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It's a Girls Day Out

May 5, 2004

Almanac Transcript

It's a girls day out this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

In the early 1900s an education beyond high school was not the norm for most women. In fact, to go to high school at all was considered special for many people. Miss Anna Wade O'Neill of of Chickasha held a dream, however, that when fulfilled greatly improved the educational situation of many women in Oklahoma. For a number of years, Miss O'Neill lobbied Oklahoma politicians and community groups for help in starting a women's preparatory school. The idea was to establish a campus where women of average income could come to school, finish high school and prepare for college.

It was in this week of 1908 that the Oklahoma Senate passed a bill authorizing the formation of the Oklahoma Industrial Institute and College for Girls in Chickasha, Oklahoma. "Not for livelihood but for life," was the motto of the College. It was soon found, however, that the name "Industrial Institution," carried with it the conation of a reform school, and after several young inmates arrived at the school the name became, Oklahoma College for Women. The aim of the school, despite the name change, was to "not only give a literary education, but also such an industrial education as will make them useful, economical, scientific queens of our American homes." At first women coming to the Oklahoma College for Women lived in private homes and paid the sum of fifteen dollars a month for room, board and utilities. With the donation of land and money, however, a proper college campus began emerging by 1914.A dormitory was the first building, followed by various other constructions.

By the early 1920s the school's population and ability was outgrowing its original mission and another change soon reflected this growth. In 1926 the school dropped the preparatory aspect and became a four-year college for women. The change in the school reflected a change in the attitude of women, and the college changed its principal goals. Now the OCW offered the female student the "means of fitting herself for the perfect homemaker, the efficient office woman, the trained worker, the expert artist and the cultured woman." Here she could be anything, not just a wife or teacher. The school continued to grow as well now in the 1930s featuring a golf course, riding stables, nursery school and a physical education building. After 1965 the school began admitting men and changed its name to Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts. 1974 saw a name change once again when the school became the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, the name that it currently holds. Giving women of average incomes and above average education this week on the Almanac.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of Oklahoma's Public Radio and and the Oklahoma State University Library.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of Oklahoma's Public Radio and the Oklahoma State University Library.

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