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Cameron University Holds Installation Ceremony For New President

President John McArthur
Photo by James Meeks

On Wednesday Oct. 23, Cameron University held a Installation Ceremony for their newly appointed president, Dr. John McArthur.

President McArthur became the the president of Cameron University on July 1, succeeding Dr. Cynthia Ross. McArthur is the university’s seventeenth since it’s inception in 1908, one year after Oklahoma became a state.

There is no denying that Cameron has grown and changed quite a bit since it’s first year. The university began as a agriculture school named after Rev. E.D. Cameron, a Baptist minister and Oklahoma’s first State Superintendent of Schools. In fact while the university was under construction the first classes were actually held in the basement of a bank building.

Today, Cameron University serves students from around the world, offering more than 50 degree programs through two-year, four-year and graduate programs. Over the past decade Cameron has gone through many changes and improvements  including, the construction of Cameron Village, The Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES) Building, The McMahon Centennial Complex; which serves as the student union, The Bentley Gardens, The beginnings of a convergence journalism program and most recently Cynthia S. Ross Hall of Business.

Before McArthur became president of the university he served as Provost where he focused on student learning, scholarly activity and service as components of the university’s mission.

The ceremony began with a welcoming speech from Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Ronna Vanderslice.

“It is with great joy that we celebrate President McArthur’s position in his new role with this installation ceremony,” says Dr. Ronna Vanderslice, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Since taking the reins as Cameron’s president, he has already demonstrated his commitment to maintaining Cameron’s stature as a university where excellence prevails.

Dr. Michael Dunn, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, was one of the many speakers that welcomed Dr. McArthur in the new position, but stated that simple welcoming the seventeenth president.

“From a faculty perspective, ‘welcome’ just doesn’t seem to be the right word,” Dunn said. “He is a man that leads by experience and example.”

Dunn also went on by stating that when McArthur served as Dean of Science and Technology, he would pick and choose his classes in all the available formats so he can gain experience in those types of classrooms.

“He knows the joy of being able to reach our students anywhere in the world via online classes,” Dunn said. “But, he also knows the loneliness of staring at that screen and wandering ‘hello, is anybody out there.’”

Dr. Glen Johnson, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regent for Higher Education noted during the ceremony that Cameron University noting the university is an innovator on the guarantee that to graduates and employers “a quality educational product.”

“In this real-time online environment that we live in today, we do know that in the collegiate world a president has the authority and ultimately the responsibility to set the tone and the vision which shapes the goals, direction and the dreams of the institution that he or she leads,” Johnson said.

After Dr. Johnson’s speech, Chair of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents Richard R. Dunning lead the presentation of the University Mace; a symbol of authority of the the faculty in academic matters and the price of shared governance within the university and The Presidential Medallion; the official insignia of the university president to Dr. McArthur.

Dr. McArthur began by thanking the Board of Regents and then proceeded to talk about his experiences as a instructor of the collegiate level.

“When I was student and when I first became a teacher, I thought the interaction between a caring and informed faculty member working with an engaged and prepared student was a kind of magic,” McArthur said. “I’ve learned however that it’s more than magic, our faculty created environment everyday and also teach the next generation of teachers to do the same.”

After the installation ceremony, a reception followed where staff, faculty and students could congratulate the new university president personally.

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