Nineteen-seventy-nine was an important year in the history of the School on the Hill. Not only did it signal the beginning of the institution’s eighth decade; it also reminded students and others of its deep connection to Oklahoma’s favorite son.
The hundredth anniversary of Will Rogers’ birth was celebrated at Claremore Junior College with the debut of a new play, Will Rogers at Home, as well as with a commencement speech by Will Rogers Jr., who reminded the graduates and their guests of the Stanford-OMA polo match from 35 years earlier. (He had been a member of the losing Stanford squad.)
A year later, Preparatory Hall – the first building on campus – got a million-dollar facelift. Meyer Hall, once a barracks, underwent substantial renovation as well. Coach Ken Trickey’s basketball team, meanwhile, won the Region II junior-college tournament, signaling a resurgence of sports at the school.
And in 1982, following the introduction of a bill by state representative Stratton Taylor – a Claremore Junior College graduate – the name changed again – to Rogers State College.
Enrollment continued to rise through the ‘80s, with new campuses added in Bartlesville and Pryor. And in 1987, the student population was able, for the first time, to take college-credit telecourses via the school’s new TV station, KXON.