UCO Opens Gates for Bates

UCO Opens Gates for Bates

Peyton Bates is a student from St. Gregory’s University. Due to the university’s shut down at the end of the fall 2017 semester, Bates is just one student transfering to UCO to complete her educations. (Provided/Jessica Estes)

A teach-out agreement between St. Gregory’s University and the University of Central Oklahoma has allowed junior Peyton Bates to transfer and complete her education after the school announced its closing in November.

“[The agreement means] that if I attended one of these universities, the school would take every single credit from SGU,” said Peyton Bates, a SGU communication studies majors. “I would be able to graduate on time because all other classes required from that new university would be waived.”

The teach-out agreement allows SGU students credits to transfer to another university so that they can finish out their degrees on time.  UCO is accepting all credits and tuition will be equal to or less than SGU’s tuition.

SGU hosted its final commencement ceremony last Saturday. Many students received an associate degree instead of the bachelor’s degree like they had been expecting.

“It was kind of a nice surprise that a lot of us were able to walk last night one last time, and just be with our friends and be part of [the ceremony],” Bates said.

Bates needs 12 hours in order to complete her bachelor’s degree and graduate in May.

“At first, I had no clue where I would attend school after this semester,” Bates said. “For a week and a half, I sat in limbo between UCO and another school, waiting to hear about the teach-out agreement before I committed anywhere.”

Bates said UCO is the best option for her financially, and academically because of the communications program. She can also cheer for one more semester, as she has accepted a position on the UCO cheer team.

Bates had never thought that the university would shut down, even at the moment everyone was required to meet at the gymnasium on Nov. 8. She had thought it was because of a fire alarm or because something important happened.

“Tears began coming out of my eyes as I watched the entire baseball team stand up and leave the gym,” Bates said. “I watched as my friends, teammates and classmates held one another as people began wailing, their future now uncertain.”

Bates has never seen SGU’s community any closer than they have been this past month. The first weeks after the closing announcement for her were a state of shock and sadness, as well as uncertainness.

“After that, I knew I had to start coming to terms with the current situation and that I had to face the fact that I would not be a student at SGU after this semester,” Bates said.

The best way for Bates to describe SGU is “home,” because every person on campus made her feel at home. Although she had no interest of moving to Shawnee at first, she said she now truly feels like God led her there.

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