RSU Receives Historic $2 Million Pledge for Honors Program, Campus Buildings

Dr. James Ford teaching students in classroom

Dr. James Ford teaches students in classroom.

The largest individual, charitable pledge in Rogers State University’s history will provide enhancements and scholarships for its Honors Program, with additional funds being used for continued maintenance of campus buildings.

The $2.06 million pledge is scheduled to be fulfilled in payments over 10 years with a final lump sum to be provided at a future date. The gift, coordinated through the RSU Foundation, is restricted to campus building maintenance and the RSU’s Honors Program, including scholarships and program enhancements.

RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said the donation will make a broad impact that will be felt both on campus and in the community.

“Our Honors Program has helped attract some of Oklahoma’s brightest students to RSU, which in turn has elevated academic discourse across campus and delivered a sizable community impact through their volunteer service,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. “We are deeply indebted to our anonymous donor for recognizing the value of RSU’s academic enterprise and providing much needed private support for the university at a time when state funding for higher education faces significant cuts.”

RSU established its Honors Program a decade ago and the program has grown to approximately 75 students, with about 90 percent coming from Oklahoma. The program develops learning communities of academic high-achievers through enrollment in a small number of designated honors course. Honors students typically take about a third of their classes within the program itself, with the majority of their studies taking place within the university’s general curriculum.

Dr. James Ford serves as Professor of English and Humanities, as well as Director of Academic Enrichment that includes the Honors Program.

“Our Honors Program helped open doors for many students who had academic credentials to attend larger or more established schools, but nevertheless chose to attend RSU where they could benefit from academic rigor, small classes and our close-knit community,” Ford said.

Honors Program graduates are well prepared for graduate school or starting their careers.

“Our graduates are doctors, lawyers, teachers and MBAs. Most of them are working right here in Oklahoma, where RSU prepared them for success,” he said. “This pledge represents a tremendous opportunity for our students, and it is a sign of all that the Honors Program has accomplished during the past 10 years.”

The Honors Program also places emphasis on service learning, which requires students to participate in volunteer service to supplement classroom studies. Honors Program students are required to complete at least 25 hours of volunteer service each semester, with many serving well beyond the minimum requirement.

“The addition of service learning activities has opened students’ eyes to the needs of their community, while also fulfilling our institutional mission to prepare students for service in a diverse society,” President Rice said.

For more information about RSU’s Honors Program, visit