Officials from Langston University visited Ardmore Thursday to discuss the future of the school’s presence at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma
Langston President Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr. and Vice President Mautra Jones met with board members of UCSO to discuss possibly adding additional programs to the center, as well as reviewing how programs are currently performing.
Langston University opened a nursing program in January at UCSO, its first program in southern Oklahoma.
“Right now we have the nursing program and it is on track. We have students enrolled and we want to grow that program,” Dr. Smith said. “At some point we’ll have a discussion over potential other programs.”
Before adding other programs, Langston wants to talk with other schools in the area like Murray State and East Central University in order to not duplicate offerings available.
Langston brought the nursing program to UCSO  after surveying the needs of southern Oklahoma.
“The health care profession definitely needs more professionals here (southern Oklahoma),” Jones said. “We heard recurring themes, and those themes were we need citizens here in Oklahoma to stay here and provide opportunities in that chosen profession (healthcare).”
The state of Texas is where the second largest student population for Langston comes from, which was one of the reasons why the university was drawn to the University Center. Dr. Smith believes putting more programs at the center will bring more students to southern Oklahoma, which could benifit both Ardmore and Langston University.
One of the major programs Langston University has to offer is goat research, and it’s considered one of the top goat research programs in the world, according to Smith.
Bringing the goat program or other agricultural programs to an agricultural-rich area like southern Oklahoma is one of many possibilities  Smith and Jones discussed with board members on Thursday.
“Part of our  mission is to extend agricultural services and agricultural education in the state of Oklahoma,”  Smith said. “We are open and we don’t have specifics at this time but we are having discussions. We certainly want to know the community more and what the needs are and what programs exist at other institutions. But certainly that is one that has come up because it is something we are really good at and it is a great program.”
Other programs Dr. Smith said were well established at the university were science-based fields like chemistry and biology.
Currently, Langston has 2,400 students total at four campuses throughout the state.
“The (Ardmore) community has been incredible,” Smith said. “They told us the community was supportive of higher education but we found out first hand how supportive the community really is. It feels like we just belong and we fit in with what the community is.”