The Duncan Banner


October 13, 2013

McArthur a good Cameron fit

DUNCAN — A little more than three months into his new role as the 17th president of Cameron University, John McArthur has learned a valuable lesson.

He loves the job.

“Being president,” he said while spending most of a day in Duncan last week, “is the best job ever. As a professor, I never liked teaching the same class two years in a row. I always wanted to learn something new. As president, every day is new. The variety of people I get to work with is amazing. And the opportunities are abundant.”

A significant slice of his time has been devoted to listening.

“The people of Lawton (home to the 4,300-full time equivalent students that opened in 1909 and Duncan (home to the 600-student branch that opened in 2004) have been so welcoming and so engaging.”

Time with government officials, community leaders, education administrators and job-seeking developers has yielded much data, shared a unified passion and solidified the message he most wanted to hear.

“Cameron University matters here,” he grinned, adding, “and Duncan and Stephens County matter to Cameron”

McArthur sees growth and prosperity ahead.

As provost since 2006, he has been involved in campus initiatives to broaden and deepen a student’s academic experience, strategic plans to plot aggressive paths into the future and physical growth that has elevated campus life to levels competitive with regional institutions nationwide.

Already, strategic plans give meaning to diversified expectations for 2013, 2018 and 2025.

He likens a quote by former President Dwight Eisenhower, who said, “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” to the Cameron process. He values the synergy, welcomes the involvement and embraces the commitment.

“We’ll meet 80 percent of what we’ve planned because of the process,” he said. “But communities change, so the process will help us change.”

His own enthusiasm and drive are obvious His background as an academician is strong. And he seems up to the challenge of not only maintaining the legacy of former president Dr. Cindy Ross, but capable of adding his own dramatic touch.

McArthur “grew up with a lot of books” in Tallahassee, Fla., where his parents both graduated from Florida State and entered the education field. He attended elementary school in Memphis where his dad served as psychologist for the Memphis public school system and Alice Walker, his third grade teacher, inspired his interest to learn.

He played football and graduated from high school in North Little Rock as a National Merit Finalist. Early on, like every boy in Arkansas, he thought he’d become a Razorback in the old Southwest Conference. His dream changed to attending Princeton, playing football there and becoming a space scientist

A College Night encounter, encouraged by his dad, led to a conversation with a recruiter from Rice. He was impressed. When he leaned the Owls did indeed have a football team and had just beaten Arkansas, he was hooked. It was a perfect fit, blending athletics and academics at the then 3,000-student prestigious school in Houston.

He redshirted a year, played guard and tackle a couple of years, then concentrated on a degree in mathematical studies.

It seems he has been preparing for the Cameron job ever since.

McArthur earned a Master of Applied Mathematics and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Colorado, met and married Karla Oty, an accomplished university administrator and musician, and, together, they launched a 20-year path to their home, now in the historic 7,200-square foot Cameron House near the Lawton campus.

McArthur was on the physics faculty six years and later chaired the Department of Computer Sciences and Technology at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. He was on the math faculty at Colorado State-Pueblo three years and joined Cameron in 2004.

He served first as Dean of the School of Science and Technology, was promoted to Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2006 and was named Provost in 2011.

He shares pride in the growth of Cameron University-Duncan, applauds the leadership of director Susan Camp here and praises the vision of a Board of Regents that is “always connecting the dots and putting pieces together.”

He says capitalizing on skills to help the light manufacturing industry, offering more biology and chemistry classes to support added emphasis on allied health courses, using available employment opportunities and enabling the Duncan campus to move in the direction it needs to pursue seems a sensible approach here.

McArthur, with his parents and Karla’s parents looking on, will officially be installed as president Oct. 23 at the Aggie Gymnasium on the Lawton campus. That it is a big and important day is obvious.

But judging from his first three months in the office, many more big days are ahead.

(580) 255-5354, Ext. 130

Text Only
  • Modern version of ‘Telephone’ hangs up on the truth

    Couple weeks ago, I stopped at a popular morning spot to get a caffeine infusion and encountered a meeting of a chapter of the Coffee Club Geniuses of America.

    July 20, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Zamperini, the Olympian and POW, was a hero because of his faith

    Louis Zamperini collected many accolades as an Olympic distance runner and brave bombardier who spent a month adrift at sea and two years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. But faith and forgiveness are what truly distinguished him.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff's helicopter could be put to good use in water crisis

    A story the other day in which Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney explained the advantages of having a helicopter gave me a chuckle.

    July 15, 2014

  • Technoman offers help on combating viruses

    Good day, Earthlings and others inhabiting the third rock from the Sun. Once again, 21st Century Technoman has dropped in to see what condition your condition is in. So, how are you surviving in cyberspace?

    July 15, 2014

  • Territory impressive as well

    For the next seven days, the world of golf will focus on Edmond, Oklahoma in general and Oak Tree National in particular as the revitalized club and course hosts the prestigious 2014 U.S. Senior Open.

    July 6, 2014

  • Our division is not as dire as some insist

    Am having an Independence Day hangover — and no, it’s not because of any libation I may have consumed during the holiday weekend.

    July 6, 2014

  • Election shared few surprises

    There were no significant surprises or huge upsets in last Tuesday’s election,  but there were some twists and turns of interest locally and statewide.

    June 29, 2014

  • Other voices talk about us and our nation

    It’s almost Independence Day and I could wind philosophic and poetic about this country I love and into which I was lucky to have been randomly spawned.

    June 29, 2014

  • Technoman is relishing art of daydreaming

    Friends and neighbors, greetings again from 21st Century Technoman, and please forgive me if it seems I’ve been ignoring those of you who need a little human contact in their otherwise techno-dependent lives.

    June 22, 2014

  • However dubious, Cooter is a famous American

    His name is indelibly etched in the American experience. For generations, his reputation has crossed political, social, ethnic and regional lines.

    June 15, 2014


Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

     View Results

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.