TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- It was a big first week for Northeastern State University's Capitola “Cappi” Wadley Center for Reading and Technology--with an official opening on Aug. 28 and a Sept. 4 announcement of a donation by the AT&T Foundation.
During its second week, the Wadley Center hosted a visit by Connie Reilly, regent for the Regional University System of Oklahoma. U.S. Senator James Inhofe spoke with Reilly, NSU President Steve Turner, students of the President's Leadership Class and Jerry Cook, interim executive director of university relations, after Reilly toured the facility.
"I am impressed with the openness of the Wadley Center," Reilly said. "I visited before the facility was complete and It has been an absolutely phenomenal transformation. I felt welcome, especially among the students who will serve as tutors. We are all thankful to the Wadley family for making this possible."
Gregg Wadley, Northeastern class of 1969, and his wife, Dr. Betsy Brackett, pledged $1 million in December 2009 in honor of Wadley’s mother, Cappitola “Cappi” Wadley, who passed away in 2005. The gift was the first million-dollar donation in NSU's history.
"Through the Wadley Center, we fulfill the promise and potential of reading through the miracle of teaching," Turner said. "It amazes me to think about what colleges of education were like in the past and compare it to where the craft of teaching is going today--and to see it happening here in such a colorful, interactive environment."
Reilly thanked Turner and Jerry Cook for inviting Inhofe to campus.
"Often elected officials are invited to ceremonies and ribbon-cuttings, but this was a small, personal discussion," she said. "It let the senator get a feel for the university. A lot of people are doing good work at Northeastern and it is important for our elected officials to see what is being done and also gain an aesthetic perspective of the campus."
Reilly said the great importance of the Wadley Center and other reading clinics is their ability to open children's minds to intellectual realms.
"If students can't read, they can't learn of new places and new ideas and delicious words through books," she said. "In many ways, an inability to read can feel like a prison. I a child can read, they can go beyond physical borders through books and reading and deciding on subjects they want to explore."
Turner said he enjoyed the visit between Inhofe and students in his President's Leadership Class.
"Their questions were appropriate--whether about pizza, student debt or what is unique about education at regional universities," he said. "The senator, as always, was very gracious and the presence of Regent Reilly underscored the importance of this type of interaction. Having a sitting senator on campus here talking with students, there is no substitute for that."
Reilly said she was struck by the enthusiasm of the children and the NSU students who will serve as their tutors.
"When you see a group of students with so much anticipation for learning and outstanding instruction being provided, you realize this isn't intended to be flashy or fancy," she said. "This is a working lab that is going to benefit everyone involved. Honestly, I wanted to leave so everyone could get to work."
Housed on Bagley's third floor, the Wadley Center offers a clinic where children can overcome reading deficiencies through tutoring. It houses rooms for individual or group instruction, collaborative learning areas, a computer lab, classrooms and a workroom.
One-on-one instruction programs are focused on children, but NSU's College of Education wants to include services for adults in the future. The clinic plans to host family literacy nights regularly.
For more information about the Capitola “Cappi” Wadley Center for Reading and Technology call (918) 444-3313.
Published: 9/7/2012 3:22:44 PM