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Local News

February 27, 2014

Cameron president would prefer higher ed to stay as local as possible

DUNCAN — Cameron University wants to add so-called “wet lab” facilities to its satellite campus in Duncan so that students here don’t have to commute to Lawton to complete certain course work, the university president said Wednesday.

John McArthur said the plan will enable students at the Duncan-Cameron campus to take biology and chemistry lab classes closer to their homes.

McArthur, president of Cameron since July, revealed his plans for the Duncan campus to members of the Rotary Club on Wednesday.

A former football player at Rice University in Houston, McArthur began his career in academia at Southeast Oklahoma State University and then went to Colorado State University-Pueblo before arriving at Cameron in 1993,  when he was named dean of the university’s School of Science and Technology.

He was the vice president of academic affairs and then held the provost position before he became president of the university.

About two-thirds of the university’s student body is from Stephens and Comanche counties, he said, and Cameron’s goal is to provide educational opportunies where its graduates probably will settle.

“We want them to stay here and have meaningful jobs and raise their families here,” he said. “We know that where the students graduate is where they most likely will reside.”

Cameron’s enrollment is 5,341 this semester and should be around 5,800 in the fall, when college enrollments typically are highest, McArthur said.

About two-thirds of Cameron’s students will graduate without college debt, he noted.

“We think that’s very important,” McArthur said, explaining that the university wants its students to pick careers based on their passions rather than the need for a high-paying job that will enable them to repay student loans.

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