Cheers to 50 years
Oklahoma City Community College is turning 50 years old this fall.
That’s five whole decades, dude. Half a century.
Established in 1972, the school was formerly known as South Oklahoma City Junior College, or SOC JOC.
During these years, OCCC has played its role as an open environment for students to enroll in whatever desired major they want to achieve. With their flexible schedules and supportive staff, students can make their way through and find a place within the community.
Professor of English and O-trip alum Lori Farr attended OCCC back in the late 70s/early 80s. In 1980, she actually had a portrait done by the late Professor Lawson Thomas.
Funny thing, her portrait is placed outside of her office in the Arts and Humanities Center.
“I was a work study student here, and I sat for this portrait in 1980…I went out in the field, got my degree and taught…I came back here 13 years ago. And suddenly, one day, the portrait just shows up outside my office…the portrait actually found me after 30 years,” she reminisces.
Former O-trip student Khameo Ryan attended school back in 2004, leaving in 2007. She originally studied mechanical engineering, then switched to theater. Along with that, she volunteered at the school.
“It was a long time ago…I just helped out in the Bursar’s Office,” she said.
Although she didn’t graduate, she still had a good time at the school.
ELL Instructor Beatriz Meyer has worked with the O-Trip Capitol Hill Center for 22 years.
She sees the occurrence as “just one of those things that happened,” as she wasn’t originally planning to become involved.
“[T]he gentleman that started the Capitol Hill Center,…one day he asked me if I had ever taught customer service, because I had worked in customer service for many years…I said, Well, no. And he said, because I’m planning to do this…I was wondering if you would be available to teach customer services…he pitched me the idea…And it sounded like a good idea. And so I went ahead and through him, I started working for OCCC,” Meyer said.
With longevity in an unplanned career, she demonstrates her commitment to helping the community as well as her satisfaction in her position.
OCCC student and student worker Ruby Esparza is a freshman who has found herself getting involved within the community by joining two clubs, one of which includes her being the President of the Hispanic Organization to Promote Education (HOPE).
“I think working here, it really gets me connected to the people that work here,” Esparza expressed.
When it comes to opinions, there are many that float around. But at O-Trip, it seems like people have a common interest in what they like about the school.
“I like the way that it’s inclusive. And to me, it really has a large reach to help those people that are needing to update their skills or learn new skills, or just go from high school into college.”, Meyer conveys.
“It was nice to meet different people. It was my first experience with like foreign exchange students so that was super cool…just seeing people from different regions come in and doing the same thing that I’m doing. I thought that was awesome,” Ryan states.
Anyone who looks at or was previously involved with the school can carry their experience as a souvenir. And for the upcoming years of OCCC, the future is unpredictable. But the tradition of O-trip’s friendliness is everlasting.
With many memories and more, Meyer sees OCCC continuing to “help the community.”
“I know that the main college, of course,…they’re doing great because it got the career type of things going for them….But I do hope that the Capitol Hill Center gets bigger, grows and helps out more of the Hispanic population.” she states.
She believes that “in the next 10 years, we can make sure that if people need help, that we can provide that help”.
Esparza sees the campus as a little limited because of COVID, but now the pandemic is over, hopefully OCCC can grow again.
“I really hope that we are able to expand our numbers on how many students can be on campus,” she expresses.
Ryan hopes for the college to continue “being open and staying up with the diversity of the crowd that goes there.”
As a message to any incoming students, Farr would like to say, “OCCC is a community of caring professionals that care about students, that care about other colleagues, and they care about the future.”
OCCC is a place for anyone and everyone.
OCCC continues to hold historic symbolism throughout the campus. From portraits of students in the hallway that were done damn near 30-40 years ago, even some of the buildings on campus were built with heroic inspirations, like the Bruce Owen Theater.
Everything at OCCC: the structure, the community, especially the driving motivation the environment produces, it all was created 50 years ago to help people in a diverse community find their passion and pave their future.
OCCC is for the people.
Anyone can find a place here.