Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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Situated on 120 acres, the campus of Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Texas County, has witnessed many changes since the institution began in 1909 with an annual operating budget of five thousand dollars. Originally called Pan-Handle Agricultural Institute (PAI), the school developed as a result of Oklahoma's decision to establish "some sort of farmer's institute." Legislation in 1908 provided that "each of the Supreme Court judicial districts [shall have] a district agricultural school of secondary grade for instruction in agriculture and mechanics and allied branches, and domestic science, and economics, with courses of instruction leading to the Agricultural and Mechanical College, and the state normal schools."

Beginning in 1915 PAI offered course work to prepare public school teachers. In 1921 the institution became Panhandle Agricultural and Mechanical College (PAMC) and offered two-year college courses. At the time, the Oklahoma Legislature charged PAMC to use its 2,160-acre farm to investigate agricultural problems unique to Oklahoma's panhandle, to prepare public school teachers, and to train residents in agriculture, manual arts, literature, science, and home economics. In 1925 PAMC offered four-year college degrees. PAMC became known as Oklahoma Panhandle State College of Agriculture and Applied Science in 1967 and in 1974 the name was changed to Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU). At the turn of the twenty-first century OPSU offered course work for both associate and bachelor degrees, the only Oklahoma institution of higher education to do so.

OPSU has five academic schools: Agriculture; Science, Mathematics, and Nursing; Liberal Arts; Business and Technology; and Education. OPSU also sponsors a nationally recognized Computer Information Systems Department and collegiate rodeo team, which won national titles in 1997, 1998, and 2000. Since 1941 the college has operated under the auspices of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Oklahoma Panhandle State University General Catalog, 2001-02. Kathryn A. Sexton, The Heritage of the Panhandle: The History of Panhandle State University: 1909-1979 (N.p.: N.p., 1979).

Sara Richter and Tom Lewis

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