Q&A - September 13, 2015

Coming Soon!

A college campus can be the source of great pride within a community. It can stimulate commerce and foster greater recognition for the community as a whole. It can be a favorite gathering place for meetings and public events or a popular site visited by tourists. I am pleased to announce that OSUIT in Okmulgee will soon be the home of a spectacular work of art that I believe will become quite an attraction for the community. Allow me to explain as I respond to this week’s question:

Q: Are there things you can do to make the campus in Okmulgee feel more like part of OSU?

Perhaps nothing is more recognizable to the OSU brand than the rugged cowboy image of Pistol Pete himself—styled after the larger-than-life historic figure, Frank Eaton. To help OSUIT visitors recognize that they are on an actual OSU campus in Okmulgee, we have several banners bearing his caricaturized likeness all across campus. And this fall, we will dedicate the new “Pistol Pete Plaza” and unveil a permanent display of Frank Eaton at the 4th Street entrance of our campus in Okmulgee.

Born in 1860, Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton was a beloved western figure, cowboy, U.S. Marshal, gunslinger and blacksmith. In 1923, students at Oklahoma A & M College asked Mr. Eaton to pose as the school’s mascot after watching him lead the Armistice Day Parade in Stillwater. The living legend agreed and became the “original cowboy” and symbol of Oklahoma State University, making public appearances at sporting events until his death in 1958. Later that year, "Pistol Pete" was adopted as the school's official mascot.

The Pistol Pete Plaza at OSUIT will be dominated by a nearly three-ton full body likeness of Frank Eaton forged in bronze. The twelve-foot tall statue will stand atop a six-foot stone pedestal, permanently guarding the south entrance to campus in his legendary quick draw “shoot from the hip” stance. The proposed plaza will also have new lighting, benches and plantings to make it a perfect location for students and members of the public to congregate or take photos.

The highly detailed and life-like sculpture of Frank Eaton is the work of renowned Oklahoma artist, Wayne Cooper. Mr. Cooper is an internationally recognized artist, who specializes in Western Art. His paintings and sculptures are held in public and private collections throughout the world. Many museums display his works in their collections, including the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, the Oklahoma Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the American Indian Museum in Catoosa. Mr. Cooper has also been commissioned to do several large-scale oil paintings for the Senate in the Capitol Building in Oklahoma City. We are privileged to be able to display one of his sculpted creations on our campus to greet visitors for generations to come.

OSUIT in Okmulgee will always have a distinctive mission and identity apart from OSU in Stillwater, but we still bleed orange and respect our shared heritage. Pistol Pete will always have an honored place in our hearts and on our campus. If you have questions about OSUIT, please send them to osuit-president@okstate.edu.