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Final Focus Article

By student Heather Mines

As Rogers State University celebrated its 100th birthday this year, the Claremore campus was alive with the planning of the centennial parade as well as other activities that marked the university’s milestone. However, the Claremore campus wasn’t the only location where celebrations occurred: RSU’s Pryor campus has seen a huge expansion project as well as centennial activities of its own.

Lisa Ramsey has worked for Rogers State University since 1991 when the school was still named Rogers State College. She began her career as a technical assistant at the Educational Opportunity Center and now works as the Student Activities Coordinator for RSU’s Pryor campus.

Over her 18 years with the university, Lisa has seen an ample amount of changes. "When I started our campus was located in the building which is currently Thunderbird Youth Academy [in Pryor], now we have our own building,” she says. Additionally, Ramsey has worked under three different Pryor campus directors: Jane Duff, Leann Burger, and the current director, Sherry Alexander.

Amidst all these changes, Rogers State University’s centennial year has marked one of the greatest in the Pryor campus’ history. A $1.3 million expansion project has now almost doubled the size of the original Pryor campus building.  The expansion had been in the works for approximately 8 years, but, Lisa says, "It just so happened that our expansion dedication and open house were held during the Centennial.”

According to Ramsey, "We have 5 new classrooms, a commons area, faculty and staff offices, computer lab and restrooms.” The original campus building consisted of a single hallway lined with various offices and classrooms. However, with the addition of this size-doubling expansion Ramsey has seen students more excited than ever to arrive on the campus.

This expansion may even prove to be more than a space-building endeavor given the current student demographics at RSU Pryor. The typical students at RSU Pryor are "first generation, high risk students” according to Lisa. This means that these students are the first in their families to attend college, and are at a risk for not continuing their education.

Furthermore, RSU’s Pryor campus serves both traditional and non-traditional students that may fall into this category. Due to the "recent layoffs at Labinal & Gatorade,” Lisa says enrollment at the campus has increased; the Pryor campus now enrolls more than 350 students each semester.

Lisa coordinates an array of activities for the students at the Pryor campus. "We have lots of activities in Pryor: blood drives, safe Spring Break week, Halloween pumpkin carving and costume contests, voter registration & stress free finals,” she says. These activities not only serve to liven up the students’ college experiences, but also to show the good that comes with all the tests and papers when it comes to college life.

Therefore, the high risk student may feel better about attending their classes if they have something to look forward to other than that class. This dedication to keeping students enrolled in college proves Lisa’s strongest statement, "The best part of my job is working with students.”