The Duncan Banner


February 17, 2013

Cameron a world class school

DUNCAN — The Rev. Evan Dhu Cameron, were he alive today, would be proud of the institution that bears his name, even if he couldn’t recognize the place.

Named in honor of the Baptist minister and Oklahoma’s first superintendent of schools, Cameron University is not the agricultural high school it was when doors opened a year after statehood in 1908.

It is all grown up now.

Marvelously and remarkably so.

The sprawling Lawton site – with a branch in Duncan that opened in 1994 – is home to more than 6,000 students on a fascinating campus that provides students from 50 Oklahoma counties, 39 states and 52 countries the most modern and advanced tools of instruction, technology, programs and facilities.

It calls itself “the university of choice” for residents in southwest Oklahoma and that’s true. Eighty-two percent of its diverse student base comes from the region, but it is a moniker perhaps in need of updating. Cameron, through the vision and leadership of retiring President Cindy Ross, the assistance of a talented and focused faculty and staff and the support of committed and appreciative benefactors, not the least of which is the McCasland Foundation of Duncan, has become a world class institution, one capable of competing at any level of regional or comprehensive mission.

You should know that. It’s a significant message.

Words here today won’t adequately reflect the enormous changes that have taken place. Nor the opportunities it provides. Nor the importance it holds for our area. Nor the creative attitude it shares as a catalyst into the future.

To truly understand that transition, you must experience it, walking the sidewalks of a now beautiful campus, visiting the technologically advanced classrooms and conference facilities where learning and the exchange of knowledge takes place, seeing engaged students embrace education and social opportunities or hearing the excitement and enthusiasm of teachers anxious to make positive things happen.

The experience offers moments of “wow” often, personifying the energy and adrenalin that oozes easily and freely into a growing spirit that appears contagious.

Cameron University, again, is all grown up.

More than $60 million in capital improvements have been made over the past decade, blending quality and efficiency with an unmistakable and carefully designed beauty – lighting, water, trees and walkways -- that creates a magical feeling of academic elegance.

The McMahon Centennial Complex is home to Lawton’s largest meeting room, a magnificent board room, a comprehensive bookstore, student services and a balcony that oversees the waters, shrubs and gazebo of picturesque Bentley Gardens which connects the core of its revised campus.

More than 550 students live on campus, many in the strikingly pretty Cameron Village that is linked to adjacent study areas and a quaint on-site library.

The Aggie Rec Center rivals Duncan’s Simmons Center as the hub of leisure time activity, its basketball court, swimming pool, elevated walking track, cardio, weight and exercise areas in use often while the Aggie Mile and the Cameron Tree Tour, featuring 18 varieties of trees on campus, offer popular outdoor alternatives.

While the renovated CETES conference center holds memories for many and is now home to the university’s business incubator and frequent interactive conferences, the new  School of Business building and the Academic Commons, once the student union and now headquarters for convergence journalism, share the brightest spotlight, affording students hands-on learning opportunities with the best available technology and equipment.

That BancFirst enables business students to manage a real $1 million line of credit portfolio is significant. So are Honors College study trips to South Africa, England and Puerto Rico. And a textbook check-out and rental system in lieu of expensive purchases. Or that 68 percent graduate with no debt, leading to a top three national ranking in U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best (most affordable) Colleges.

It is no wonder the Higher Learning Commission added the stamp of “role model institution” to Cameron, acknowledging the depth of student learning based, in fact, on a guarantee that additional, free education will be granted a graduate or employer who detects a scholastic deficiency.

Linking all of that to Duncan’s growing 600-plus student branch makes it both personal and meaningful.

Increased class offerings, more family involvement in community activities and a larger complex are part of director Susan Camp’s plan here, adding depth to the partnership and making relevant the notion that while Cameron is a world class university and “the choice of southwest Oklahoma,” it should be identified as “our” school as well.

It seeks to earn that distinction with a story of success no longer a secret.

With a lot of help from President Ross and her friends, Cameron University is a class institution, one of which the Rev. Cameron would be proud. So should we.

580-255-5354, Ext. 130

Text Only
  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014