Southeastern Oklahoma State University celebrated its 103rd birthday by starting a new tradition: The June 14 open house and watermelon feast.
A large crowd of Savage Storm alumni, current students, staff members, Durant Chamber of Commerce members and student tour groups gathered Thursday in front of the Morrison Building to mark the day the “Southeastern Normal School” opened for classes in 1909.
After remarks from school, city and chamber leaders, everyone gathered around Southeastern President Dr. Larry Minks to cut the ribbon on the Morrison steps. Everyone present was treated to watermelon and live music under the magnolias in the center of the venerated campus, as well as tours.
Minks thanked the city and chamber for their continued support of the university. “From its humble beginnings, this institution has been warmly embraced by this city,” he said. “The university is indeed proud to be part of this dynamic community.”
History professor Dr. David Norris said two men deserved credit for the school’s early formation and success: First school president Marcus E. Moore and the “patron saint of Southeastern,” William A. Durant. He suggested statues on campus or elsewhere in the city.
Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson read a proclamation declaring June 14 “Southeastern Campus Open House Day.” He applauded the “tradition of mutual benefit” between the city and the school.