Mrs. Blather and I headed up to Oklahoma City for the weekend with Female Offspring Unit #2. Our purpose: to visit the campus of the University of Oklahoma with a view toward FOU #2 going to school there in the fall.
As loyal readers know, she graduated from high school last May but delayed college for a year in order to spend the late summer and fall of ’09 working at an orphanage in Nairobi Kenya. She had previously been accepted to Belmont University in Nashville and Baylor, but somewhere on the plains of Africa she misplaced her certainty that either of these was where she was supposed to be.
This, in spite of the fact that the majority of her closest high school friends are already at Baylor and rooting mightily for her to join them this August. But as I mentioned in this post when she graduated, she’s never been one to follow the crowd or seek the comfort of the familiar.
So, on Saturday, the three of us got an official tour of the OU campus. Even in the lifeless gray of a damp January day, the Norman campus really is impressive. The preponderance of the older buildings reflect a Gothic architecture that isn’t overly heavy. The Bizzell Library is a great example:
Of course every college campus seems to have its share of buildings designed in what we now know to be the Dark Age of American architecture–the late ’60s and ’70s, and OU is no exception. On our tour of the campus, our guide pointed out the physical science building–this beauty:
Believe it or not, that’s not a tall building standing behind a squatty, windowless Soviet bunker. It’s actually a tall building sitting on top of a squatty, windowless Soviet bunker. Since the time of its construction in ’70-’71, this charmless hulk has been known to students and faculty as “The Blender.”
Our guide felt compelled to explain why the first 50 vertical feet of the building is trapezoidal block of concrete. He said that the building had been designed in 1969 as campus riots were commonplace all over the country–with even OU experiencing a bit of acid-fueled anti-war anarchy. The architects made the lower four floors windowless concrete to make it riot-proof. Hand to my heart.
At that point in the tour, I leaned over to my wife and commented (a little more loudly that I had intended), “Yeah, and now all those rioters are tenured faculty teaching sociology and history.”
She burst out laughing as did several of our fellow tour mates. The student leading the tour smiled nervously and just kept the tour moving.
In any event, it look increasingly likely that, come this fall, we’ll have one in Waco, one in Norman, and one at home. And that’s alright with me.