OCTOBER 15, 2003

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McCasland Foundation gift to fund endowed chair at Cameron University

Cameron University’s governing board has accepted a gift from the McCasland Foundation in Duncan that will be used to establish an endowed chair in educational leadership and set the stage for Cameron to build a specialized program in school administration.

The Board of Regents for the University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University accepted the foundation’s $250,000 gift on Wednesday during its monthly meeting in Oklahoma City. A request will now be made to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to match it through its endowed faculty program. A dollar-for-dollar match from State Regents would create a $500,000 endowed chair at Cameron.

Earned income from the chair will be used to hire an outstanding and experienced scholar in the field of educational leadership around which an educational program in school administration will be established.

“This will not be a traditional program in school administration,” said Dr. Lloyd Dawe, dean of the CU School of Graduate Studies. “Instead we have studied a number of evolving trends in education and have tried to anticipate the critical issues that will be facing future public school administrators in Oklahoma. This has allowed us to develop an innovative program that will equip public school leaders with the requisite skill set required to address the pressing problems that we believe will be at the forefront of public education in Oklahoma over the next 10-20 years.”

Such a program will meet a critical need in many area communities, noted Cameron President Cindy Ross, since no university in Southwest Oklahoma currently offers such a degree.

“Educators who want to earn a master’s degree in school administration must drive long distances to Weatherford, Norman, Stillwater or Ada, since those are the closest universities that offer such a program,” Ross said. “Offering a school administration program at CU would provide a specific and convenient degree option to an estimated 2,000 teachers in our service area.”

In addition to providing leadership in establishing a school administration curriculum, the holder of the McCasland chair will be directly involved in helping all aspects of educational leadership through visitations, training conferences and mentoring.

The McCasland Foundation’s gift is the latest example of the significant role it has played in promoting Cameron’s educational initiatives over the past 15 years. During that period, university officials estimate that scholarships, matching grants and other gifts from the foundation are approaching the $2 million mark.

Scholarships from the foundation have provided educational opportunities to 175 McCasland Scholars, who have been awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to help them pursue college degrees at Cameron.

The foundation’s challenge grant program has made possible 23 of Cameron’s 27 endowed lectureships. The program matches dollar-for-dollar private donations of at least $12,500 to bring their value to the minimum $25,000 required for a match through the State Regents’ endowed faculty program. In all, McCasland matching grants have totaled $275,000.

In addition to the new endowed chair in educational leadership, the foundation established an endowed chair in faculty development in 1989. This endowment made possible CU’s academic festival program, which has brought many nationally known artists and speakers to Southwest Oklahoma.

Other gifts from the foundation include $300,000 as part of a capital campaign to help establish Cameron’s Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies, challenge grants that provide continuing support for KCCU-FM, and funds to promote CU educational programs in the region.

“Without the McCasland Foundation, we could still hold school at Cameron,” Ross said, “but we would be missing many of our most important and enduring programs that will lift us into our second century.”

For more information, contact Keith Mitchell at 1-580-581-2211.