JANUARY 19, 2005


EOSC, OU recipients of $1 million gifts

First National Bank of McAlester and the Bass family recently presented a $1 million check to Eastern Oklahoma State College as half of their challenge grant for a second building on Eastern's McAlester campus. Those at the presentation included, from left, Carlton Bass, EOSC President Dr. Richard Bernard, Leah Miller, Wanda Bass, Mark Lauerman, Boyd Bass and Maynard Phillips. The building will be completed in early spring with the first classes slated for the summer session.

Students at two of Oklahoma's public colleges and universities may soon be reaping the benefits from a couple of $1 million gifts recently presented to the institutions.

First National Bank of McAlester and the Bass family presented a $1 million check recently to Eastern Oklahoma State College's Foundation as half of their challenge grant for a second building on Eastern’s McAlester campus. Also, a Seminole, Okla., schoolteacher who brought history to life for thousands of students, including OU President David Boren, has left OU $1 million in her estate – the largest one-time gift ever to OU’s Department of History.

Eastern's Clark Bass Building is slightly larger than the first building at 26,000 square-feet with seven ITV rooms, a computer lab, 120-seat auditorium, business conference center, four allied health rooms, an allied health resource room, a science lab and two general purpose classrooms. The remainder of the $4.2 million project is financed by Eastern bonds issued through the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority.

OU plans to use half of a $1 million estate gift from Louise Welch to establish an endowed faculty chair in the History of Oklahoma, the Southern Plains and the Borderlands. Matching funds from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Endowment Program will be sought to create a $1 million endowed chair, which will be named in Welsh’s honor.

Welsh, who died in March 2003 in Seminole at the age of 93, devoted 45 years of her life to teaching. She taught history, English, Spanish and government for 32 years in Seminole Public Schools and at Seminole Junior College. In 1964, she joined the OU Department of History faculty, where she taught for 13 years.

The other half of Ms. Welsh’s gift will endow a Summer Institute on Oklahoma History for Elementary, Secondary, and College Teachers, patterned on the institute for American history schoolteachers sponsored by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.