RSU Public Television will rebroadcast its documentary “Rogers State University: The First 100 Years” at 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 20.
The film takes viewers on a 100-year journey through the history of Claremore’s School on the Hill. The documentary features seldom-seen photographs and archival footage bringing to life the legacies of each of the institutions that have taken up residence on the campus: Eastern University Preparatory School, Oklahoma Military Academy, Claremore Junior College, Rogers State College, Rogers University and now Rogers State University.
“This documentary is our way to honor the university’s Centennial. By collecting the university’s history through photos, videos and interviews, we are helping to preserve the past,” said Dan Schiedel, general manager of RSU Public Television.
Some of the vintage footage highlights life at the Oklahoma Military Academy. “These films will take viewers directly back to the time that this school was known as the ‘West Point of the Southwest’,” he said.
Award-winning journalist Bill Kurtis narrates the documentary using his signature voice to guide viewers through a century’s worth of history. Kurtis, the host of A&E’s criminal justice show “American Justice,” has more than 40 years experience in broadcasting. Born in Florida and raised in Independence, Kan., Kurtis’ local roots made him a natural choice for the documentary’s narration, Schiedel said.
The documentary also highlights other colorful chapters in the school’s history, such as the Hank Thompson School of Country Music, where Darrel Magee, Junior Brown, Eldon Shamblin and Leon McAuliffe taught young musicians in the 1980s and produced “Oklahoma Swinging Country” for RSU Public Television.
“The story of RSU is really the story of people who were determined to have excellent education available in this part of the state,” said Sheila Swearingen, writer and producer. “As we researched the history of the school and conducted interviews with legislators, staff and faculty, what came through so clearly is how much people here were willing to fight to keep this school alive. Now the reward is that it’s thriving as an excellent four-year university.”
RSU Public Television is the only full-powered public television station to be licensed to a public university in Oklahoma. The station provides educational and cultural programming and reaches more than a million viewers on 76 cable systems across the state, including Cox Cable channel 19 in Claremore and Tulsa.