Stratton Taylor Library is the name of the new $4 million, state-of-the-art library at Rogers State University.
The announcement was made at a naming ceremony on the RSU campus on Monday, which was attended by more than 400 people including elected officials and college presidents and other dignitaries from across the state.
“The vision and leadership of Stratton Taylor is a vital part of the success story of Rogers State University,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. “This impressive library and learning resource center was made possible in large part by the diligence and hard work of Stratton Taylor.”
Wiley read a resolution stating the name of the new library at the ceremony, which was approved by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents at its monthly meeting on Monday in Claremore.
Speaking at the ceremony were University of Oklahoma President David Boren; U.S. Rep. Brad Carson; Oklahoma Higher Education Chancellor Paul Risser; Sen. Cal Hobson, President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate; Rep. Larry Adair, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; G.T. Blankenship, Chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, the governing board for RSU; Professor Eldon Hallum and Jessica Clark, President of the RSU Student Government Association.
Stratton Taylor is President Pro Tempore Emeritus of the Oklahoma Senate. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He has served the Claremore area in the Oklahoma Legislature since 1978.
As a political science and pre-law major in 1975-76, Taylor served as President of the Student Senate at Claremore Junior College (the predecessor institution of RSU). A mere 19 years later, he would earn the same title in the Oklahoma Legislature.
A lifelong believer in the importance of education, Taylor graduated from Alluwe High School in 1974 from a class of 17 students. He enrolled at “College Hill” with a Presidential Scholars Scholarship. He worked his way through college as a clerk at a Claremore grocery store. But he still found the time to be involved in a variety of campus leadership roles at RSU, including advertising manager of the student newspaper. During his sophomore year, he was elected President of the Student Senate at RSU, the first of many successful elections during his lifetime.
He graduated from RSU with an associate’s degree in political science in 1976 and transferred to the University of Tulsa where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education and later a law degree. During his days at TU, he continued to live and work in Claremore. In 1978, at the age of 22, he campaigned for a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives while a senior at TU. During the campaign, he continued to work as a grocery clerk, a job that allowed him to pay for college and listen to the concerns of the citizens of Rogers County. He won the race by a two-to-one margin.
Citing Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and his parents as his inspiration for public life, Taylor has led a distinguished career in the House of Representatives and was elected to the Oklahoma Senate in 1983. He was elected unanimously by members of both parties as President Pro Tempore of the Senate in 1995. He holds the record for service as President Pro Tempore by being elected to the position for four terms. In 2000, he was elected Chairman of the Senate Presidents’ Forum, a national organization of State Senate leaders.
As a Legislator, Taylor was the author of more than a dozen bills enacted into law providing for the advancement of RSU, including a measure that led to the transformation of RSU into a four-year regional university. Through the years, Taylor has been instrumental in assisting RSU to receive important grant funding and legislative appropriations allowing the university to pursue major expansion projects.
Taylor is the founding partner in a Claremore law firm and has been a strong financial supporter of RSU as a private citizen. In 1985, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of RSU, the university’s highest honor. He and his wife Carolyn Taylor have two children and live in Claremore.
The new three-story Stratton Taylor Library on the RSU campus in Claremore contains about 45,000 square feet, with the library occupying about 30,000 square feet on the building’s second and third floors. The first floor will contain classrooms and faculty offices. The new building is located adjacent to the RSU Student Apartments and will be a focal point for students, faculty and campus visitors.
The new library is expected to open in January. The library’s collections will be moved into the new facility during the holiday break without causing interruption to its services.
The new library will more than double the size of the current facility, which has increased its collection by more than 15,000 titles during the past three years in order to meet the needs of Oklahoma’s fastest-growing university.
Funding for the new facility was provided through a 1999 legislative appropriation. The new library was designed by Graber & Imel Architects of Tulsa, with construction by Loerke Construction Group of Tulsa.