When celebrities like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Cosby, Faith Hill, Sinbad and Presidents Truman, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush came to visit Stillwater, they stayed at the Atherton.

Affectionately dubbed “the Waldorf of the West,” the Atherton, on the campus of Oklahoma State University, opened in September 1950. Originally called The Union Club Hotel, the 82-guest-room upscale hotel went through many name changes and renovations, the most recent of which was a $5.5 million project seven and a half years ago, spearheaded by donations from Bill and Ann Atherton.

Included in the facility is a wine tasting room, a fitness room and The Ranchers Club, a restaurant which recognizes the history of Oklahoma.

“Ranching is our heritage at OSU,” said Jim Barnard, general manager of the Atherton and the Ranchers Club. “Stillwater and Oklahoma deserve a kind of facility like this.”

Dessert menu items, The Ranchers Club and the Atherton all recently received recognition in the book “Recipes from Historic America: Cooking and Traveling with America’s Finest Hotels.” The book features the top 45 historic hotels and restaurants in the country.

“Being included among the distinguished hotels featured in the ‘Recipes from Historic America’ is very exciting for the Atherton at OSU,” said Pat Knaub, dean of the College of Human Environ-mental Sciences. “We are pleased that the Atherton Hotel brings such distinction to OSU, Stillwater and the state.”

The Atherton is now part of the university’s College of Human Environmental Sciences and the school of hotel and restaurant administration, serving as a “living laboratory” for future professionals in the hospitality business, reads the “Finest Hotels” book.

“Students leave here and work in some of the finest hotels in America,” said Barnard.

The Atherton has 27 room designs. While the size and structure may differ, all rooms are painted similarly with custom cabinets, Internet access, a 27-inch or larger television with a DVD player and a full bathroom.

“It’s in a great location,” said Barnard. “People love to come here to be around the students. We are the only upscale property in Stillwater.”

Though the hotel has already been through many renovations, more are scheduled within the 20-year master plan of OSU.

“It could certainly use an expansion at some time,” Barnard said. “But, we are concentrating right now on being the best with what we have.”

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