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OU Residential Colleges Recognized As Outstanding Development Project

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NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma’s Residential Colleges recently won the “Large Scale Development” category in the Urban Land Institute Oklahoma’s fourth annual Impact Awards held at the Tower Theater in Oklahoma City. The awards ceremony honors development projects throughout the metro Oklahoma City area that represent the best practices in land use and development through their contributions to the built environment and the public realm.

 “We are honored to receive this recognition for our new living-learning communities,” said OU President David L. Boren. “The Residential Colleges are unique spaces on our campus. They were designed thoughtfully to create a sense of place and community for our students. I am grateful to all who have helped make this vision a reality.”  

OU’s Residential Colleges, Dunham College and Headington College, were among 23 finalists selected by ULI as projects that promote the creation of resilient communities, intelligent densification and urbanization, and outstanding quality of design and construction. ULI seeks to recognize the projects that are pioneering, creative and exemplary in their promotion of these goals. An independent panel of 12 judges evaluated and selected a winner from each of the seven categories based on their success in contributing to walkability, creating or reinforcing a sense of place and additional criteria specific to each category.

“This is a great honor for the colleges and I want to thank ULI for such recognition,” said Mark Morvant, senior fellow of Dunham College. “A great deal of planning went into creating the Borens’ vision of a vibrant community in the heart of the campus.”

The Residential Colleges combine three different aspects of student life: the living space, the learning space and the fellowship relationship. Patterned after those at Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge, OU is the first university in the state and one of the first public universities in the nation to adopt the residential college model.

"We shape our places, and thereafter they shape us,” said Keith Gaddie, senior fellow of Headington College. “This recognition affirms our greatest hopes that the colleges would provide positive space for all the campus and our OU community." 

 President Boren and First Lady Molly Shi Boren serve as honorary fellows to the Residential Colleges, which provide an intimate and supportive community designed to promote the social, intellectual and personal growth of OU undergraduates. Additionally, there are 24 Faculty Fellows who teach seminar-sized courses in the colleges each semester. The facilities include student living spaces, study lounges, dining areas, faculty offices and apartments, classrooms, seminar rooms, a music room, a meditation room, a library, creative commons and storm shelters. Courtyards and outdoor spaces enhance the community feel of each Residential College.

Established in 2015, the Impact Awards were created by ULI to recognize superior efforts in community development and help support their mission of providing responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment. To achieve this goal, ULI is committed to bringing leaders from across the fields of real estate and land use policy to exchange best practices and serve community needs; fostering collaboration within and beyond ULI’s membership through mentoring, dialogue and problem-solving; exploring issues of urbanization, conservation, regeneration, land use, capital formation and sustainable development; advancing land use policies and design practices that respect the uniqueness of both built and natural environments; sharing knowledge through education, applied research, publishing and electronic media; and sustaining a diverse global network of local practice and advisory efforts that address current and future challenges.

For more information on OU’s Residential Colleges, visit

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