Discovering the Best in the South: A Tour of University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and University of Arkansas
As parents, watching our children grow up and prepare for their next steps in life can be both bittersweet and exciting. Recently, I had the opportunity to tour three universities with my daughter: University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Arkansas. It was a week filled with creating lasting memories, exploring new places, and envisioning the future. Over the course of three days, we covered over 1,100 miles, walked 5 miles a day, and spent countless hours driving. But the time spent together, as we discussed her plans for the future, made it all worth it. In this blog post, I'll share our experiences and the valuable lessons we learned during our university tours.
Day 1 - The Drive
On the first leg of our trip, we drove from Houston, Texas to Norman, Oklahoma, passing through Dallas on a stormy day and night. Despite Google Maps predicting a 6-hour drive, it took us a grueling 8 and a half hours due to the heavy traffic and inclement weather. Driving through the storm, with strong winds buffeting our car at night, was an anxiety-inducing experience. However, we persevered and finally arrived in Norman, where we checked into our first hotel, the Noun, located on S. University Blvd., just across from University of Oklahoma. For a late dinner, we went to Hideaway Pizza for a cheese pizza.
Hideaway Pizza is a beloved pizza restaurant that has been a staple in Norman, Oklahoma, since 1957. It all began when three Oklahoma State University students, Richard Dermer, Andrew Gammill, and Ronald Baber, decided to open a pizza joint near their school. They converted a small house on Stillwater's Washington Street into a pizzeria that quickly became a hot spot for students.
As the popularity of Hideaway Pizza grew, the owners decided to expand to Norman, home of the University of Oklahoma. They opened a Hideaway Pizza in Norman in 1977, located just a few blocks from the university campus. The Norman location quickly became a favorite spot for students, locals, and visitors alike.
Over the years, Hideaway Pizza has become a legendary part of the Norman community. Their delicious pizzas, made with high-quality ingredients and secret family recipes, have won countless awards and loyal fans. Today, Hideaway Pizza has multiple locations throughout Oklahoma, including several in the Norman area.
In addition to their delicious food, Hideaway Pizza has also been known for its charitable contributions and community involvement. They have supported a variety of local organizations and events, and their dedication to giving back has made them a beloved part of the Norman community. Overall, Hideaway Pizza's rich history and commitment to quality have made it a treasured institution in Norman and beyond.
Day 2 - Tour of University of Oklahoma
During our tour of University of Oklahoma, we had the opportunity to explore a variety of notable locations, including The University of Oklahoma Visitor Center, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Bizzell Memorial Library, Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, various dormitories, Sarkeys Fitness Center, the North and South Ovals, and even the iconic clock tower on the north side of campus. However, the weather during our visit was far from ideal, with persistent rain and frigid temperatures. Thankfully, the university provided ponchos, hand warmers, and coffee to make the tour more comfortable. Despite the inclement weather, the 2-hour tour was well worth it. It's worth noting that prospective visitors should be prepared for a significant amount of walking.
The mascot of University of Oklahoma is the Sooner Schooner, a unique and beloved symbol of the university's athletic programs. The Sooner Schooner is a covered wagon that has been used as the university's mascot since the 1960s. It is pulled by two white ponies named Boomer and Sooner, and is driven around the field after each score made by the university's football team.
The Sooner Schooner has become a cherished tradition at University of Oklahoma, and has made appearances at numerous events and parades throughout the state. It represents the proud and pioneering spirit of the university's students, faculty, and alumni.
In addition to the Sooner Schooner, the university also has a costumed mascot named Boomer, who is a humanoid horse dressed in crimson and cream, the university's colors. Boomer can be seen at sporting events, pep rallies, and other university gatherings, where he helps to energize and inspire the crowd.
Overall, the mascots of University of Oklahoma represent the proud traditions and spirit of the university community, and are beloved symbols of the university's rich history and culture.
Bizzell Memorial Library
The Bizzell Memorial Library is the main library at University of Oklahoma, and is located in the heart of the university's Norman campus. The library is named after William B. Bizzell, who served as the university's president from 1925 to 1941.
The Bizzell Library has a long and storied history, dating back to 1929 when it first opened its doors. The library has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years, and today it is a modern and spacious facility that provides a wealth of resources and services to students, faculty, and the community.
The library's collection includes over 4 million volumes, including books, periodicals, and other materials. It also houses a variety of special collections, including the History of Science Collections, which contains rare books, manuscripts, and artifacts related to the history of science and medicine.
In addition to its extensive collection, the Bizzell Library offers a range of services and resources to support research, learning, and scholarship. These include access to a variety of online databases and resources, as well as assistance from trained librarians and research specialists.
The Bizzell Library is also a hub of activity on the University of Oklahoma campus. It offers a variety of study spaces, including quiet zones, collaborative workspaces, and multimedia rooms. The library is also home to a variety of events and programs, including author talks, book clubs, and other cultural events.
Overall, the Bizzell Memorial Library is a vital and integral part of the University of Oklahoma community, providing a wealth of resources, services, and opportunities for learning, research, and scholarship.
The Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
The Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is the home stadium for the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team. Located in the heart of the university's Norman campus, the stadium has a seating capacity of over 80,000 and is one of the largest and most well-known college football stadiums in the country.
The stadium was originally built in 1923, and has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years. In 1999, the stadium was officially renamed the Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, in honor of the Gaylord family's contributions to the university and the state of Oklahoma.
The stadium is known for its iconic architecture and design, which includes a horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement that creates an intimate and exciting atmosphere for fans. The stadium also features state-of-the-art facilities and amenities, including a large video scoreboard, multiple concession stands, and comfortable seating.
In addition to serving as the home of the Sooners football team, the stadium is also a hub of activity on game days. Fans from all over the state and the country come to watch the Sooners play, and the stadium is known for its electric atmosphere and passionate fan base.
Overall, the Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is a cherished and beloved symbol of the university and the state of Oklahoma. It represents the rich history and traditions of the university's football program, and serves as a gathering place for fans, students, and alumni alike.
The Clock Tower at Oklahoma University
The clock tower at University of Oklahoma, also known as the South Oval Clock Tower, is a beloved and iconic symbol of the university. The tower is located at the southern end of the South Oval, a large open space that serves as the central gathering place for the university community.
The clock tower has a rich history and lore that has been passed down through generations of University of Oklahoma students and alumni. One of the most well-known stories is that of the "Oklahoma Run," a tradition in which students race around the South Oval and touch the clock tower before sprinting back to the starting point.
Another popular legend associated with the clock tower is that of "The Curse of the Tower." According to this legend, any couple who kisses under the clock tower at midnight will be cursed to break up before graduation. While there is no evidence to support the curse, many students and alumni still enjoy the tradition of kissing under the tower.
The clock tower also plays an important role in the university's culture and traditions. It is often used as a gathering place for events and celebrations, and is frequently decorated to mark special occasions or holidays.
Overall, the clock tower at University of Oklahoma is a beloved and cherished symbol of the university and its traditions. Its rich history and lore have helped to create a strong sense of community and connection among students, alumni, and fans of the university.
Lunch at Fuzzy's Taco
Fuzzy's Taco is a popular Tex-Mex restaurant chain with a location in Norman, Oklahoma, just a short distance from the University of Oklahoma campus. The restaurant is known for its delicious and affordable tacos, as well as its friendly and laid-back atmosphere.
The menu at Fuzzy's Taco features a wide range of classic Tex-Mex dishes, including tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more. The restaurant is also known for its signature Baja-style tacos, which are made with grilled or fried fish, shredded lettuce, cheese, and a variety of sauces and toppings.
In addition to the delicious food, Fuzzy's Taco in Norman is also known for its fun and casual vibe. The restaurant has a large outdoor patio area, as well as a spacious indoor dining room and bar. The walls are decorated with colorful murals and quirky artwork, adding to the fun and relaxed atmosphere.
One of the most popular items on the menu at Fuzzy's Taco is the breakfast tacos, which are available all day. These tacos are made with scrambled eggs, cheese, and a variety of meats and vegetables, and are the perfect way to start your day.
Overall, Fuzzy's Taco in Norman, Oklahoma is a great spot for anyone looking for tasty Tex-Mex food in a fun and laid-back atmosphere. Whether you're a student at University of Oklahoma, a local resident, or just passing through, be sure to stop by and check it out.
Travel to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma
After a morning of touring Oklahoma University and grabbing lunch, we hit the road to our next destination, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. While the weather was still chilly, the rain began to ease up as we left Oklahoma City and made our way towards Stillwater. There, we checked into the Atherton Hotel, located on the OSU campus, and took some time to rest. Later, we visited the popular hotspot, Eskimo Joe's, just off campus, and indulged in some of their famous cheese fries along with juicy hamburgers.
Atherton Hotel on the Campus of Oklahoma State University
The Atherton Hotel, located on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, is a historic and charming hotel that has been welcoming guests for over 60 years. The hotel was built in 1950 and named after William L. Atherton, the third president of Oklahoma State University.
The Atherton Hotel features 81 well-appointed guest rooms and suites, all of which are tastefully decorated and offer modern amenities. The hotel is also home to two on-site dining options: The Ranchers Club, a fine-dining steakhouse, and the Atherton Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a more casual setting.
One of the most unique features of the Atherton Hotel is its location on the OSU campus. The hotel is just a short walk away from many of the university's most iconic landmarks, including the Student Union, the library, and the football stadium. This makes the hotel a popular choice for visitors attending events on the OSU campus, including sports games, conferences, and graduations.
In addition to its prime location and comfortable accommodations, the Atherton Hotel is also known for its exceptional customer service. The staff at the hotel go above and beyond to make every guest feel welcome and ensure that their stay is as enjoyable as possible.
Overall, the Atherton Hotel on the campus of Oklahoma State University is a top choice for visitors looking for a comfortable and convenient place to stay in Stillwater. Whether you're a visiting parent, a business traveler, or a football fan, the Atherton Hotel is sure to exceed your expectations.
Eskimo Joe's - Stillwater, Oklahoma
Eskimo Joe's is a legendary restaurant and bar located just off the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Since its founding in 1975, Eskimo Joe's has become an iconic destination for students, alumni, and visitors alike.
The restaurant is famous for its delicious hamburgers, which are made with fresh, never-frozen beef and served with a wide range of toppings, from classic cheese and bacon to more adventurous options like fried jalapeños and peanut butter. However, the real star of the menu is Eskimo Joe's world-famous cheese fries, which are smothered in melted cheddar cheese and served with a side of homemade ranch dressing.
The atmosphere at Eskimo Joe's is casual and laid-back, with plenty of seating both inside and outside on the patio. The restaurant is decorated with OSU memorabilia and sports a fun and quirky vibe that is sure to put a smile on your face.
In addition to its tasty food and fun atmosphere, Eskimo Joe's is also a popular spot for live music, with regular performances by local bands and touring musicians. The bar at Eskimo Joe's is fully stocked with a wide variety of beer, wine, and spirits, making it a great spot for a night out with friends.
Overall, Eskimo Joe's is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Stillwater, Oklahoma. Whether you're a student at OSU, a proud alumni, or just passing through town, be sure to stop by and sample some of the restaurant's famous cheese fries and burgers. With its tasty food, fun atmosphere, and live music, Eskimo Joe's is a true Oklahoma institution.
Day 3 - Tour of Oklahoma State University
After a short walk from the Atherton Hotel, we arrived at the Conoco Phillips OSU Alumni Center to check-in for our presentation and tour. The tour took us through several key locations on the OSU campus, including the new business building, the North and South Engineering buildings, Edmond Low Library, and two different dorm styles. We also had the chance to visit the Colvin Recreation Center and the Student Union, with the impressive Boone Pickens Stadium looming in the background.
The tour lasted approximately two hours, and it's worth noting that it involves a fair amount of walking, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Overall, the tour is a great way to get a sense of the OSU campus and its many offerings, from state-of-the-art research facilities to top-notch recreation and residential options. Whether you're a prospective student or just a curious visitor, the tour is well worth your time.
Edmond Low Library
The Edmon Low Library is the main library on the Oklahoma State University (OSU) campus, located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The library is named in honor of Edmon Low, who served as OSU president from 1938 to 1951.
The library houses more than 2 million items, including books, journals, government documents, maps, and audiovisual materials. It also provides access to a wealth of online resources, including academic journals, e-books, and research databases.
The library offers a range of services to students, faculty, and staff, including research assistance, interlibrary loan, and technology support. It also provides a variety of spaces for studying and collaboration, including private study rooms, computer workstations, and group study rooms.
In addition to its many resources and services, the Edmon Low Library is also known for its distinctive architecture. The building was designed by the renowned architect John G. Williams and features a modernist style with a striking exterior of glass and concrete. Inside, the library boasts a four-story central atrium with natural light that creates an inviting and inspiring space for studying and research.
Overall, the Edmon Low Library is an essential resource and a key component of academic life at OSU, providing students, faculty, and staff with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their academic pursuits.
Boone Pickens Stadium
Boone Pickens Stadium is a football stadium located on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The stadium serves as the home of the Oklahoma State Cowboys football team.
The stadium was originally built in 1920 and has undergone several renovations over the years to increase its seating capacity and improve its facilities. Today, the stadium can hold over 55,000 fans and features modern amenities such as luxury suites, a video scoreboard, and a state-of-the-art sound system.
The stadium is named after oil magnate T. Boone Pickens, who donated over $400 million to Oklahoma State University over the course of his lifetime. Pickens was a dedicated supporter of OSU athletics, and his contributions helped to fund many of the upgrades to the stadium and other facilities on campus.
In addition to hosting football games, Boone Pickens Stadium has also been the site of a number of other events over the years, including concerts, graduations, and other special events. The stadium is a beloved symbol of OSU pride and a testament to the passion and dedication of the Cowboy faithful.
The Drive to Fayetteville - University of Arkansas
Following our extensive tour of Oklahoma State University, we made a brief stop at Chick Fil A for a quick bite to eat before embarking on the next leg of our journey. Our destination was Fayetteville, Arkansas, where we planned to tour the campus of the University of Arkansas the following day.
After a long day on the road, we were relieved to arrive at the Inn at Carnall Hall, a charming hotel located on the University of Arkansas campus. We then headed to Grub's for a delicious dinner before retiring to our hotel room for some much-needed rest.
With two days of campus tours behind us, we knew that we needed to recharge our batteries in preparation for the final leg of our journey. So, we hit the hay early, eager for the adventures that awaited us in the coming day.
Inn at Carnall Hall - University of Arkansas
The Inn at Carnall Hall is a charming and historic hotel located on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Built in 1905, this iconic building was originally a women's dormitory before being converted into a luxurious hotel in 2003.
The Inn offers a unique and elegant atmosphere with 49 beautifully-appointed guest rooms, each individually decorated with a mix of classic and modern furnishings. Many of the rooms also feature original architectural details, such as high ceilings, large windows, and fireplaces.
In addition to the well-appointed guest rooms, the Inn also features a variety of amenities, including a fitness center, a business center, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests can also enjoy delicious dining options at Ella's Table, the hotel's on-site restaurant.
The Inn at Carnall Hall provides a one-of-a-kind experience for those visiting the University of Arkansas or exploring the charming town of Fayetteville. Its prime location on campus allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the university's history and culture, while enjoying the comforts and amenities of a boutique hotel.
Grub's Bar and Grille - Fayetteville, Arkansas
Grub's Bar and Grille is a popular restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas located near the University of Arkansas campus. The restaurant offers a casual dining atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating. The menu features a variety of American fare, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers.
Grub's is well known for their "Stuffed Burger," which is a juicy burger stuffed with cheese and other ingredients like jalapeños or mushrooms. They also offer a variety of unique dipping sauces such as the chipotle ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Grub's has a full bar with a variety of local and regional beers on tap, along with a selection of cocktails and wine. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere and is a popular spot for students, locals, and visitors alike.
Overall, Grub's Bar and Grille is a must-visit for anyone in Fayetteville looking for delicious food, good drinks, and a fun atmosphere.
Day 4 - Tour of the University of Arkansas
Of the three campuses we visited in three days, the University of Arkansas had the smallest campus. The hour-long admissions presentation and tour did not include visits to the dorms, unlike Oklahoma University and OSU. The tour covered a number of attractions, such as Senior Walk, Old Main, Chi Omega Greek Theatre, Spoofer's Stone, and Arkansas Union. We passed by four buildings dedicated to engineering and the architecture buildings. My daughter was intrigued by the architecture program, which requires a study abroad in Rome to graduate from the program. Although we did not tour the rec center or any of the sport facilities, we could see them from the top of the mountain, including the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The weather during the tour was cool and dry. The campus, located in the mountains, was breathtakingly beautiful.
Senior Walk is a unique and cherished tradition at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is a sidewalk that runs through the heart of the campus, lined with over 170,000 names of graduates who have received degrees from the university since the first graduating class of 1876. Each graduate's name is etched into the concrete, along with their degree, major, and graduation year.
As students walk along Senior Walk, they can read the names of the university's notable alumni, including former President Bill Clinton and Walmart founder Sam Walton. It is a symbol of the university's rich history and a source of pride for students, faculty, and staff. Senior Walk is also the site of several university events, such as the annual "Lighting of the Walk," where the sidewalk is decorated with lights during the holiday season.
Old Main at the University of Arkansas is a historic building that was completed in 1875 and is the oldest building on the campus. It has served various purposes over the years, including as a classroom building, library, and administrative building. Today, it houses the offices of the Chancellor and other senior administrators. The building's exterior features a clock tower and a bell tower, and the interior features a grand staircase and stained glass windows. Old Main is a significant symbol of the university's history and is often featured in university promotional materials and memorabilia.
Chi Omega Greek Theatre
The Chi Omega Greek Theatre at the University of Arkansas is a historic and iconic structure located on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The theater was built in the 1920s by members of the Chi Omega sorority and was designed to serve as a venue for musical performances, plays, and other cultural events.
The theater is a remarkable example of the Spanish Renaissance architectural style, featuring stunning stonework, intricate carvings, and elegant arches. The theater is surrounded by a lush landscape of greenery and lush vegetation, which adds to its natural beauty and provides a peaceful escape from the busy life of the university.
One of the most notable features of the theater is its impressive stage, which was designed to accommodate a wide range of performances, from plays to concerts to dance recitals. The stage is equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, making it an ideal venue for modern productions.
Throughout its history, the Chi Omega Greek Theatre has been used for a variety of events, including concerts by famous musicians, cultural festivals, and charity events. The theater has also been the site of numerous speeches by notable figures, including political leaders, celebrities, and activists.
Despite its rich history and cultural significance, the Chi Omega Greek Theatre is more than just a piece of history. It continues to play an active role in the cultural life of the University of Arkansas and the surrounding community, serving as a venue for events and performances that bring people together and foster a sense of community.
Whether you are a student, alumni, or a member of the local community, the Chi Omega Greek Theatre is a place that is sure to inspire and impress. With its beautiful architecture, rich history, and vibrant cultural life, it is truly one of the gems of the University of Arkansas campus.
Spoofer's Stone is a unique and interesting landmark located on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The rock is a large boulder that sits atop a hill on the edge of the campus and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
According to legend, Spoofer's Stone is named after a group of university students who would gather there in the late 19th century to tell jokes, play pranks, and have a good time. Over time, the rock became known as a place for students to relax, have fun, and escape from the stress of academic life.
In the decades since its inception, Spoofer's Stone has become a beloved part of the University of Arkansas campus and a symbol of the university's rich history and cultural heritage. Today, the rock is a popular gathering place for students, alumni, and visitors to the campus, and it is frequently the site of picnics, concerts, and other events.
One of the most notable features of Spoofer's Stone is its location, which provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the city of Fayetteville. The rock is surrounded by lush greenery and lush vegetation, and it is a peaceful and serene place to spend a few hours.
In addition to its historical significance and natural beauty, Spoofer's Stone is also an important part of the university's cultural life. It is a place where students and community members come together to share stories, create new memories, and connect with one another. Whether you are a student, alumni, or just visiting the campus, Spoofer's Stone is a place that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
In conclusion, Spoofer's Stone is a unique and interesting landmark that is full of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are looking for a peaceful escape from the busy life of the university or a place to make new friends and create lasting memories, Spoofer's Stone is a place that is sure to provide an enjoyable experience for all who visit.
The Drive Home
After concluding our tour at the University of Arkansas, we embark on a 9-hour, 30-minute journey back through Dallas, Texas, providing us with ample time to reflect on the wealth of information we have acquired over the past three days. The campus tour experience has been highly beneficial for my daughter, helping her to narrow down her college choices.
If you have a junior in high school, I highly recommend taking them on a college tour. Not only will you create cherished memories together, but you will also gain the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision about their next step in life.
Despite feeling tired after our journey, I am grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with my daughter and for the valuable information we gained from visiting different campuses. By touring colleges, you and your child will be better equipped to make a wise decision about the future.
Jeremy Williams, the Head Coach and Owner of Red Hawk Coaching, has written this piece. Red Hawk Coaching specializes in offering personalized coaching for real estate agents, team leads, brokers, and small business owners. To learn more about the coaching services provided by Jeremy Williams, please visit www.RedHawkCoaching.com.