Lighting the Path Ahead

Thankful for our Veterans

OSUIT was born out of necessity over 70 years ago. When U.S. soldiers were returning home from World War II, a grateful nation welcomed them back with affection and fanfare. (Such a reception, sadly, has not always been afforded to soldiers in later generations.) In 1946, the president of Oklahoma A&M College (now OSU), Dr. Henry G. Bennett, was compelled to create a training facility in the State of Oklahoma to assist returning veterans with one of their most urgent needs. His goal was to establish a vocational school that could provide proper training to ease the transition of soldiers into the civilian workforce. Dr. Bennett negotiated the purchase of the Glennan Army Hospital in Okmulgee and then founded the Oklahoma A&M College School of Technical Training (now OSUIT) on the 164-acre site. L. Keith Covelle was named as the first director for the school when it opened in October of 1946.

Q: Why are veterans so important to OSUIT? 

A: Our appreciation of veterans began with our unique origins as an institution, but at OSUIT, it’s much deeper than that…we genuinely feel privileged to serve those who have served us. We value all our students, and particularly our veterans. As part of our legacy, our goal is to pay tribute to all military personnel, from every branch of service and from all modern eras of military service. These are the brave men and women who have sacrificed to keep this nation free for over 200 years, and they deserve our respect and our service. 

Our veterans had their mission—to protect our freedoms. OSUIT also has its mission—to provide the training, education, and resources to deploy a workforce-ready, highly marketable veteran with the skills and credentials valued by employers. And we endeavor to accomplish this in the shortest possible time span by evaluating military training and experience for college credit and creating a direct pathway to the veteran’s desired college degree.

The Veteran Services Office at OSUIT is committed to providing the best possible programs and services to veterans and their dependents who attend our institution. Every year, this office sponsors a Veterans Day Celebration on campus. This year, our celebration will be on Friday, November 10. 

We’ll start things off in the morning with a parade at 9:30. Entries include: Parade Marshall and military veteran Don Boudreaux, Oklahoma Senator Roger Thompson, Okmulgee Mayor Steven Baldridge, Okmulgee Fire Department, Okmulgee Emergency Management, MCN Lighthorse Police, military vehicles, Beggs Round Up Club, tractors, bucket trucks, muscle cars, antique cars, Right Path Riding Academy, OSUIT student clubs, and more! 

Following the parade (at 10:30), a Veterans Day Ceremony will be held in Covelle Hall. The ceremony will feature a Purple Heart recipient from the Vietnam era as guest speaker and a local senator presenting an Air Force Commendation medal to a Vietnam Era veteran. We will also have special guests singing patriotic songs, including a previous performer on NBC’s The Voice. A reception with treats from the Cowboy Café will follow. 

Anyone is welcome to join us on November 10 to honor our veterans. Please send comments to osuit-president@okstate.edu

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Dr. Bill R. Path is president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and board member of Okmulgee Main Street Inc. 

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