MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 6, 2013

CSC’s story captured in print

Book on its first century being used as fundraiser

— Connors State College is using a book about its past to help build its future.

CSC Library Director Margaret Rigney documents the college’s past in “The First Century: A Pictorial History of Connors State College.”

The Connors Development Foundation is offering the book for a $32 minimum donation. Proceeds will benefit the Cowboy Legacy and Alumni & Friends scholarship funds.

“Since the book was about our alumni and a history of the campus, we felt it would be great to help our scholarship fund,” said Ryan Blanton, the foundation’s executive director.

Rigney, who will mark her 36th year with the college in February, said she has wanted to tell the story for a long time. She said this is the college’s first official history book.

“Over the years, I heard bits and pieces about Connors,” Rigney said. “In 2008, we celebrated our college centennial, and I thought it would make a good document. When we baby boomers leave, we’re going to take a third of our institution’s history.”

Rigney has since used much of her “down time” poring through old college yearbooks, newspapers, class records and pictures, whatever she could find.

It was not always easy.

“From the ’50s and ’60s, oh my gosh, then from the ’70s on, we had lots of stuff,” she said. “However, the early, early years proved to be a mystery. It was the most difficult for me.”

Rigney said she read a lot of old newspapers. For example, The Oklahoman ran stories of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture meetings.

“We were part of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture until the board of regents were formed in the 1920s,” she said.

“When we looked at old college newspapers, we had the first one, from the 1920s. Then, we had nothing through the ’20s until the ’30s, and that was sporadic until the 1940s.”

Rigney said the only record she had of early Connors presidents were their last names.

College documents were scarce during the 1940s because of World War II, she said.

“One thing I did not know was that from 1941 to 1943, this was a training camp for the Army Air Force tech training program,” she said.

Rigney said she got a lot of information from books on local history and from CSC colleagues.

“As they emptied out their rooms to be renovated, they’d say: ‘Hey, there’s stuff in here. Want to look at it?’,” Rigney said. “For every story I had, there are 100 more that could be told.”

Blanton said half the proceeds will go toward the Alumni & Friends Scholarship Fund.

“The amount varies from year to year,” he said, adding that this year’s scholarships are about $800 each.

The college usually gives about six scholarships each year, but the book sales could increase that number.

The other half of the proceeds will go to the Cowboy Legacy Fund, which helps pay for campus renovations and maintenance of campus gardens.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

To buy a copy

Copies of “The First Century: A Pictorial History of Connors State College” are available for a minimum donation of $32, plus $5 for shipping and handling if the book is mailed. Call Connors Development Foundation at (918) 463-6343.

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