Category: Top Stories

SGA Student President Nathaniel Rakestraw Edwards and SGA Vice President Hannah Wall talk with an Air Force officer


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by Jet Turner, Assistant Director of Communications

Langston, Okla. – Langston University signed an agreement with the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base on Monday, giving students the opportunity to gain real-world experience through internship and learning opportunities, leading to a potential path to employment upon graduation.

When Langston University Student Government Association President Nathaneal Rakestraw-Edwards heard news about the signing, he was excited about the opportunities this will give current and future students.

“There are many students with so much potential at Langston University,” Rakestraw-Edwards said. “As a student, this deal is very important in ensuring that we are getting the connections necessary to set us up for our future. I am excited to share with the student body whatever internship or employment opportunities are available through Tinker Air Force Base.”

The Air Force Sustainment Center has partnerships with universities throughout the nation, which typically focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

However, this partnership with Langston University is the first “hybrid” partnership of its kind, expanding upon the STEM relations Tinker Air Force Base has with other institutions to include business majors, environmental scientists, project managers and more.

“This allows us to cast a net to attract prospective employees, particularly students and, in this case, Langston University students, for them to consider Tinker Air Force Base as an option to start their careers,” General Stacy Hawkins said. “As a nation, we cannot afford to leave anybody off the table when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.”

This relationship between Langston University and Tinker Air Force Base is not new, as numerous alumni participated in internships and cooperative education programs that led to fulfilling and gainful careers at the Air Force base and beyond.

The signing re-engages and formalizes Langston University’s partnership with Tinker Air Force Base and strengthens the bond between the two organizations.

“Everybody wins,” said Langston University President Ruth Ray Jackson. “Langston University students have the opportunity to supplement their academic studies with real experiences that allow them to see the theory and innovation in action. The Sustainment Center has access to a diverse pool of talent that is familiar with the role, scope and mission of the organization. Oklahoma wins as more Langston University graduates will see remaining in the area as a viable alternative to leaving the state to begin their careers.”

The signing of this partnership agreement signifies the power of collaboration, and the opportunities it will unlock in the realms of research, education, service, and workforce development are endless.

Langston University SGA Vice President Hannah Wall said Langston University’s growing partnerships proves the institution’s commitment to ensuring students are properly prepared and equipped for the work force.

“Creating opportunities such as this shows how much Langston is willing to put into their students to not only give us quality education, but also versatility to stand out amongst the sea of people we will

compete with later in life,” Wall said. “Langston University is not like other Universities and Colleges; it is an institution that prides itself on creating long lasting success within each of its students no matter the challenges they face.”

LU students, faculty pose with Dr Ruth Ray Jackson on the tennis courts


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Students running around, laughing and having fun while their university president teaches them how to play pickleball is probably not what you’d expect to see on a college campus gearing up for midterms, but that’s what awaited any who made their way to the university tennis courts on Friday afternoon.

Langston University’s Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (LUAHPERD) and the ROARS Peer Educators held a “Cruising Into Midterms” event on Friday, which featured bike riding, pickup basketball and Pickleball with the President. The event was open to all students, and many took a break from studying to come hang out with their friends and decompress as they prepared for midterms.

“One of the priorities of the year is programming,” said Interim President Ruth Ray Jackson. “So, I’m very excited to see the HPER clubs adding programming to support good health and destressing for our students as they prepare for midterm exams.”

President Jackson encouraged everyone who came to pick up a paddle and hit the court, and many students were more than happy to learn a new sport from their president. Others preferred to ride bikes with their friends, and some just wanted to relax in the fresh air. Everyone who came was happy for a chance to get out of their rooms and stretch their legs before the grind of midterms fully began.

Kyara Swanson, a senior physical education major, said she thought the event was a fun way to relax, clear her mind and shake off some nerves as she prepared for her upcoming exams.

“Just simply riding the bikes or doing anything physical, it helps with your mental health,” Swanson said. “It helps you just clear your mind sometimes. You know, you’re in college and sometimes you just need a break.”

Giving students a break was the entire idea behind Cruising Into Midterms.

Dr. Desmond Delk, the chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and one of the faculty advisors for LUAHPERD, said the goal of the event was to remind people to take care of their mental and physical health because doing so will help them succeed in their classes.

“We’re prioritizing mental health, we’re prioritizing physical activity, and we’re encouraging collaboration between our faculty, staff and students,” Dr. Delk said. “I really commend the students on organizing everything, promoting the activity and really just coming out and enjoying themselves.”

The event lasted two hours, and President Jackson was there the whole time, playing pickleball and getting to know the students. Laughs could be heard on and off the court, and many students were happy for an opportunity to spend time with their president and their peers.

“I have had a blast sharing my love of pickleball with our Langston University students,” President Jackson said. “I’m excited that there’s great interest, and perhaps in the future we can add this as part of our recreational programming.”


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Written by Christina Gray

Langston University has received a grant of $473,820 to preserve the historic cottage row district on the Langston campus. Dr. Nancy Alexander led the grant team that wrote in their proposal that the “preservation of this precious landmark not only results in the recognition, understanding, and preservation of the HBCU story but it keeps a flame burning that we should not ever let become extinguished.” Click here to learn more about its history and to read the full excerpt of the proposal.

The projected start date for the design and planning phase of this project is on July 1, 2020. “We wisely requested some time to design, develop and plan to be completed within the first 6 months,” said Dr. Nancy Alexander, Chair of the LU Business Administration Department.

“All of the renovation and restoration of the cottages will take place in year one which includes replacing doors, insulating the attics, and replacing the wiring. In year two, we are undertaking the campus beautification projects, which includes the installation of benches, new signage, and the installation of a storm shelter.”

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to preserve our historic cottage row district,” said Mautra Jones, LU Vice President of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs.

“The grant will provide support to maintain the integrity of the original structures and make necessary upgrades to the cottages. One of the crown jewels of the Langston campus, we take great pride in our cottages as our very own students helped build them in the 1930s. The grant team led by Dr. Nancy Alexander is elated to embark upon this special journey and looks forward to continuing showcasing Historic Cottage Row District to the entire state and nation. Additionally, we appreciate the Oklahoma Historic Preservation Society for its assistance in providing valuable guidance through the years regarding this Oklahoma treasure.”

The Historic Cottage Row District project is supported by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant program. It is funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service Department of Interior. For more details, please refer to the National Park Service press release.


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By Christina Gray

Just a few short months ago, no one could have predicted how COVID-19 would impact our institutions. A special team at Langston University started bracing for that impact early on, and the effect has been significant. The Langston University (LU) Emergency Leadership Team (ELT) has met daily to work on operational contingency plans for COVID-19 since the first confirmed case within the US was reported on January 21, 2020. The initial campus-wide advisory notification immediately followed and advanced screening protocols at the LU Health Clinic quickly followed. The campus community has consistently received updates via e-mail, on the COVID-19 landing page, and community telecommunication briefings from the Office of the President.

The University has been diligent in its proactive response to the crisis with the health and safety of its community members at the forefront of their efforts. “Our entire community has shown tremendous courage and creativity throughout a time of uncertainty and transition,” said President Smith.

“LU is profoundly grateful for the resilient spirit demonstrated by Lions everywhere. Together, we will overcome this challenge and emerge stronger and more innovative than ever before.” The team worked with campus facilities to implement deep cleaning practices across campus and modified operations to the LU dining service as part of their initial efforts. During the extended spring break, the community spaces on campus were deep cleaned, new protocols for campus safety were enacted, and additional hand sanitizing stations were deployed across campus. On March 27, 2020, the following enhanced measurements were implemented: limited access to campus, mandatory teleworking, and consolidated campus housing.

After spring break, a total of 1108 students returned to campus, but trends surrounding the virus and community transmission made it clear that changes to campus housing needed to be enacted quickly. The University worked to assist students in returning safely home. To date, only 80 students remain on-campus. At this time, only approved community members who have written approval from the Executive Policy Group of the ELT may remain in housing. Several student resources were made available to help them transition during this time, including travel funding, credit adjustments to accounts, and aided in student employment assistance. The Langston University Foundation also established an emergency fund to award mini-grants to students in need of funding.

Virtual Resources to Ensure Student Success

On March 30, 2020, all campuses were closed to the public and all coursework transitioned to fully online delivery through the end of the spring semester. The faculty worked to make academic accommodations for a hybrid delivery of coursework and leadership implemented expanded adjustments to campus operations. LU has enhanced its virtual resources to ensure student success throughout this time of distance learning. To help our students thrive, the University enhanced its library and technology resources and is providing virtual tutoring and virtual office hours. “Our dedicated faculty, staff, and students have embraced the challenge with grace, flexibility, and innovation as we all adapt to a new way of operating,” said President Smith.

“Our collective response affirms the values at the core of our University; that of unwavering loyalty and a mission to serve.”

Advanced Health Screening Protocols for Remaining Residents

As part of the COVID-19 efforts, the University hired an additional nurse practitioner dedicated to COVID-19 monitoring and new protocols. The University implemented advanced health screening protocols for approved residents. Any resident that experiences symptoms similar to or consistent with COVID-19 will be required to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Any confirmed cases will be placed in the designated quarantine spaces on campus.

The LU Police Department has implemented controlled access on all campuses. On the Langston campus, only one gate remains open. A checkpoint was established and is the single point of access for vehicles entering the campus. Additionally, no outside guests are authorized to visit any campus housing space while these mitigation protocols are in place. To date, no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported at any campus or location associated with Langston University.

The University has initiated these strict protocols to ensure the continued health and safety of its community, including several precautionary measures to maximize the recommended social-distancing practices. “No one could have predicted the impact COVID-19 would have on our society, but one thing is certain and that is the resiliency of our community,” said President Smith.

“Taking care of one another is what Lions do best, and it’s how we intend to get through this challenging time.”

Langston University students present posters at the 16th Annual K-INBRE Conference in Kansas.


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Dr. Kjoy Abraham, the Langston University Biomedical Research Coordinator, led a team of nine students to present their work at the 16th Annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Research Symposium in Overland Park, Kansas, which was held on January 13-14, 2018.

Four of the nine students, Mr. La’Quan Johnson (Senior), Ms. Celeste Cotton (Junior), Ms. Cayla Moore (Junior), and Ms. Corajean Cunningham (Freshman), presented iposters. These posters are interactive, multimedia research presentations that are displayed electronically on large format HD touchscreen monitors. There were 347 participants including invited scientists, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students (undergraduate and graduate) at the symposium. Over 100 students competed in the iposter competition.

During the conference, Langston University student, Ms. Justis Petit (Junior), was selected for an oral presentation in biomedical research. Her abstract was also chosen as one of the best eight abstracts from over 100 abstracts. The title of her presentation was “Effect of Euglena Gracilis Water Extract on Cell Death and Toll-Like Receptor Gene Expression Profiles in Lung Cancer Cells.” During this time, Ms. Petit was given 15 minutes to speak and was able to answer questions about her presentation. Ms. Petit was awarded “Honorable Mention” with a cash award of $100 for her oral presentation at the symposium.

Mr. La’Quan Johnson was commended by one of the judges for his excellent work and presentation at the iposter competition.

The Langston University students competed with other undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from ten institutions that included the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and the University of Kansas Medical Center. Other Langston University students in attendance were Ashley Michalski (Senior), Celeste Cotton (Junior), Jennifer Ho (Junior), Brianna Anderson (Junior), Kendall Odle (Sophomore), Corajean Cunnigham (Freshman), and Cayla Moore (Junior). All the LU students in attendance are biology majors. Two additional University faculty members also attended the conference, Dr. Diomede Buzingo, Assistant Professor in the Biology Department and Dr. Sharon Lewis, Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department.

Langston University (LU) is a public historically black college enrolling a close-knit community of under 3,000 students. Langston University is recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability by and Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County just 10 miles east of Guthrie and 42 miles from Oklahoma City. Langston offers more than 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Visit us online at


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities recently named Langston University senior biology major, Nicholas Simon, a 2016 HBCU All-Star.

Simon was among 73 students across 63 HBCUs in 24 states, the District of Columbia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Virgin Islands selected out of 300 applicants. The All-Stars, comprised of undergraduate, graduate and professional students, are being recognized for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

“I believe that all of my hard work has paid off,” Simon said. “Everything I have done for my school and community has provided the opportunity for me to represent Langston University on a national level.”

Over the next year, Simon will help promote and create outreach opportunities for his fellow students about the value of education. He will also participate in the White House HBCU Week Conference, national and regional events, and webinars with Initiative staff and other professionals on a range of disciplines that support a spirit of engagement and personal and professional development.

“We are proud of Nicholas and the work he has accomplished to receive this prestigious honor and know he will represent the University well at the White House HBCU Conference,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, president of Langston University.

Nicholas Simon, an honors student from currently serves as president of the campus NAACP chapter and co-chair of the Langston University ambassador program. This past summer he conducted biological research for NASA at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California as part of an internship program.

“It’s an honor to be recognized among so many talented scholars. I am excited to have a chance to learn more about other HBCUs and collaborate to help build and grow our institutions,” Simon said.

Langston University is a public historically black college enrolling a close-knit community of under 4,000 students. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County and has two urban campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. LU was recently recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability, ranking number three among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S., according to Langston offers over 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Visit us online at


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University is experiencing historic enrollment for the 2015-16 school year. Faculty and staff recently welcomed the largest freshman class in the history of the University.

According to admissions data, it has more than 692 incoming freshmen, and this number continues to rise. With more than a 40 percent increase in the past several years, the strength of the incoming class is a direct reflection of the strategic recruitment efforts.

Among these efforts, the Office of Admissions highlighted that the University has maintained its affordability for high-quality education on a state and national level. Admissions has also seen a return on pairing recruitment efforts with the alumni chapters, this has given Admissions its advantage over the competition. The incoming class proves to be a group of enthusiastic academic leaders; it is made up of a total of 40 incoming freshmen that are now scholars in the Edwin McCabe Honors Program. A program sponsored by the University; scholars must take a total of 50 hours of honors courses designed to develop communication skills, analytical thinking, creativity and leadership.

Langston University was listed as the third most affordable small college in Oklahoma on the College Tuition Compare website.

“As an affordability leader in the state, we are able to better leverage our financial resources to compete for more students in Oklahoma,” said Chauncey Jackson, Executive Director of Enrollment Management at Langston University.

Langston University was nationally ranked the fourth most affordable small college in the United States. The ranking was created using information from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator database. The number of out-of-state admits has drastically increased, with more students coming from Missouri, Colorado, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

“We offer a number of academically challenging programs and continue to develop our resources,” said the president of the University, Kent J. Smith Jr., Ph.D.

Total enrollment is 2,567 for all three campuses, which are located in Langston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The Oklahoma City and Tulsa campuses offer upper-division courses and graduate courses. Among these programs, Langston-OKC is host to the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling & Disability Studies, a vocational rehabilitation program designed specifically for migrant and seasonal farm workers with special needs. Langston-Tulsa has a state-of-the-art facility that offers a variety of programs at the baccalaureate and graduate levels.

The Langston University Doctor of Physical Therapy program is one of only two programs offered in the state of Oklahoma. The Langston campus is also home to the number one goat research institute in the world, the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research. Langston University offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 masters degrees and one doctoral program. Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. To learn more about programs and offerings please visit the Langston University website at

Student Leadership Institute 2015


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University Office of Student Life recently held the annual Student Leadership Institute (SLI), where student leaders learned best practices for leading and developing their organizations.

The weeklong event included guest speakers, seminars, group exercises and other activities to help the students develop as leaders. The theme was “Back to the Basics: Remembering The Foundation For Success.”

Brittany Carradine, Assistant Director of Student Life in the Office of Student Affairs, has led the SLI since 2013 with the goal of helping students lead successful organizations.

“The SLI is where students develop skills, connect with peers, and grow as leaders,” Carradine said. “Leaders who understand how they lead are more engaged, productive, and successful. This will help students understand their top strengths to become better leaders.”

Students were taught how to run effective meetings, the fiscal responsibility of leading organizations, the importance of communication within an organization, especially during times of conflict, and how to use social media effectively.

Students then had the opportunity to use what they learned as they met with student leaders from other schools to develop a plan for supporting each other in success.

Shaquille Anderson is a senior Business Management major is the newly appointed 2015-16 Student Government Association president. His goal is to increase communication between the students and administration, as well as with his fellow students.

“It is in my nature to factor in people’s perspective,” Anderson said. “I think it is important in any leadership role to take in the opinions and viewpoints of others in order to make a positive impact. It is our priority as campus leaders to keep the student experience at a high level.”

Student leaders have been equipped with the tools needed to fulfill their responsibility to their peers, future students and themselves to represent Langston and their organizations well.

“They are ready to work and take action,” Carradine said.

Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 masters degrees and one doctoral program. Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma.
To learn more about Langston University, please visit


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by Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Elected officials from East Kenya visited the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research at Langston University on Oct. 31, 2014.

The E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research plays an important role in improving the lives of people in developing countries. International institutions continue to benefit from the training and resources made available by the Institute for Research and Extension. The officials toured the research facilities and goat farm in hopes that the University will consider investing in various projects in East Kenya.

The Kenyan government officials sent members of Mombasa County’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries to the U.S. to cultivate relationships to further the mission to enhance food security, plant and animal health, and reduce poverty through the creation of agribusiness opportunities that result in improved livelihoods.

“Our governor sent us specifically to come back with something,” said Anthony Njaramba, the Mombasa County Minister of Agriculture.

The E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research has been involved in research, training, and development projects in West Africa for two years.

“We have not come to beg for help; we have come to request a partnership because we understand what Langston University can do for us,” Njaramba said. “These areas have been neglected because of the harsh climate. We believe that goat farming can turn our economy around, and Langston University can help us do that.”

Also proposed was the development of a student exchange program for students from the Agriculture Training College in Kenya to attend Langston University.

“We have never had an exchange student in East Africa, only in the West, ” said Marvin Burns, Ph. D., Dean of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. “I am happy to know that you have interest and we certainly want to see Mombasa come to the forefront of Tanzania. We have people in place to help us get what we need.”

Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 master’s degrees and one doctoral program. E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute provides cutting-edge research that focuses on providing new information relevant and usable by producers and researchers alike. Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Click here to learn more about the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research.

Langston University (LU) was founded as a land grant college through the Morrill Act of 1890 and officially established when House Bill 151 passed on March 12, 1897, as the Colored Agricultural and Normal University. The bill mandated the University to receive federal funds matched by state funds for the support of agricultural research and cooperative extension and community engagement.

LU has both a rural and urban-mandated mission with campuses in Langston, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and one extension in Ardmore. Langston University produces top academic scholars within the six schools that house the degree programs. LU boasts a total of 30 undergraduate and 5 graduate degree programs are offered within Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Behavioral Science, Nursing and Health Professions, and Physical Therapy. Currently, the top majors are nursing, health physical education and recreation, liberal education, and psychology. Learn more by visiting us online.


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – ONEOK recently pledged nearly $1.5 million to Langston University to fund projects campus-wide.

As the largest gift to date, ONEOK’s gift will fund scholarships in the Accounting Department that will be awarded to well-deserving students with financial needs. It will also fund a new professorship in the Accounting Department.

Over the past three years, ONEOK has developed a strong relationship with the Accounting Department. ONEOK routinely recruits LU Accounting students for their internship program. The internship program helps prepare students for post-college success through in-the-field training and additional learning experiences in the oil and natural gas industry. In most cases, these internships turn into full-time positions at ONEOK.

In addition to the large amount given to the Accounting Department, ONEOK’s support has reached across campus with a portion of the gift allocated to a marquee and video scoreboard, and a new entrance sign.

“We are incredibly thankful to ONEOK for the generous gift and the continuous support to our students,” said Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University. “ONEOK is Langston University’s largest supporter, and its gift will make a huge impact on the lives of our students and will continue assisting Langston on our journey to becoming a competitor in our ever-growing economy.”

“Langston’s accounting program is top notch, and Langston’s proximity – right here in our own backyard – makes it a great resource for us to recruit quality local candidates,” said Terry K. Spencer, president and chief executive officer of ONEOK. “We have hired a number of Langston graduates for accounting roles at ONEOK. Making additional investments in the university to maintain that pipeline of quality candidates just makes sense.”

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including five masters’ degrees and one doctoral program. For more information about Langston University giving please contact the LU Foundation Office at (405) 466-3482.