Cameron University President Cindy Ross was joined by a host of dignitaries, including Chris Purcell, Vice President for University Governance and Executive Secretary of the Board of Regents, Oklahoma State Regent for Higher Education Bill Burgess, as well as CU students, faculty and staff at a special ceremony held at the University Theatre on the CU campus on Friday, May 1. The gathering commemorated CU's Centennial Celebration, which concludes with Centennial Commencement 2009 featuring guest speaker Al Roker on Friday, May 8, and also launched Cameron into its second century.
"The main purpose at the heart of the Centennial was to celebrate Cameron's rich past while looking ahead to lay a firm foundation for the future," Ross said.
Ross then summarized the university's goals for the future, which include becoming the University of Choice by providing students a top quality education; offering the College Experience of Choice by fostering a traditional collegiate atmosphere; becoming Location of Choice for community and regional events; and gaining recognition as the Partner of Choice by expanding existing and developing new community and area partnerships that will contribute to the growth and prosperity of southwest Oklahoma.
Following a recap of the Centennial Celebration activities that took place during the past academic year, Ross brought former, current and future CU students to the podium. "The stories of faculty and staff, alumni and students are at the heart of Cameron's mission of changing lives through education," Ross said. "These stories will shape the direction of Cameron University's second century."
Sharing a personal story about their CU experience, alumni Glyn and Virginia Mitchell of Frederick, students Michael Faggett of Dallas, Sabine Brown of Lawton, Emake Ugiomoh of Surulere, Nigeria, and incoming freshman Elise Christensen of Hydro entertained the audience with brief, personal experiences, setting the stage for the announcement of the university's new tagline, Cameron University: Every Student. Every Story.
Ross then offered a glimpse of CU's future, unveiling the new look of Cameron mascot Ole Kim and announcing a new campus tradition, a community concert with fireworks. In Fall 2009, Cameron will feature top country band Emerson Drive, whose chart-topping hit "Moments" established them as one of the most popular country bands on college campuses nationwide, and Johnny Cooper, the popular Red Dirt rising star who performed at the August 2008 Centennial Celebration Kick-Off event.
In addition to providing a construction update about the McMahon Centennial Complex, CU's new state-of-the-art student activities center, and the beautiful Bentley Gardens, Ross announced exciting "green" initiatives for the university.
"We are encouraging a healthier Cameron University in Century II," said Ross.
In the coming year, CU will make available a community garden for students, faculty and staff. In addition, smoking cessation programs will be offered, and CU officials will encourage new initiatives that promote a greener campus revolving around the 3 R's - reduce, reuse and recycle. Other initiatives include a one-mile walking path on the Cameron campus and healthy eating stations provided by Sodexo, the first-class food services company that serves the university, in the Shepler cafeteria.
"A key responsibility of a university is connecting the past with the future and passing traditions from one generation to the next," Ross said in her closing remarks. "As Cameron moves into its second century, we will carry the spirit of the Centennial with us. For the Centennial, we developed the theme ‘Changing Lives for 100 Years.' As Cameron University stands poised for another 100 years of changing lives, it's about personalizing the university's mission. It's about focusing on those who lie at the heart of its mission. It's about Every student. Every story."
May 1, 2009