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ADA, Okla. – East Central University has been a cornerstone of Ada since its founding in 1909 and continues to foster growth and economic development for the local community through consistent employment and a strong community of students on campus. At a recent City Council meeting, ECU President Wendell Godwin thanked the City of Ada for their continued support and shared successes from 2023.

“ECU has a long-standing history in Ada, dating back more than a century,” said Godwin. “This university has had the pleasure of growing alongside the Ada community over the decades and has had the honor of graduating so many notable names that have gone on to accomplish great and significant things for the local community. We are proud that so many of our graduates, our employees and our university has had such an incredible impact on this city that we call home.”

ECU currently employs more than 380 staff and faculty. The university currently has more than 3,200 students enrolled, including more than 900 students who live on or near campus, many of whom are contributing to the local workforce and are regular spenders who invest into the community.

In 2022, it was estimated that faculty, staff and students brought a total economic impact of more than $54 million to the community according to a study conducted by the Ada Jobs Foundation.

Oka Conference
Oka' Con is one of many special events held on the ECU campus every year.

“This past year, over 80,000 people came to our campus to attend events like Homecoming, Tigerpalooza, banquets, performances, athletic events plus performing arts and athletic OSSAA events,” said Godwin. “We have a responsibility to be a good business partner, and these events bring an influx of customers that visit local restaurants, stores and hotels during major ECU events.”

“We are so fortunate to have East Central University as a part of our community,” stated Angie Stout, interim city manager of Ada. “Not only does the University provide quality education and a wide array of opportunities for our local citizens to enjoy, but it also has a substantial economic impact by way of job creation and visitor attraction.  East Central University hosts numerous events throughout the year attracting people from all over the state to its campus which is a tremendous benefit to our local economy.”

ECU annually hosts homecoming, athletic games, fine arts programs, Chickasaw Nation events, student led programs, public lectures, commencement and more. The majority of these are open to the public and encourage people from across the state to visit the ECU campus.

ECU Athletic Facilities hosted approximately 50,000 fans throughout 2023. This included home and visitors, both in state and out of state. The athletic department also hosted numerous NCAA Division II events as well as a variety of high school events such as the Bertha Teague Tournament and OSSAA playoff games.

Fans at ECU Football game
Fans take in a Tiger football game

Throughout 2023, ECU Fine Arts featured ECU student fine arts productions such as; band, music shows and art showcases, as well as regional and state OSSAA choral, music and one act regional competitions. Combined, these events brought in an estimated 25,000 attendees while special events hosted on campus by the Chickasaw Nation, CLEET, the Oka’ Institute and other entities, accumulated approximately 15,000 in attendance.

ECU plans to continue to build partnerships and serve its students, the Ada community and offer families the chance to experience the best that Ada has to offer.

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