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OU Building 2 New Residential Colleges for Students

President David L. Boren announced lead gifts to fund two living-learning centers that will house upper-division students.

LAWTON – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced lead gifts made by Tim Headington of Dallas and Linda and Archie Dunham of Houston that will help fund the construction of two innovative, living-learning centers on campus. The residential colleges will house sophomores, juniors and seniors.

“The Residential Colleges will have a huge impact on student life at the University of Oklahoma,” Boren said. “For the first time, we will be able to provide on campus housing for upperclassmen and women,” he said. “The Residential Colleges will build close bonds between the students who will live there for three years and will associate closely with faculty fellows in each college,” Boren said. “They will have their own dining rooms, athletic teams, and mottos. In a sense, they will be like residential clubs for upperclassmen and women. We are deeply grateful for Linda and Archie Dunham and Tim Headington for the lead gifts to establish and build the colleges.”

Utilizing the “Residential College” model, the new housing facilities are designed as dormitories that will, by their nature, create strong ties to the university and become the cornerstone of the undergraduate experience. They are patterned on those at Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge.

OU will be the first university in the state and one of the first public universities in the nation to adopt the residential college model.

These two residential colleges are being built in the heart of campus along the south side of Lindsey Street facing the Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and across Jenkins Avenue from Headington Hall. The traditional Cherokee Gothic architectural style embodied by Headington Hall to the site’s east and Gaylord Hall to its northwest will seamlessly integrate the residential colleges into the physical environment. Courtyards and outdoor spaces will enhance the community feel of each residential college, as will the college’s intramural teams and OU-inspired crests and mottos. The facilities will also include student lounge areas as well as a dining hall and dedicated study spaces to encourage collaboration.

The support of Mr. Headington and the Dunhams will allow the two new residential colleges to be ready for occupancy by fall of 2017.

Tim Headington earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from OU in 1972. He was a member of the tennis team, and, upon graduation from OU, he went on to earn graduate degrees in theology and psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Headington is president and sole shareholder of the Dallas-headquartered Headington Resources, Inc., one of the premiere independent oil exploration and production operators in south Texas. Active throughout the major oil and natural gas basins in the continental United States, the company also has interests in real estate and hotel development, film production, private equity and entertainment.

He co-founded the Headington Institute, a nonprofit that supports caregivers worldwide by determining the best ways to promote the physical hardiness, emotional resilience and spiritual validity of humanitarian relief and development personnel. In addition to providing free online training materials, its team of psychologists travels to places including Japan, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South America and throughout Africa to provide counseling, resilience training and management consultation. He was honored in 2005 with the OU Regents’ Alumni Award and in 2011 with OU’s highest award, an honorary degree. OU’s newest athletic housing facility and tennis complex are named after Headington and his family.

Linda Dunham and Archie Dunham have been longtime friends of OU, often hosting student scholarship and alumni events. Mr. Dunham, who was born in Durant and raised in Ada, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geological engineering from OU in 1960 and a master of business administration degree from OU in 1966. Linda Dunham, who also grew up in Ada, attended East Central University.

After graduating from OU, Mr. Dunham went to work for Conoco Inc., where he rose rapidly through the ranks and served in almost every area of the company. He was elected to the Conoco Board of Directors in 1985 and became president and CEO in 1996. He was elected chairman of the board in 1999. Mr. Dunham is the recipient of OU’s highest award, an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

Approximately 10 faculty members will become fellows of the residential colleges and serve as mentors to the 350 students living in each college. They will have close interaction with the students, often dining with them, mixing and mingling, and serving in a myriad of other ways to strengthen the bonds between faculty and students. A senior faculty fellow will live in the residential college. Additional fellows will office in the college, and there will be at least one seminar room and classroom in each college.

The residential colleges will increase the availability of campus housing, allowing upper-division students who wish to continue living on campus the opportunity to do so. Research in higher education demonstrates that students who live on campus earn better grades, are more likely to graduate, and are more likely to pursue graduate studies. Research also shows that students living in residential colleges gain valuable leadership experience that helps them manage time more effectively and better equips them for the competitive job market.