The first annual convocation was held on November 22, 1974. It commemo­
rated a new beginning by honoring the College's inaugural class. The College was
created on March 10, 1972, when Governor David Hall signed Oklahoma Senate
Bill No. 461, co-sponsored by the Speaker of the House, William P. Willis,
President Pro Tempore of the Senate, James E. Hamilton, and other legisla­
tors. This Law created the nation's first free-standing, state-supported
osteopathic institution.
For over a decade, the State's lawmakers and their constituents had become
increasingly concerned about the dwindling availability of primary care
physicians in the rural areas of Oklahoma.
An
authorized study confirmed the
feasibility for establishing an osteopathic college and pointed out that most of
the State's 480 osteopathic physicians serve as general practitioners. The
Legislature directed the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to
establish a college of Osteopathic medicine and provide for this operation,
specifically charging that "emphasis
be
given to the training of doctors of
osteopathic medicine in the field of general practice. "
The State Regents directed Chancellor E. T. Dunlap to develop a plan and
timetable for carrying out the Law's provisions and invited the Oklahoma
Osteopathic Association to assist through an Advisory Committee. The Asso­
ciation appointed Edward A. Felmlee, D. O. (Chairman); R. G. Gillson,
D.
0.;
La Moyne W. Hickman, D.
0.;
Robert D. McCullough, D.
0.;
Geron
W. Meeks, D.
0.;
James R. Routsong, D.
0.;
C. Z. Smith, D.
0.;
Walton
L. Wilson, D.
0.;
James
A.
Young, D.
0.;
and Bob E. Jones, Executive
Secretary for the Association. In addition, officials from the American
Osteopathic Association, consultants, and medical educators also participated
in planning efforts.
61
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