|The history of Northern Oklahoma College began in 1901 when the Honorable James Wilkin realized the need for a college in the Tonkawa, Oklahoma area. Thus, the sixth Territorial Legislature passed an appropriation bill on March 1, 1901 for the establishment of the University Preparatory School at Tonkawa. The doors opened to 217 students and 7 faculty.
During the first two decades, the school served primarily as a "feeder" institution for the University of Oklahoma and paralleled the university curriculum of music, foreign languages, business, literature, and military science. In addition, the school served as a cultural center for the performing arts, a distinction that continues today with the 2006 dedication of the Kinzer Performing Arts Center.
Of utmost importance was the school's first accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities in 1948. Then, with the passage of the Higher Education Code in 1965, the institution received its present name, Northern Oklahoma College, and the three-person Board of Regents was expanded to five members. During the last two decades, Northern has expanded it physical plant, broadened its curriculum, increased its student enrollment, and developed campuses in Enid and Stillwater.
Additionally, Northern is a leader among Oklahoma colleges in technological advances in developing multiple on-line and interactive television courses that serve students in rural and remote areas who could not otherwise attain a college degree. The educational achievements of this school, and the opportunities it affords for the expansion of knowledge, culture, and training are manifest in the recognition and support currently and historically given it by area residents and businesses, by state agencies, and by Oklahoma peer institutions.
The Tonkawa campus, established in 1901, serves as the administrative center for Northern with campuses in Tonkawa, Enid, and Stillwater. All program oversight in academic, financial, student service, personnel, development, physical plant, and information technology is housed in Tonkawa. Some, 2,200 students attend class on campus, by ITV, via online, or at technology centers. Offering 70 degrees with an array of courses, Northern distinguishes itself as a leading community college in Oklahoma.
The Enid campus was established in 1999 in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and the City of Enid. This campus has grown in offering multiple two-year liberal arts degree programs to some 1,200 students each semester. The Enid campus continues to expand its faculty, curriculum, and numerous clubs and activities.
The Stillwater campus, established in 2003, serves multiple missions to area students. Primarily a Gateway Program, the Stillwater campus serves students who would otherwise not be admitted to Oklahoma State University. The campus, however, also admits students seeking general education courses that transfer to other comprehensive colleges and universities. Northern Stillwater admits approximately 300 new students each fall and spring semester, serving some 1,700 students.