East Central University opened in 1909 as East Central Normal State School, a teacher training college in Ada, Oklahoma.
Over 70 degree programmes are offered at East Central University. The institution is organised into the College of Education and Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Heath & Sciences, School of Business, School of Fine Arts and the School of Graduate Studies.
East Central University is one of very few places where it is still possible to study cartography, the art of map making.
The university offers distance learning through either televised lectures or online courses. As well as studying at the main campus in Ada, students can attend at branch campuses in Ardmore at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma or in McAlester at the Eastern Oklahoma State College.
Freshmen can get to know the university and fellow students by participating in the yearly Tiger Streak. Games, room decorating, music and a block party all take place on campus during the weekend before classes start.
Several East Central University graduates have gone on to be prominent sports professionals or politicians. Some of the most famous include New York Jets footballer Mark Gastineau and baseball hall-of-famers Lloyd and Paul Waner. Five alumni have become governors, including two governors of the Chickasaw Nation, which has its headquarters in Ada.
The Ada campus has facilities for student recreation and socialising which include a gym, ping pong tables and video games. Nearby Wintersmith Park offers the opportunity for walking, biking and fishing in the central lake.