The majority of students at The University of Oklahoma do not know what this word means.  They have accepted it because of tradition.  Yet in fact, students are probably unaware they are following in the footsteps of thousands of Sooners before them or that they embody exactly the same energy.  Those who know anything about the word “Sooner” might wonder why we are named after those who cheated by coming into Oklahoma before the unassigned lands were officially open. But they do not realize there is so much more to the word “Sooner.”

It all began with these words — “What Possibilities.”  This is what David Ross Boyd said when he stepped off the train in Norman for the first time.  Sooners are described by the 1917 yearbook staff as “young, energetic, and active people, who liked a pioneer’s life, they loved adventure and were willing to advance with civilization into almost unknown fields.”

The Sooner student body is the same today as it was in 1889. When the university started it was unclear what the end would look like, but because of the Sooners that attend OU, we have achieved so many possibilities and “advanced… into unknown fields.”  The current Sooners may not be aware of this tradition, but they are living it daily.  Whether it is through medical research or creating a new organization on campus, we are constantly creating new opportunities for future Sooners and ourselves.

I am currently the Chair for this upcoming year’s Homecoming, which enables me to continue OU’s traditions, and create new opportunities for the university.  Continuing this Sooner tradition, this past semester I was fortunate enough to help found a student run non-profit consulting firm, The Oklahoma Group.  It is through these experiences that I know the Sonner tradition is still alive.

No matter what year it is, the Sooners are still “pushing forward the cause of education.”  Despite the fact that in 1889 or 1917 there may not have been a Higher Education day to lobby for Oklahoma’s higher education, there were clearly other possibilities that helped push Oklahoma’s higher education to where it is today.

So while many Sooners might not be aware of the fact that they are pioneers, they are constantly eager to learn, discover, and make new possibilities just like President Boyd envisioned.  Through tradition we have become the university that we are today.  Now that the tradition has been explained and understood, one can see how the word “Sooner” describes the past and current students at The University of Oklahoma perfectly.

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