taylor Residence Center, and the class of ’01 provided the marble cross in front of Raley Chapel.
The class of 2002 began work on the Truth Walk project, which was completed in 2004. The project includes granite stones engraved with scriptures, located in the heart of the campus.
The class of 2003 and 2004 chose to endow class scholarships.