Dear Editor,

Thank you for the warm welcome, Ada. The Regional University System of Oklahoma would like to thank the city of Ada, its citizens and East Central University for the hospitality we received when we recently held our bi-monthly meeting at the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

The Chickasaw Business and Conference Center is a great example of the result of successful partnership between ECU, the Chickasaw Nation, Ada’s city leadership and the local community.

The ECU Foundation Hall, located on the first floor, doubles as a Federal Emergency Management Agency safe room. The same room functionality is possible because of a $1.46 million grant awarded to ECU by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Matching grants came from the city of Ada and ECU, along with financial support from the Ada Jobs Foundation and the ECU Foundation.  Because of this great partnership, the center has welcomed nearly 15,000 people during its first year in operation.

The Chickasaw Business and Conference Center is only one example of successful collaborations between ECU and the Chickasaw Nation. Other projects include the Native American Studies Center and hosting the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy.

The financial laboratory and technology classroom donated by Ada’s Kellogg & Sovereign Consulting, as well as their support of ECU’s Business Scholars Leadership Program and nationally recognized Oklahoma Business Week summer camp, are other examples of a valued business partnership with ECU. The interactive Market Wall brings Wall Street to ECU, giving Oklahoma business and finance students a national competitive business edge through applied learning. It is collaborations like these between RUSO regional universities and business and industry partners that drive economic advancement for our state.

By joining with our local communities to create collaborative partnerships, RUSO is expanding its mission by investing wisely in our students, as well as the citizens who support us. Our state’s universities are symbols of progress, hope and the future for Oklahoma. But our mission doesn’t stop with our educating students. By partnering with our communities, we can strengthen our vision of service to make the future brighter for everyone.

We applaud ECU, Ada’s leadership and citizens, the late Harland Stonecipher and the Chickasaw Nation for reaching across academic and city boundaries to invest in our young adults and better prepare them to meet the needs of Oklahoma’s workforce. These partnerships epitomize what universities, cities and citizens can achieve when they work together.

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