Erin Kistler and grandparents attend Grandparent U

Erin Kistler of El Dorado and grandparents Jack and Kay McCarthy of Newkirk, Okla., were participants in Grandparent University 2014 at Oklahoma State University in June. Kistler is the child of Skipp and Joy Kistler.
Grandparent University is hosted by the OSU Alumni Association and brought 522 legacies and their grandparents to Stillwater in June. While on campus, they attended classes taught by OSU faculty and staff, stayed in student housing, dined on campus and enjoyed the life of average college students.
“Grandparent University or GPU is a wonderful opportunity for OSU legacies to learn in a college environment and get acquainted with OSU,” says Melisa Parkerson, director of student programs for the OSU Alumni Association. “It’s also a great time for them to meet other legacies and strengthen the bond with their grandparents.”
This was the eleventh year for OSU’s Grandparent University, which has hosted nearly 3,000 participants since 2003. The program has grown from four majors and 80 participants to 22 majors with 522 participants.
Kistler majored in Flowers in Horticulture and says her favorite memory from GPU was enjoying the tailgate party and the classes with her grandparents.
The 2014 event hosted participants from 22 states spanning the continental United States from Washington to Florida and California to Connecticut. GPU also received the 2010 Circle of Excellence Gold Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education – the highest honor bestowed by the national organization representing more than 3,400 educational institutions and nonprofits in 68 countries.
The children and their grandparents were enrolled in one of 22 majors: aerospace, agribusiness, animals in the garden, architecture, athletic training, aviation, broadcasting, chemistry, electrical engineering, entomology I and II, firefighter 101, flowers in horticulture, food science, kids cooking breakfast, Oklahoma geology, Oklahoma vertebrates, sports marketing, strategic communications, veterinary medicine, videography, and virtual reality and cyber technologies.
Under the instruction of OSU professors, the students learned about their major and participated in a variety of activities.  Depending on their chosen major, students took part in designing a city, planning and carrying out a flight plan, creating and editing a commercial, touring equine facilities, and learning how to motorize a boat.
Upon completing their assignments, the participants received a graduation certificate for all their hard work as college students during their stay at Grandparent University. Along with the activities in the classroom, there is time to socialize while picnicking by Old Central, swimming at the Colvin Center or cheering at a tailgate with OSU student athletes. The Alumni Association defines a legacy as a child or grandchild of an active association member. If you would like more information about Grandparent University, the OSU Legacy Program or about the OSU Alumni Association, visit