In honor of East Central University’s partnership with the Chickasaw Nation, ECU’s new residence facility will be called Chokka-Chaffa’ Hall, it was announced by the university on Friday [Sept. 7].
Chokka-Chaffa’ is the Chickasaw word for family. Literally translated ‘house-one,’ the term is a metaphor for the Chickasaw concept of family which includes all of those that live under one roof being of one family – whether they are blood kin or not.
The original intent was to name the residence hall after Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby and his family.
“It was a great honor when East Central University President Dr. Katricia Pierson requested to name the new residence hall on the school’s campus after our family,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “However, after more consideration, it is our request that ECU bestow this honor on the Chickasaw people and nation, instead. There is a long history of partnership between our tribe and the university that dates back to the very land upon which the school is built. From that first donation, the Chickasaw Nation has continued to support and collaborate with ECU to our mutual benefit. While their offer was most gracious and one of which our family is very proud, please celebrate with me as we instead honor the great partnership and legacy between the Chickasaw Nation and ECU in the naming of this residence hall Chokka-Chaffa’ Hall in honor of the Chickasaw Nation.”
The new 40,000-square foot building, located at the corner of 14th and Francis streets in Ada, opened in August and has been filled to capacity.
The three-story facility features 60 double-occupancy rooms for living spaces; five residency assistant rooms; a community kitchen; group study room in each community; a front desk; staff office; mailboxes; lounges and outdoor gathering spaces.
“ECU has benefitted for over 100 years from the generosity of the Chickasaw Nation," said Pierson. “It is our pleasure to celebrate and honor all the people of the Chickasaw Nation. Chokka-Chaffa’ is the Chickasaw word for family and translates to ‘house-one,’ which is fitting of a residence hall. We look forward to many more years of partnership with the Chickasaw Nation.”
With the help of a $10 million bond through the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority’s Master Real Property Lease Program, the new residence hall was made possible.
The residence hall is being paid for through the Master Lease program issued through the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority. The ODFA issues the bonds for this program that are secured by a lease with the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education and by a sub-lease through ECU.
Chokka-Chaffa’ Hall is the first residence hall constructed at ECU since Tiger Commons in 2003.
ECU had a scheduled ribbon cutting and dedication set for Monday, Sept. 10, but the event has been postponed at this time.