The President’s Residence at Rogers State University provides an on-campus home for the university’s president, spouse, and family. The residence is located in a pastoral setting, near Douglas Lake on the southwest corner of the main campus in Claremore, at 1776 Camden Drive.
The home provides a place for the chief executive to host and entertain students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters of the institution. Campus and holiday events at the President’s Residence have become a tradition under the Presidency of Dr. Larry Rice and First Lady Peggy Rice.
Bonds were issued in 1952 to fund the construction of the home, along with 10 other residences for faculty of the Oklahoma Military Academy, the predecessor institution of RSU.
The faculty residences were constructed on the military academy’s old polo grounds, along Blue Starr Drive on the northwest side of the campus. When the structures were completed, the OMA boasted 33 buildings on the Hill.
The President’s Residence was built in the mid-century modern style and featured four bedrooms, an abundance of windows, and an exterior of orchard stone veneer and redwood. The home was completed in late 1952. The residence was designed to complement the OMA Visitor’s Center, which was completed in 1951. The Visitor’s Center, located between Preparatory and Meyer Halls, was demolished in the 1980s.
The first president to live in the residence was Col. Homer Ledbetter, who made his home there with his family, inhabiting the house until the end of his tenure in 1964. Subsequently, OMA President John F. Smoller lived there from 1964 to 1968.
Col. John Horne, OMA president, and his family lived there from 1968 to 1971, and family members still have fond memories of this beautiful home.
In 1990, the residence received an extensive renovation during the tenure of President Richard Mosier, altering much of its physical structure. Two bedrooms were added to accommodate guests, gables were added to the roof, and the exterior was covered with red brick to complement other campus buildings.
Significant improvements to the home were made in 2006 during the tenure of President Joe Wiley, including the complete replacement of the floor structure, installation of a new exterior drainage system, redesign and expansion of the master suite, rebuilding of the fireplaces, and the addition of new kitchen countertops and appliances.
New window coverings, carpet and interior paint were added in 2008 by President and Mrs. Rice.
Today the home features new furnishings provided by private contributions, as well as historical memorabilia from the history of the university, including its days as the Oklahoma Military Academy.