first school in Oklahoma to give instruction to deaf
children was at Fort Gibson. This school, started by a
Mrs. Lowery, provided for the education of blind Indian
children of the Five Civilized Tribes. Later, deaf
children were admitted.
In 1898, Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth Long started a school
for deaf children in Guthrie, Oklahoma. After statehood,
in 1908, the School for the Deaf was established in
Sulphur, Oklahoma. Classes were originally held in
rented buildings and hotels in the Sulphur business
Building of new school buildings began in 1910. In
1911, the buildings under construction, about a quarter
of a mile East and 100 yards south of the present
location, fell in. With allegations of fraud, the
original buildings were condemned. New buildings were
begun at the present location in 1912 and the first
classes were held in the fall of 1913. Miss Edna Patch
was the first graduate of a deaf school in Oklahoma,
Class of 1907. She became the first deaf employee of the
Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur.
OSD has grown from the original 3 buildings (Ralph H.
White Education Center, Stewart Hall, and Read Hall) to
a campus that includes the gym, auditorium, Student
Union complex, the superintendent’s residence, Long
Hall, Blattner Hall, Vocational Building, Griffing Hall,
and the Physical Plant facilities.
In 1961, a major renovation was begun on all OSD
buildings. Renovations were completed in 1980. In
1999-2000, a new renovation project was begun. As of
spring, 2002, Long Hall, White Hall, Stewart Hall, and
Blattner Hall have been completed. Major repairs have
been made to the gymnasium during this period as well.
Ralph H. White was named Superintendent in 1981. He was
the deaf person to be named OSD Superintendent. After
Mr. White’s retirement in 1990, Steve Witchey was named
Superintendent. Mr. Witchey became superintendent at the
North Carolina School for the Deaf, Wilson Campus in
1994 and Dr. Linda Trice was named superintendent, the
first female to fill that position. After Dr. Trice’s
retirement in 2000, Mr. Larry Hawkins was named