The Prentice Gautt Academic Center at the University of Oklahoma is the finest academic facility in the nation. Student-athletes can come for academic assistance for more than 90 hours a week. The expansion of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium included remodeled office space in the facility's north end. The largest piece of that project was the Prentice Gautt Academic Center. Some 30,000 square feet are dedicated to the academic pursuits of Sooner student-athletes. Indeed, there is considerable emphasis on classroom performance at OU. The strong financial commitment by the department, coupled with the dedication of the Prentice Gautt Academic Center staff, makes this the premier student-athlete support center. This dedication creates a firm academic foundation for OU student-athletes. Located on the second and third floors in the north end of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, the Academic Center houses Academic Counseling Offices, two Computer Centers, Learning and Skill Development Centers for reading, study skills, Math and Foreign Language Labs, the Career Center, mentoring office and study areas.
About Prentice Gautt
In the fall of 1956, the University of Oklahoma issued jersey No. 38 to a young man from Oklahoma City who shattered stereotypes and set sail on an athletics career marked by achievement, decency and service to thousands of student-athletes. The player who wore that jersey was Prentice Gautt, the first black football player at OU. "In honoring Prentice Gautt, the university is helping all of us to remember that one person can make a difference in the society in which we live," said OU President David L. Boren. "Because of his moral courage and the strength of his personal character, Prentice Gautt helped advance racial justice not only in Oklahoma, but across the country. He helped open new doors of opportunity for countless young athletes who have followed in his footsteps. We will be forever proud to have his name linked to the University of Oklahoma." OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione said the reminder of Gautt's contributions is important. "Prentice was such a remarkable human being," said OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione. "His vision, dignity, strength and faith created an aura around him that was unmistakably inspiring. It is only fitting that we would honor Prentice this season. Knowing the quality of humility Prentice possessed, he probably would have shied away from the recognition, but it is important that we remind ourselves and other generations of his wonderful contributions." Gautt's name adorns the athletics department's academic center at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, an honor bestowed in 1999. In 2003, he was honored with an honorary doctorate from OU. Former Sooners' coaching great Bud Wilkinson awarded a football scholarship to Gautt. Gautt then became a two-time All-Big Eight player and the 1959 Orange Bowl MVP. As a senior, he was named to the academic All-American team. He played football professionally in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns (one year) and St. Louis Cardinals (six years). After the NFL, Gautt coached football at Missouri while earning his Ph.D. in psychology. He then started a career in athletics administration, first as an assistant commissioner for the Big Eight Conference and as a special assistant to the commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. Gautt played high school football at Douglass High School in Oklahoma City. His senior year, he became the first black to play in the All-State game and he earned MVP honors. He died on March 17, 2005 from flu-like symptoms. He was posthumously given the 2005 Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award by The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) in May 2005.
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