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University of Tulsa


Cupola Bell

The University of Tulsa's educational tradition began even before Oklahoma became a state. On September 1, 1894, William Robert King, a Presbyterian minister, opened the doors of Henry Kendall College in Muskogee, Indian Territory. Previously a small boarding school dedicated to the education of Native American girls, the college was founded under the auspices of the Presbyterian Women's Board of Home Missions and named in honor of the board's former longtime corresponding secretary.

The campus consisted of a dormitory, church, and classroom building until the school's operation was turned over to the Presbyterian Synod of Indian Territory in 1907 and moved to Tulsa. The University was housed in the old First Presbyterian Church downtown before moving to the first buildings on a 20-acre site east of town in 1908.

Faced with competition from a proposed Methodist college and realizing that Tulsa couldn't support two competing schools, trustees and administrators proposed that the two institutions affiliate under the common name of The University of Tulsa. On November 9, 1920, the state charter was approved, and Henry Kendall College became The University of Tulsa. A total of 632 students were enrolled at the time. In the spring of 1921, five graduates received the first degrees conferred by The University of Tulsa.

Today, TU's approximately 4,200 students are engaged in 89 major fields of study and graduate programs in 25 disciplines, 10 of which lead to doctoral degrees. Administratively, the University is divided into a graduate school and four colleges: arts and sciences, business administration, engineering and natural sciences, and law. The average class size is 20, and the student to faculty ratio is 11 to 1.

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The University is notable for its excellence in both teaching and research and for its humanities-based undergraduate curriculum and advanced technological programs. Its petroleum engineering program enjoys international renown, as do McFarlin Library's Special Collections in American and Anglo-Irish literature and Native American history and law.

Recognizing the importance of a strong link to the community, TU has provided more than 300 continuing professional education programs to more than 7,000 individuals through its Division of Continuing Education.

Also, in the spirit of community, the University established an Adopt-a-School association with Tulsa's Gilcrease Middle School, which includes the College Access Program (CAP). Since 1992, through CAP, Gilcrease's 8th grade graduating classes have had the opportunity to receive four-year tuition scholarships via a mentoring program in which students participate during high school.

Beyond the borders of city and state, the University has academic exchange agreements with universities in England, Ireland, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Venezuela, Spain, Slovakia, and Costa Rica. TU is co-founder of the business enterprise school in Zelenograd, Russia, the first foreign-sponsored school to be accepted and funded by the Russian higher education authorities.

At the dawn of the millenium, TU is increasingly educating students for the challenges of a complex world by internationalizing its curricula, addressing issues of cultural diversity here and abroad, and establishing distinction in several critical fields, including environmental study and research. In more general terms, the University endeavors to offer diverse learning experiences, a balance between career preparation and liberal education, and to instill in students an understanding that stature as an individual and value as a member of society depends upon lifelong learning.

For more than 100 years, The University of Tulsa has fostered a love for learning in its students and continues to set the pace in private higher education.