The Centennial Celebration marking East Central University's 100th birthday in 2009 is officially underway.
The university was established as East Central State Normal School on March 25, 1909. A celebration was held in Ada when then-Gov. Charles N. Haskell signed the legislation, said Dr. Duane C. Anderson, ECU's interim president.
Despite months of tough competition from other cities, Ada's hard-working civic leaders and boosters had raised money and sent supporters to lobby with local legislators for Ada's selection during two legislative sessions at the state capital at Guthrie.
"To mark this important milestone, we are offering a special gift for next year's freshmen who will be part of ECU's Centennial Class," Anderson said. "Next fall, all beginning freshmen, those who enroll for the first time for the fall 2009 semester, will receive a $100 Centennial Scholarship each semester for four years."
Complete details can be found at www.ecok.edu/scholarship.
ECU also has a special Centennial website at www.ecok.edu/centennial that includes the history of the university, photos from the past, Centennial events and a section for favorite memories contributed by past students of the university or of the former Horace Mann Training School.
While special events will be held this March, the yearlong observance of ECU's centennial actually kicked off officially on Dec. 31 with the First Night Ada community celebration. A laser show finale featured a tribute to ECU's 100th anniversary.
Many annual events during 2009 will have a Centennial theme, and several special events will be scheduled throughout the year to include alums and the community.
Students probably enjoyed many scavenger hunts in prior decades, but they could not have imagined something like the Great Centennial Race. On Jan. 22 [THURSDAY], ECU students will participate in a 2009 version of the game. An interactive, text message-based scavenger hunt will allow teams to play for free from any cell phone as they solve riddles, find locations, take pictures with their cell phones and collect points to win. The race will begin at 6 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Center in the University Center.
While sock hops were big social events in the 1950s, the Orange and Black Sweetheart Social will be part of the social scene on Feb. 14 with music by Zoom City. It will begin at 6 p.m. in the Stanley Wagner Ballroom Admission is free, but those planning to attend should RSVP by Feb. 6 to the Office of Alumni Relations. Dress is either casual or formal.
The fundraiser Tiger Cause: Centennial Edition - Dancing through the Decades is scheduled Feb.20, and the musical "Cinderella" will run Feb. 19-22 in the Dorothy Summers Theatre.
ECU will continue its tradition of recognizing special anniversaries. Birthday parties marked the 25th and 75th anniversaries of the school, and the 100th birthday will be no exception.
A special week in March will focus on the 1909 signing of the Normal School Bill. Special performances will be scheduled by student dance, instrumental and vocal music groups. An ECU birthday party on March 26 will include the opening of the time capsule buried on the campus mall during ECU's 75th anniversary in 1984.
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