Grandparent University Celebrates Ten Years
The name Grandparent University didn’t mean much to Maya Castille in the summer of 2003. The then 10-year-old was attending the new program at Oklahoma State University with her grandmother and 78 other participants.
“OSU had always been a part of my family,” says Castille, now a senior English major at OSU. “But at GPU, you got to be inside the classroom instead of just on campus.”
This June, the OSU Alumni Association hosted the tenth year of Grandparent University, which has grown from 78 participants and four majors in 2003 to a record 403 participants this year with 17 majors representing five academic colleges.
Nearly 2,500 grandparents and legacies have attended GPU in the past ten years. Although the three-day summer camp has more than quadrupled in size, the mission has remained the same – to actively engage kids in academics at OSU while creating memories for grandparents and grandchildren.
“We couldn’t be happier with the passion our alumni have for GPU and for their children and grandchildren’s futures at Oklahoma State,” says Melisa Parkerson, director of student programs for the OSU Alumni Association. “This program’s growth over the last decade is a testament to the traditions of success and family bred right here in Stillwater.”
This year’s participants hail from 18 states spanning the continental United States from California to Maryland and Minnesota to Texas. Photos from this year's GPU along with a list of graduates will be available soon at orangeconnection.org/gpu.
“OSU is such a fun place to be; it just hooks you,” says Castille, who went on to attend four more GPUs and then volunteered as a major host. “One of my most memorable experiences was riding in a Cessna 182 with my grandmother in the aviation major.”
About Grandparent University
Grandparent University is a unique intergenerational learning experience is designed for legacies ages 7 to 14 and their grandparents. A legacy is a child registered under a parent or grandparent who is an active member in the OSU Alumni Association.
While on campus, participants attend classes taught by OSU faculty, stay in student housing, dine on campus and enjoy the life of average college students. Under the instruction of OSU professors, the students learn about their major chosen and participate in a variety of activities.
Depending on their chosen major, students have the opportunity to take part in designing a city, planning and carrying out a flight plan, creating a TV news package, touring dairy and equine facilities, and learning how to cook healthy.
Upon completing their assignments, the participants receive a graduation certificate for all their hard work as college students during their stay at GPU. Along with the activities in the classroom, there is time to socialize while picnicking by Theta Pond, swimming at the Colvin Center or cheering at a tailgate with OSU student athletes.
In 2010, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) acknowledged GPU’s success with the Circle of Excellence Gold Award. The award is the highest honor bestowed by CASE, which represents more than 3,400 educational institutions and nonprofits in 68 countries.
For more information about Grandparent University, visit orangeconnection.org/gpu. For more information about the OSU Alumni Association's Legacy program, visit orangeconnection.org/legacy.