The Oklahoma Military Academy (OMA) operated at the present location of RSU from 1919 until it closed in 1971. Today, RSU is a regional public university, serving nearly 4,400 students from its main campus in Claremore, and branch campuses in Bartlesville and Pryor, Okla.
History abounds on the RSU campus in Claremore. Our Campus Hill is truly a place the past and present converge, where history meets the future,” said RSU President Larry Rice. “Historical buildings, sculptures of three U.S. presidents, and a military museum share the Hill alongside new state-of-the-art facilities.
More than 2,500 OMA cadets served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In addition, a greater percentage of OMA cadets served in the U.S. Armed Forces than any other high school, junior college or university in Oklahoma.
The memorial is a black granite pyramid etched with the names of more than 100 OMA cadets who died in service abroad.
General Dennis J. Reimer, a 1962 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, who retired from a decorated 37-year career with the U.S. Army in 1999, served as keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony. Reimer is former director of the National Memorial for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City.
“The memorial is an elegant, dignified, and somber reminder of our brothers who paid the ultimate price,” said Randy Vierling, President of the OMA Alumni Association. “It is a tourist attraction.”
The architect for project was OMA alumnus Bob Wright, with LWPB Architects and Planners, LLC, of Oklahoma City.
The memorial was funded through private contributions from OMA alumni and their families, who remain active and enthusiastic supporters of Rogers State University.
“I’ve never seen such an outpouring of generosity,” said Dr. Danette Boyle, RSU vice president for development. “In fact, we met and exceeded our goal. The amount raised above the cost of the memorial was placed in an endowment to preserve it for posterity, to provide scholarships for RSU military history students, and to maintain the OMA Museum.
The memorial is located between Preparatory Hall, the institution’s first building, and Meyer Hall, its second facility, which originally served as OMA barracks. Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This memorial represents more than just a stone monument to the past – the etched names and the words of dedication are testimonials to the code of conduct OMA cadets learned as young ROTC officers in training. ‘Courage, Loyalty, Honor’ are values that have served us well throughout our lifetimes,” Vierling said.
“We believe this memorial is a way to share those values with today’s students and the next generation. The sacrifice of those who gave it all on our behalf is an example of those values in action. Perhaps the young men and women who now walk where they once walked will gain a better understanding and appreciation of those values, and put them into practice in their own lives.”