Northeastern State University

Last updated
Northeastern State University
Northeastern State University seal.png
Former names
Northeastern State
   Normal School
Northeastern State
   Teachers College
Northeastern State College
Cherokee: ᎦᏟᏐᏗ. ᎢᏅ ᎠᎾᎩᏍᏗ.
Motto in English
Gather Here. Go Far.
Type Public
EstablishedMarch 6, 1909 (1909-03-06) [1]
AffiliationRegional University System of Oklahoma
President Steve Turner [2]
Provost Dr. Deborah Landry
Academic staff
Students8,548 (Fall 2014) [3]
Undergraduates 7,418 (Fall 2014) [3]
Postgraduates 1,130 (Fall 2014) [3]
Location, ,
United States

35°55′30″N94°58′03″W / 35.925100°N 94.967542°W / 35.925100; -94.967542 Coordinates: 35°55′30″N94°58′03″W / 35.925100°N 94.967542°W / 35.925100; -94.967542
Campus200 acres (0.81 km2) (Tahlequah)
Colors NSU Green, NSU Gray [4]
Nickname RiverHawks
Sporting affiliations
MascotRowdy the RiverHawk
Northeastern State University logo.svg

Northeastern State University (NSU) is a public university with its main campus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The university also has two other campuses in Muskogee and Broken Arrow as well as online. Northeastern is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma as well as one of the oldest institutions of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. [5] Tahlequah is home to the capital of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and about 25 percent of the students at NSU identify themselves as American Indian. [6] The university has many courses focused on Native American linguistics, and offers Cherokee language Education as a major. [7] Cherokee can be studied as a second language, and some classes are taught in Cherokee for first language speakers as well. [8]



On May 7, 1851, the Cherokee Nation founded the Cherokee National Female Seminary at Tahlequah, the same year that it opened a male seminary in its territory. This was after its removal to Indian Territory and part of its building institutions to support its future.

On March 6, 1909, after statehood, the State Legislature of Oklahoma passed an act providing for the creation and location of Northeastern State Normal School at Tahlequah, Oklahoma for the training of teachers. For this purpose, it purchased from the Cherokee Tribal Government the building, land, and equipment of the Cherokee Female Seminary.

In 1921, the name was changed to Northeastern State Teachers College as it had expanded to a full four-year curriculum. [6] In the 1950s Northeastern emerged as a comprehensive state college, broadening its curriculum at the baccalaureate level to encompass liberal arts subjects and adding a fifth-year program designed to prepare master teachers for elementary and secondary schools.

With addition of graduate-degree programs, in 1974, the Oklahoma Legislature authorized changing the name of the institution from Northeastern State College to Northeastern Oklahoma State University; in 1985 it authorized a change in name to Northeastern State University. In 1979, NSU opened its College of Optometry, making it one of 14 schools in the United States to offer a doctorate degree in that field. [6]

In the early 21st century, NSU is the fourth-largest university in Oklahoma. [9] On March 6, 2009, NSU celebrated its centennial with Founders Day celebrations.


  • Albert Sydney Wyly, 1909
  • Frank Redd, 1909–1911
  • Frank E. Buck, 1911–1912
  • W.E. Gill, 1912–1914
  • George W. Gable, 1914–1919
  • William T. Ford, 1919–1923
  • Monroe P. Hammond, 1923–1935
  • J.M. Hackler (Acting), 1935–1936
  • John Samuel Vaughan, 1936–1951
  • Louis H. Bally (Acting), 1951
  • Harrell E. Garrison, 1951–1970
  • Robert E. Collier, 1970–1977
  • Elwin Fite (Acting), 1977–1978
  • W. Roger Webb , 1978–1997
  • Larry B. Williams, 1997–2007
  • Kim Cherry (Interim), 2007–2008
  • Don Betz , 2008–2011
  • Martin Tadlock (Interim), 2011 [10]
  • Steve Turner, 2012–present [2]

Tahlequah Campus

The Tahlequah campus, which spans over 200 acres (0.81 km2), was developed on the grounds of the Cherokee Female Seminary. The original building for the seminary is now used as Seminary Hall, an academic building. The campus has numerous classroom, laboratory, residential, and athletic facilities. In recent years the university constructed a $10 million Science Center, funded by a bond issued by the university. [11]

NSU offers 69 undergraduate degrees, 18 graduate degrees and 13 pre-professional programs in five colleges (Business & Technology, Liberal Arts, Education, Optometry, and Health & Science Professions). The student-to-faculty ratio is 26 to 1, and in the Spring of 2008 the total enrollment for the Tahlequah Campus was 6,216. [12] There is also a distance-learning program, by which students who cannot attend the university due to work or family obligations can complete courses via the Internet or videoconferencing.

Seminary Hall Seminary Hall.jpg
Seminary Hall
The W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center NSU Net Lab.jpg
The W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center

Academic buildings

The academic buildings are located throughout the campus. The buildings are:

Residential buildings

Northeastern has nine residence halls. They are the following:

  • North wing
  • Northeast wing
  • Northwest wing
  • South wing
  • Southeast wing
  • Southwest wing


NSU's athletic teams are known as the RiverHawks. [13] The university competes at the NCAA Division II level as a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). The university previously competed in the Lone Star Conference before joining the MIAA in 2012. [14] It was accepted into the MIAA on July 30, 2010 during the conference's expansion from 12 to 16 members. [15] NSU began play in the MIAA in the 2012-13 academic year. [16] NSU offers eleven sports including football, baseball, softball, men and women's basketball, men and women's soccer, golf and tennis. In 2003, the men's basketball team won the Division II national championship, beating Kentucky Wesleyan 75–64. [17]

Northeastern State University announced on May 23, 2006 that they would be dropping "Redmen" and selecting a new mascot. The change was made proactively in response to the 2005 NCAA Native American mascot decision. [18] The university announced its new athletic name as the RiverHawks on November 14, 2006.> [13]

Campus life

The Iguana Cafe, right next to campus. Iguana Cafe.jpg
The Iguana Cafe, right next to campus.

There are several restaurants on, or just off NSU's campus some of which include the El Zarape, Sam & Ella's Chicken Palace (Pizza), The Town Branch Eatery & Pub, Flo's Cafe (located on campus in the University Center), and Vidalia's. The night life includes Ned's and Effex.

Campus organizations

There are several campus organizations such as NAB (Northeastern Activities Board), NSUSF (Northeastern State University Student Foundation), and NSGA (Northeastern Student Government Association) that provide alternate activities, usually free of charge for students to enjoy on campus. The NSGA is the official organization to represent the students of NSU. The purpose of the NSGA is to establish a representative student government and to provide a forum for student's views and ideas for the purpose of promoting and representing the students of NSU. RHA caters to on-campus residents and hosts such annual events as "Welcome Week Luau," Freshman Move-in Day, Mardi Gras, and "Resident Round-up". Northeastern State University also has several fraternities and sororities located on the Tahlequah campus.

Greek life

  • Honor Society

Rho Theta Sigma est. 1920's


Jazz Lab

Created in 1993, the building serves as a place where musicians can practice performing and listeners can enjoy the music. In addition to a performance venue, the Jazz Lab is also the site of the jazz program offices and classes. The university has two student jazz ensembles, as well as several different combo groups, ranging in style from fusion, to Latin, to straight ahead. Recently the university has been awarded a bachelors in music- jazz studies degree. Every year the NSU Jazz Ensemble performs with regional, national, and international guest artists at the Jazz Lab. Many famous musicians have performed at the jazz lab since its creation such as T.S. Monk, Henry Johnson, Diana Krall, Mulgrew Miller, Bobby Watson, Bob Mintzer, Slide Hampton, Robin Eubanks, Wynton Marsalis, and Bobby Shew.

Branch campuses


NSU's Muskogee campus was opened in 1993 as a 27,700-square-foot (2,570 m2) facility located on 23 acres (93,000 m2). The campus offers upper-level and graduate courses in education, business, general studies, nursing, industrial management. [19] In 2001 the NSU Muskogee opened the Mike Synar Center in honor of Mike Synar, former U.S. Congressman from the 2nd District of Oklahoma from 1979 to 1995. The Mike Synar Center is a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) facility that is used for offices and classrooms. The center also houses the Master of Business Administration and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program for the campus.

Broken Arrow

NSU's Broken Arrow campus was opened in 2002 with a little over 1,000 students. Funding for the campus came from a one-half percent sales tax which was approved by Broken Arrow voters. The first phase of the campus included an administration building, a maintenance facility, and two classroom buildings. [20] In 2004 the campus began a $26 million expansion made possible by Tulsa County's Vision 2025, which also funded Tulsa's new BOK Center. The expansion doubled the size of the campus and also allowed room for up to another 5,000 students. It also added a library along with science and classroom buildings. Construction was completed in the fall of 2007. [20]

Notable alumni

Related Research Articles

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Cherokee Female Seminary United States historic place

The Cherokee Female Seminary,, serves as the centerpiece of Northeastern State University, located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, United States. The building was constructed to replace the original Cherokee Female Seminary that burnt to the ground Easter Sunday 1887. The Cherokee Council chose to rebuild the school on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) site north of Tahlequah, near Hendricks Spring. Two years later, on May 7, 1889, the dedication ceremonies were held in honor of the new building. The Female Seminary was owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation until March 6, 1909 when the State Legislature of Oklahoma passed an act providing for the creation and location of Northeastern State Normal School at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and for the purchase from the Cherokee Tribal Government of the building, land, and equipment of the Cherokee Female Seminary. At the start of the next academic year, on September 14, the first classes were held at the newly created Northeastern State Normal School, now Northeastern State University.

First Cherokee Female Seminary Site United States historic place

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The Cherokee Male Seminary was a tribal college established in 1846 by the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory. Opening in 1851, it was one of the first institutions of higher learning in the United States to be founded west of the Mississippi River.

Northeastern State RiverHawks football

The Northeastern State RiverHawks football program represents Northeastern State University in college football and competes in the NCAA Division II. In 2012, Northeastern State became member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), and has remained in the league. NSU's home games are played at Doc Wadley Stadium in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Northeastern State RiverHawks

The Northeastern State RiverHawks are the sports teams of Northeastern State University located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They participate in the NCAA's Division II and in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA).

Central Oklahoma–Northeastern State football rivalry

The Central Oklahoma–Northeastern State football rivalry, commonly referred to as the Battle for the President's Cup, is an American college football rivalry game played annually between the Central Oklahoma Bronchos football team of the University of Central Oklahoma from Edmond, Oklahoma, and the Northeastern State RiverHawks football team of Northeastern State University from Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Both schools currently compete in the NCAA Division II level, and are members of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). Central Oklahoma, formerly Central State, has a 51–27–2 advantage in the series but Northeastern State has kept the series record close since the introduction of the President's cup in 1998.

Barbara Staggs American politician

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Dr. Isabel Keith Baker was a former educator in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Throughout her 43 years as an educator, Baker taught in several Oklahoma schools, retiring as Professor Emeritus from Northeastern State University in 1994. Baker served on the Oklahoma State University A&M Board of Regents from 1991 until 1999. She played a major role in the renovation of Willard Hall, the home of OSU's College of Education. During her career and throughout her life, Baker has been recognized as a champion of gender equity.

2016 Northeastern State RiverHawks football team American college football season

The 2016 Northeastern State RiverHawks football team represented Northeastern State University in the 2016 NCAA Division II football season. The RiverHawks played their home games on Gable Field in Doc Wadley Stadium in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, as they have done since 1915. 2016 was the 102nd season in school history. The RiverHawks were led by third-year head coach, Rob Robinson. Northeastern State has been a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association since 2012.

Anna Mitchell Cherokee potter

Anna Mitchell was a Cherokee Nation potter who revived the historic art of Southeastern Woodlands pottery for Cherokee people in Oklahoma. She was designated as a Cherokee National Treasure and has works in numerous museum collections including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, among others.


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