Ceremony Marks First Class of College Park Students to Transition to OSU-Tulsa

One by one, students in the groundbreaking College Park program from Tulsa Community College and Oklahoma State University-Tulsa donned crisp white graduation stoles as their families and friends cheered them on.

The stoles, presented in a special ceremony, served as important waymarks in College Park: the halfway point. Part of the inaugural College Park cohort when the program was launched in 2021, these students are the first to transition to OSU to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

“You truly are trailblazers as you set the path forward for our two institutions and your fellow students,” said Johnny Stephens, interim president of OSU-Tulsa and president of OSU Center for Health Sciences.  “You’ve been on the OSU-Tulsa campus from day one, so we’ve always thought of you as part of the OSU Family. Now you’re official.”

College Park is a collaboration between TCC and OSU-Tulsa to provide a four-year public university experience, offering a structured course schedule and unique learning format to benefit students who want to earn an affordable bachelor’s degree while staying in Tulsa. The program was established to improve access to bachelor’s degrees for Tulsa-area students and increase the number of Tulsans with bachelor’s degrees.

“Thankfully, you all had faith in this new concept and as students jumped aboard,” said Leigh Goodson, president and CEO of Tulsa Community College, congratulating the cohort at the ceremony. “On behalf of all the TCC and OSU staff, we congratulate you on your drive, your determination, and your will for a better future for yourself, for your family and for our community. You make us proud.”

These College Park students are representative of the populations the program was created to serve. Several are first-generation college students, and many have responsibilities keeping them close to home. These common threads helped form bonds that encouraged persistence.

“My favorite thing is probably the cohort, how we’re all together with the same classes. We really always have somebody to ask about class work,” said College Park student Brenda Ibarra. “All of us talk to each other outside of school too, about work or even not about work, we all just communicate."

The ability to lean on TCC and OSU-Tulsa support staff for help and guidance through the program has been especially helpful for some students, like Francisco Briceno.

“The whole support team, they put away any worry or concern about any step you need to take,” Briceno said. “Your job is to study – they allow us to be focused on studying. Everything else you can take it to them and they will find a solution.”

This first class of graduates are from the program’s initial business cohort. TCC and OSU-Tulsa have since expanded College Park to include Psychology, and recently added Engineering.

For more information visit the College Park program.