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History of OSUIT

A guide providing an overview of the history of OSUIT and the materials the archive has that documents this history.

Our Presidents

Our first Director was L. Keith Covelle, who served from 1946-1963. He was the founder of the Oklahoma A. and M. School of Technical training, now known as OSUIT. A and M Tech served as both a vocational school and a rehabilitation center for disabled veterans. The L. K. Covelle historical photograph collection is available on ContentDM.

Our second Director was Wayne Miller, who served from 1963-1983. OSUIT, then known as the Oklahoma State University School of Technical Training, received accreditation during his directorship. Enrollment peaked during his directorship at over 3,500 students enrolling in 1983.

Our third Director/Provost/President was Robert Klabenes, who served from 1983-2011. He was instrumental in modernizing the campus from military barracks to modern buildings. His photograph collection is now available on ContentDM.

Our fourth President was Bill Path, who served from 2011-2023. He instituted the Okmulgee Rising project to bring student housing to downtown Okmulgee.

Notable Department Heads

Names to be added as records (photographs, videos, articles, documents, etc.) are found. Donations of records related to notable individuals happily accepted and will be added here.

Grady Clack was a Founding Father of OSUIT who served various different positions during the Covelle and Miller eras.

Jim Moshier was the assistant director of the campus during Wayne Miller's tenure.

E. W. Eaton was head of Graphic Arts in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Paul England was a Recruiter and Counselor in the 1960s and 1970s and the namesake for England Hall.

Stanley Riley was head of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration in the early 1970s before being succeeded by Alvin Arturbury.

Alvin Arturbury was head of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration in the 1970s.

Joe Taylor was head of Business Education in the 1970s

Earl McKendree was head of Electronics in the 1970s.

Steve Corley was the Custodial Supervisor in the 1970s.

Mel Christerson was the librarian in the early 1970s and served as master of ceremonies for Miss Tech pageants.

Everrett W. Kline was head of Culinary Arts for much of the 1970s and 1980s.

Donald Cooper was a culinary arts instructor known as the Santa of the 70s for his appearances at every Christmas parade and party.

Bill Bailey was head of Automotive Technologies for much of the 1970s and 1980s. 

Walt Smith was head of Auto Body in the 1970s

Forrest Johns was head of the Drafting department for much of the 1970s and 1980s.

Sam Bass was head of Small Business Trades during the 1970s.

Lester Neiman was head of Drycleaning during the 1970s.

Voyd Self was the Diesel department head in the 1970s until his retirement in 1981.

Joe McCormick was the head of Student Financial Aid in the 1970s.

Ed Trew was head of Building Construction in the 1970s and 1980s.

Abe McIntosh was head of General Education from the 1970s to his retirement in 1986.

Bill Lyons was head of the Electrical-Electronics program in the 1980s.

In 1988, Bill Lyons was succeeded by Robert Vogt.

Sam Strecker was head of Manufacturing Technologies and Engineering Graphics in the 1980s.

David Horn was head of Financial Aid in the 1980s until his retirement in 1995.

Glenn Shoaf was head of Hospitality Services (now known as Culinary Arts) in the 1990s after being an instructor in the 1970s.

Judy Henson was head of Human Resources from 1980-2005.

Jerry Wilson was head of Small Business Occupations in the 1990s and 2000s.

Mike Neville was head of Public Information from the 1970s-1990s.

Rex Daugherty was head of Public Information in the 2000s

Mary Graves was in charge of Enrollment from the 1990s-2008.

Renee Jungo was head of Culinary Arts during the 2010s. 

James McCullough was head of Visual Communications in the 2010s.

Terryl Lindsay was the head of the School of Transportation and Heavy Equipment (STHE) in the 2020s.

Jenny Duncan has been head of the Learning Resource Center (LRC) or Library since the 2000s. 

Annual Events/Traditions

The Tech Review was an annual talent show from the 1960s.

The Miss Tech/Ms. Tech pageant was held from the 1960s-1980s. In the 1980s, a Mr. Tech pageant was also held.

SkillsUSA contests are an annual occurrence and have been since the 1970s. Prior to 2004, SkillsUSA was known as the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA).

The Auto Show was a popular event from the 1970s and 1980s showcasing vintage vehicles.

In the 1970s and 1980s, OSU Tech was known for its elaborate Christmas parties and parades.

The Halloween parties were also quite elaborate in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Tech Day was an event in the 1970s and 1980s that involved fun and games such as tug-of-war and sack races.

The Pecan Festival is an event Culinary Arts has contributed to since the 1980s. It has been an annual tradition to attempt to create the world's biggest pecan pie.

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Contest was held in the 1990s and 2000s for middle and high school students to hone their business skills.

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) contests occurred from the 1960s-2010s.

College for Kids and Teens was a 1990s event providing fun learning experiences.

The Summer Youth Manufacturing Academy was another 1990s era fun event for kids to learn manufacturing.

InterConnect was a 1990s era conference on communications technologies.

In the 1990s, the Community Energy Education Management Program assisted various communities on ways to save on energy.

The Advancing Technology Showcase was an event from the 1990s- early 2010s where major industry leaders provided demonstrations for students and prospective students.

CarniFall was a family friendly fun event that occurred around Halloween from the 1990s-2010s.

The Women in Technology Conference occurred in the 2000s and early 2010s.

The 2000s also had a Solar Academy for kids to work on creating solar powered devices.

The Employee Picnic has been a tradition of the 2000s and early 2010s.

The current orientation for OSUIT students is known as Cowboy Up!, but it has historically been known by other names such as Cowboy Connection. 

Career Encounters (of the Orange Kind) was an event where middle and high schools visit the campus that has occurred since the mid 2000s.

Afternoon with Pete is a recruitment/financial aid assistance event that allows students to learn about how to get financial aid.

Employee Awards Banquets have occurred since at least the 1960s and are still going strong today.

The Poetry Reading Contest has been held at the library since the 2000s and is still held during National Library Week.

The Scholars Banquet for scholarship winners has been going on since at least the 2000s.

The Chef's Table series of Culinary Arts Seminars had been going on since the 2010s.