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Oklahoma Lt. Gov Todd Lamb welcomed students to Brown Mackie College – where the average age is 29 – by telling them that he himself did not earn his law degree until later in life. No one will be leaving the college with a law degree, but one of six programs offers students the chance to earn a paralegal degree.
Lamb was there Sept. 20 to help celebrate the grand opening of the college, 7101 Northwest Expressway, although classes began Aug. 1. The for-profit school has 27 branches around the country, including one in Tulsa.
John Fogarty, president of the Oklahoma City branch, said the programs are designed to help students find jobs after they graduate.
“Each and every one of these programs represents some of the fastest growing professional fields both here in Oklahoma City as well as across the country,” he said.
At the Oklahoma City campus the programs include accounting technology; business management; healthcare administration; medical assisting; office management and paralegal degrees.
When classes began in August there were 64 students. The current enrollment is 78. Those numbers exceeded college administrators’ initial expectations.
“Our goal was 50,” said Judy Holmes, institutional president of the college who oversees campuses in Kansas City, Salina, Kan. and Oklahoma City.
Holmes said a market study showed there was a need for the college in the local market. She said one area the study focused on was competition in the market. The school competes with other institutions like the University of Phoenix. She said Oklahoma City had many similarities to Kansas City, where the college runs a successful program.
“We look at competition and the programs they offer,” Holmes said. “With the Oklahoma City market we saw there was a need for the programs we offer with a career focus.”
Brown Mackie officials leased about 35,000 square feet in the former theater at the Brixton Square shopping center and converted it to modern office and classroom space. The total investment in the Oklahoma City campus was about $10 million, college officials reported.
With the initial response, Fogarty is pleased, and ready to begin signing up more students.
“We continue to grow every month,” he said.
Lamb told students, college officials and community leaders said in an ever changing world, and a job market that grows more competitive each day, every educational institution must be on the cutting edge to send their students out into the job market armed with the necessary skills to succeed.
“The students of today are not the same defined students as yesterday, and Brown Mackie meets that need as well or better than anybody else,” he said.