University of Tulsa

800 South Tucker Drive 
Tulsa OK 74104 

(918) 631-2000

University of Tulsa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other universities that use the TU initialism, see TU.
The University of Tulsa
Former names
Henry Kendall College (1894–1920)
Motto Wisdom, Faith, Service
Type Private
Established 1894
Religious affiliation
Presbyterian Church
Endowment $885 million[1]
President Steadman Upham
Academic staff
306 (full-time)
Students 4,352
Undergraduates 3,174
Postgraduates 1,178
Location Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
Campus Urban, 230 acres (930,000 m²)
Colors Royal blue, Old gold, & Crimson[2]
Athletics NCAA Division I (FBS)
The American
Nickname Golden Hurricane
Mascot Captain Cane
Affiliations APCU
University of Tulsa logo.png

The University of Tulsa (TU) is a private university located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States. The university is historically affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The university offers programs in law, English, computer science, natural sciences, Clinical and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and engineering disciplines. Its faculty includes the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, psychologist Robert Hogan, political scientist Robert Donaldson. The campus's design is predominantly English Gothic, and the university manages the Gilcrease Museum, which includes one of the largest collections of American Western art in the world.

TU's athletic teams are collectively known as the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and compete in Division I of the NCAA as members of the American Athletic Conference (The American).


Precursor and formation of university

The Presbyterian School for Girls (also known as "Minerva Home")[4] was founded in Muskogee, Indian Territory to offer a primary education to Creek girls. In 1894, it was expanded to become Henry Kendall College, named in honor of Reverend Henry Kendall, secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions.[5][6][7] The first president was William A. Caldwell, who served until 1896. He was succeeded by William Robert King. Kendall College, while still in Muskogee, granted the first post-secondary degree in Oklahoma in June 1898.[8] Under King, the college was moved from its original location in downtown Muskogee to a larger campus on lands donated by Pleasant Porter. The opening of the new campus coincided with the start of the tenure of the third president, A. Grant Evans. Over the next ten years, Evans oversaw the struggling school. In most years, class sizes remained small and although the Academy, the attached elementary, middle, and high school was more successful; by the end of the 1906/07 year Kendall College had had only 27 collegiate graduates. At the request of the administration, the Synod of Indian Territory assumed control as trustees and began to look at alternatives for the future of the school. When the administration was approached by the comparatively smaller town of Tulsa and offered a chance to move, the decision was made to relocate.[6][7][9][10]

The Tulsa Commercial Club (a forerunner of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce) decided to bid for the college. Club members who packaged a bid in 1907 to move the college to Tulsa included: B. Betters, H. O. McClure, L. N. Butts, W. L. North, James H. Hall (sic), Grant C. Stebbins, Rev. Charles W. Kerr, C. H. Nicholson. The offer included $100,000, 20 acres of real estate and a guarantee for utilities and street car service.[11]

The school opened to thirty-five students in September 1907, two months before Oklahoma became a state. These first students attended classes at the First Presbyterian Church until permanent buildings could be erected on the new campus. This became the start of higher education in Tulsa. Kendall Hall, the first building of the new school, was completed in 1908[6][7][9] and was quickly followed by two other buildings. All three buildings have since been demolished, with Kendall the last to be razed in 1972.[12] The bell that once hung in the Kendall Building tower was saved and displayed in Bayless Plaza.

The Kendall College presidents during 1907–1919 were: Arthur Grant Evans, Levi Harrison Beeler, Seth Reed Gordon, Frederick William Hawley, Ralph J. Lamb, Charles Evans, James G. McMurtry and Arthur L. Odell.[13]

In 1918, the Methodist Church proposed building a college in Tulsa, using money donated by Tulsa oilman Robert M. McFarlin. The proposed college was to be named McFarlin College. However, it was soon apparent that Tulsa could not support two such schools. In 1920, Henry Kendall College merged with the proposed McFarlin College to become The University of Tulsa. The McFarlin Library of TU was named for the principal donor of the proposed college. The name of Henry Kendall has lived on to the present as the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences.

Survival in the Great Depression to present

The University of Tulsa opened its School of Petroleum Engineering in 1928.[14]

The Great Depression hit the university hard. By 1935, the school was about to close because of its poor financial condition. It had a debt of $250,000, enrollment had fallen to 300 students (including many who could not pay their own tuition), the faculty was poorly paid and morale was low. It was then that Waite Phillips offered the school presidency to Clarence Isaiah ("Cy") Pontius, a former investment banker. His primary focus would be to rescue the school's finances. A deans' council would take charge of academic issues.[15]

However, Pontius' accomplishments went beyond raising money. During his tenure the following events occurred:

  • In 1935, the university opened the College of Business Administration, which it renamed as the Collins College of Business Administration in 2008.[14]
  • The Tulsa Law School, located in downtown Tulsa, became part of the university in 1943.[14]
Alt text
Skelly House, Official residence for the President of the University of Tulsa.

After William G. Skelly died, his widow donated the Skelly Mansion, at the corner of 21st Street and Madison Avenue, to the University of Tulsa. The school sold the mansion and its furnishings to private owners in 1959. On July 5, 2012, the university announced that would repurchase the house as a residence for its president, who would live on the second floor. The ground floor will be used by the university for special events. After closing the purchase on July 13, 2012, the structure will be officially known as Skelly House.[16]


The University of Tulsa has programs in petroleum engineering, and programs in English, computer science, natural sciences, Clinical and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and several engineering disciplines. The university also maintains a school of law, which is one of the few to specialize in Native American legal issues. The University of Tulsa College of Law Review ranks in the top 15% of most cited legal periodicals as ranked by Washington and Lee University.[17] In its focus on energy, the University of Tulsa maintains both the National Energy Policy Institute and the National Energy-Environment Law and Policy Institute.[18]

The University has an undergraduate research program, evidenced by 44 students receiving Goldwater Scholarships since 1995.[19] The Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) allows undergraduates to conduct advanced research with the guidance of top TU professors.[20]

Currently, there are six colleges, programs, and departments at the University of Tulsa:

  • Henry Kendall College of Arts & Sciences
  • Collins College of Business (formerly College of Business Administration)
  • College of Engineering and Natural Sciences
  • College of Law
  • College of Health Sciences (opening January 2015)
  • Graduate School
  • Division of Continuing Education

Admission to TU is highly competitive; The 2014 incoming freshman class boast an average ACT score of 29 and an incoming average GPA of 3.9, the highest ever in the University of Tulsa's history.[21]

The Tulsa Institute for Trauma, Abuse and Neglect (TITAN) is an interdisciplinary institute committed to evidence-based education, scholarship, research, and service that reduce the incidence and impact of trauma and adversity. This group is composed of students and professors primarily in Psychology, Sociology, and Nursing. The group is contributing to the fields through presentations at local and major conferences and publications.


University rankings
Forbes[22] 173
U.S. News & World Report[23] 83
Washington Monthly[24] 223

U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 edition of Best Colleges ranked The University of Tulsa as 83rd. This 2013 ranking was the 10th consecutive year that TU has been listed in the Top 100 national universities, and TU is the only Oklahoma university to be included within the top 100.[25]

In 2011, Tulsa's Collins College of Business was ranked 33rd in the country among undergraduate business schools by Bloomberg Businessweek based on a student survey. It was ranked 20th by a survey of recruiters.[26] The most recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek financial aid ranking placed TU at No. 1 in terms of providing meaningful student aid for business students.[27]

The University of Tulsa is known for the large number of National Merit Scholarship winners in attendance, approximately one in every ten undergraduate students. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, for 2004 The University of Tulsa's freshman class ranked 9th nationally among research universities in the number of National Merit Scholars per capita.[28]

The University of Tulsa does not, however, appear on any of the significant global academic rankings including the ARWU (Shanghai Ranking) and THE (Times Higher Education).[29][30]


The campus of the University of Tulsa centers on a wide, grassy, quad-like space known as Dietler Commons, formerly called "The U." The predominant architectural style is English Gothic. Most of the buildings are constructed from tan and rose-colored Crab Orchard sandstone from Tennessee interspersed with stone quarried in Arkansas. Other materials include Bedford limestone from Indiana and slate quarried in Vermont.

University of Tulsa has participated in efforts towards sustainability including RecycleMania and Adopt a Recycle Bin. Many campus efforts have been led by student groups like the Sustainability Committee, the Student Association, TU Earth Matters, and the TU Food Garden. The Food Garden is a student-run organic garden that is able to provide food to dining services. The University is also striving to have its buildings meet LEED Standards in order to reduce the school’s overall carbon footprint. The university achieved a D+ on the Sustainable College Report Card in 2009, which is up from a D in 2008.[31][32]

Tulsa is one of the first universities in the United States to have a mosque located on campus.[33]

"The Old U" as seen from S Delaware Ave.

Bayless Plaza

Completed in 2006, Bayless Plaza houses the Kendall Bell, hanging in the cupola of the former Kendall Hall. The plaza lies directly south of Tyrrell Hall, longtime home of the School of Music, and serves as the apex of Tucker Drive, the University's main entrance.

H. A. Chapman Stadium

Chapman Stadium

TU football has played at Skelly Field at H. A. Chapman Stadium since 1930. It was renamed from Skelly Stadium following renovations in 2007. The Case Athletic Complex in the north end of the field provides office facilities for the football staff, a new locker room and trainer facility, a letterman's lounge and box seating on the top level, and meeting rooms, a computer lab, and study spaces for student-athletes. Renovations are completed and provide renovated seating throughout the stadium, new turf, an updated score board and Jumbotron, and an expanded press box. The changes also include the addition of an extensive plaza area (Thomas Plaza) on the west side of the stadium to accommodate restrooms, food and drink stands, and souvenir shops.

Donald W. Reynolds Center

Home to women's volleyball along with the men's and women's basketball programs, the Donald W. Reynolds Center houses office and meeting space, practice and weights facilities, as well as the main basketball arena. Commencement exercises are held in the Reynolds Center in December and May.

Sharp Chapel

Sharp Chapel

Named for its principal donors, Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Sharp, Sharp Chapel was completed on November 27, 1959. It replaced the university's original chapel that was located in Kendall Hall before its destruction and replacement by the current Kendall Hall theater building. Sharp Chapel houses the Offices of University Chaplain and serves the religious needs of multiple denominations present on campus as well as hosting many awards ceremonies and weddings.

Additions to Sharp Chapel were completed in the spring of 2004, including the Westminster Room, an atrium, kitchen, and a second floor including administrative offices and a conference room.


On-campus housing consists of six residence halls, six sorority houses, and six university-owned apartment complexes, including eight apartments designed like townhouses.

Residence halls:

  • John Mabee Hall – All male residence hall located at the Northwest end of Dietler Commons. It is known on-campus as "The John".
  • Lottie Jane Mabee Hall – All female residence hall located at the Southwest end of Deitler Commons. It is known on-campus as "Lottie."
  • LaFortune Hall – Coed residence hall close to the athletics areas. Home to the university's International Living Community.
  • William F. Fisher Hall – Coed freshman residence hall immediately adjacent to the facility formerly known as Twin Towers, first opened to students in the fall of 1984. It was known as Twin South from 1984 to 2009.[citation needed] It is now known on campus as "South" or "Fisher South"
  • Fisher West Suites - Coed residence hall immediately adjacent to the Dining Hall and part of the building formerly known as Twin Towers. Known on campus as "West" or "Fisher West"
  • Hardesty Hall - Coed residence hall close to Allen Chapman Student Union.

Apartment complexes include Brown Village, Lorton Village (includes townhouses), Mayo Village, Norman Village, University Square South, and University Square West.

Museums and libraries

McFarlin Library

At the top of Deitler Commons sits one of the campus' most notable landmarks, the McFarlin Library, which is named after Robert and Ida McFarlin, the library's primary benefactors. The McFarlins had only one stipulation with their gift, the view of Downtown Tulsa from McFarlin can never be blocked. Ground breaking ceremonies took place on May 3, 1929 and the edifice was dedicated on June 1, 1930. The library continued to grow over the years, adding two five-story additions by 1979. Currently, the library houses over three million items and is noted for its collections of 20th-century British, Irish, and American literature, including the world's second largest collection of materials by James Joyce. It also houses the papers of Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul. The library also contains a vast collection of books on Native American history.[34] Renovations began in the spring of 2007 on a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) addition that consolidated the library's computing and technology resources into one location. The library's reading rooms were restored to provide quiet areas for student and faculty study. Construction was completed in 2009.

Beginning in July 2008, the University of Tulsa has taken over management of the Gilcrease Museum in a public-private partnership with the City of Tulsa. The museum has one of the largest collections of American Western art in the world and houses growing collections in artifacts from Central and South America. The museum sits on 460 acres (1.9 km2) of ground in northwest Tulsa a considerable distance from the main university campus.[35]

Student life

Students at the University of Tulsa represent 30 states and 21 foreign countries, out of which 39% are Oklahoma residents.[21] The University of Tulsa is home to more than 200 student organizations, registered with and partially funded by the Student Association.

Student Association

The Student Association is the University of Tulsa student government body. It is organized into three branches: the Executive Branch, which includes Cabinet and is in charge of organizing large campus wide events and activities; the Judicial Branch; and the Legislative Branch, or Student Senate, which coordinates funding, oversees student organizations, and addresses general issues impacting student life on campus. Its budget is provided partially by the university and partially by a fee paid by students each semester.

Traditionally, the Student Association coordinates Homecoming activities, including cross campus competitions and the homecoming game tailgate. Another traditional event is Springfest, a week-long series of events including food, various on campus activities, and a concert bringing in such names as Ben Folds, Panic! At the Disco, and Imagine Dragons. Activities organized by Student Association are free to all TU students.

Greek presence

There are 5 IFC fraternities and 6 NPC sororities on campus. The living quarters in the back of the sorority houses are university owned residence halls, but, traditionally, only current members of the sororities live there.



There are also a number of historically black sororities and fraternities on campus that fall under the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Currently, there are five active organizations:



Other fraternities on campus that do not fall under the various councils include:


  • Kendall Bell: The Kendall Bell, now housed in Bayless Plaza, is traditionally rung by graduating seniors upon completion of their last final exam at the university. The bell was broken by a group of students in May 2008. They were trying to steal it, and dropped it in the escape.
  • Homecoming Bonfire: Traditionally held the Friday evening prior to the Homecoming football game. The Homecoming court is honored and the Homecoming King is named, the Queen is not named until halftime of the football game on Saturday.
  • Alma Mater: "Hail to Tulsa U" is sung by alumni and current students prior to major sporting events and at the end of all commencement ceremonies. Alumni and students remain standing as a sign of respect. The melody is played by the Sharp Chapel carillon daily at 5 pm.


Tulsa Golden Hurricane Athletic Logo

Tulsa's sports teams participate in NCAA Division I as a member of the