People in Stillwater have always known Oklahoma State University’s campus was stunning. For generations its classically beautiful buildings, lawns and gardens have made the campus local residents’ first choice as a setting for special events and a backdrop for special occasion photos.

Now it seems word is getting out.

OSU has been named to Southern Living magazine’s list of the South’s Most Beautiful Colleges.

“A Big 12 campus noted for its beauty, Oklahoma State University (OSU) features calming Theta Pond along with charming Neo-Georgian architecture that gives this campus a cohesive, collegiate look. The university’s redbrick buildings work with brick-lined walkways, courtyards, and open spaces to create symmetry and relaxing outdoor rooms. Landmark structures include Old Central and the Edmon Low Library.”

It joins familiar names like the University of Virginia, Georgetown, Duke, the University of Alabama, Ole Miss and Tulane in being recognized for the architecture and beauty of its main campus.

Less familiar names like Flager University with its ornate Spanish Renaissance-style architecture and Florida South College with its innovative Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings also made the list.

Dr. Charles Leider describes the plans that guided development of OSU’s Stillwater campus in his book “Oklahoma State University.”

The professor and director emeritus of OSU’s landscape architecture program told the News Press in April that he believes design makes a difference in how well a campus works.

“Beautiful spaces are good for mental and physical health. They’re stimulating,” he said. “... But a plan also makes the university functional... It makes it more efficient.”

Leider cited the university’s classical, cross-shaped design that established the Edmon Low Library as the physical and symbolic heart of the campus as one of the things that makes OSU feel special.

A 25-year plan implemented by former OSU President Henry Bennett molded the central portion of the campus in a consistent Neo-Georgian style. Continued use of the university’s characteristic terra-cotta brick and limestone trim in new construction ensures newer buildings relate to the older, more classically-designed buildings.

“I think it makes it one of the most beautiful campuses in the country,” Leider said.

To see the entire list go to

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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