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Highway named in honor of Nancy Randolph Davis Featured

Last modified on Friday, 02 November 2018 04:52
Written by  Thursday, 01 November 2018 18:49
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Press release

Davis was first student to integrate OSU


(STILLWATER, Oklahoma) – In 1949, Nancy Randolph Davis became the first African-American student to enroll at Oklahoma State University, then known as Oklahoma A&M College. On Nov 1, 2018, a stretch of Interstate 35 outside Stillwater was named in her honor.


In the last legislative session, Oklahoma Sen. Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, authored a bill to have the portion of I-35 stretching from one mile south of the Stillwater exit (174) to two miles north of it designated as the Nancy Randolph Davis Memorial Highway.


A reception celebrating this honor is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Council Room (Room 412) of the Student Union at OSU. Remarks will begin at 1:30. Speakers will include OSU President Burns Hargis, and attendees will include members of the Davis family and friends.


Davis was pursuing her master’s degree when she came to OSU; her bachelor’s was from Langston University. “I certainly was not trying to make history. I merely wanted an education, and I did not feel that anyone should deny me that opportunity,” she recalled later. Attending summer classes, she earned her master’s in 1952. She began her teaching career in 1948 at Dunjee High School in Spencer, Oklahoma. She retired from Oklahoma’s Public Education System in 1991 after 43 years of service, 20 years at Dunjee High School and 23 years at Star Spencer High School in Oklahoma City.


Earlier this year, she was posthumously inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame, the university’s highest honor. In 1999, Davis was honored with the OSU Distinguished Alumni Award, and OSU’s Davis Hall in residential life was named in her honor in 2001. Each year, OSU celebrates Feb. 1 as “Nancy Randolph Davis Day” at both the OSU-Stillwater and OSU-OKC campuses. She also received the OSU College of Human Sciences’ Enhancing Human Lives Award and was inducted into OSU’s Greek Hall of Fame in 2012. She died in 2015.


“The OSU Division of Institutional Diversity is honored to be asked to support the Nancy Randolph Davis Memorial Highway resulting from legislation authored by Sen. Anastasia Pittman,” said Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, OSU’s vice president for Institutional diversity and the chief diversity officer. “This effort continues to enrich and expand OSU's commitment to a culture of inclusion. These sections of north and south I-35 leading into Stillwater, now identified as the Nancy Randolph Davis Memorial Highway, exhibit a positive and profound tribute to the legacy of Mrs. Davis at OSU, as well as throughout the state of Oklahoma.”



Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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