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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Tointigh Places Bench for Class of 2024

As part of his Senior Legacy Project, Tointigh honored OCW and his graduating class
Gary Jackson
Senior Paul Tointigh sits on an OCW bench from 1924 and excitedly awaits for his 2024 bench to be placed nearby.

When it comes to graduating from USAO’s Communication Department, one of the final requirements for all students is to undergo the senior project class. The course looks at the master resumes of its students and ensures they are ready for graduation, but it also requires them to host a special event of their choosing. Senior Paul Tointigh found himself in this position this trimester and dedicated his time toward a project that would outlast himself and stay as a monument for years to come.  

Tointigh’s Senior Legacy Project produced a bench for the USAO Class of 2024 and as a nod to the bench left in name to the Oklahoma College for Women (OCW) in 1924. The OCW bench resides outside of Willard Hall, on the side closest to the President’s Home, and the 2024 bench will be placed alongside it. 

Although Tointigh was at USAO for just two years, he knew he wanted to create a project that left his mark on the university and hopes to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.  

“This project was both a nod to OCW, as their senior class was required to do a senior project every year and that was something I really want to bring back. Hopefully each and every class after this will contribute to the university in such a way that it leaves an impression and beautifies this campus,” Tointigh said.  

The other nod in this scenario is to bring attention to Willard Hall, as it is unoccupied due to health hazards and disrepair. Tointigh said he believes placing the bench next to Willard Hall will bring more people to that part of USAO’s campus, and hopes people will use the bench to sit, relax, and enjoy the view.  

The original idea for the Senior Legacy Project arose from Tointigh working on an article for The Trend where he was researching the history of Willard Hall. While he was investigating the ins and outs of Willard Hall with President Kayla Hale, he stumbled upon the OCW bench from 1924. As Dr. Hale told Tointigh the historical significance of the OCW bench, he captured the idea of creating a bench for the class of 2024, signifying 100 years since the creation of the OCW bench.  

Dr. J.C. Casey, professor of communication, played a pivotal role in the Senior Legacy Project, as she oversees the class for Tointigh. Dr. Casey talked about how much she liked this idea for this project and stated this was one of the best ideas she had ever seen. Despite this, she had some critiques on how the process of the project has gone.  

“I don’t know how successful it will be since he left himself in such a tight window to get his senior class to buy into this project,” Dr. Casey stated.  

Along with the pressure of time, she was concerned about other individuals overstepping his project to make it appeal to their vision. This was an issue that was evident to Tointigh in the initial process of beginning this project, as members of the faculty had different ideas for how the new bench would look.  

Tointigh stated that this was one of the biggest lessons he had learned during the project. He also talked about how the senior project required him to use all the skills he had learned during his communication classes at USAO, how to appreciate the campus of USAO, and how well the community of Chickasha and the university respect one another.  

One of the other key contributors to Tointigh’s project was the Executive Director of the USAO Foundation JP Audas. He specifically helped Tointigh with the funding of the Senior Legacy Project through the USAO Foundation. Audas said he thought this was a great idea of a project and believes it is rewarding for both the university and those who participated in the creation of the project.  

“The idea is that in 15, 20, or 30 years from now, you can come back and see your project. And you could bring your son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter to look back at your time at the university in a tangible way,” Audas said.  

Audas also talked about how significant the project was, as it is a way for the class of 2024 to celebrate their graduation. He believes it demonstrates how their college journey isn’t just for four years, but rather a journey of a lifetime and hopes people will see it as a way to stay connected to USAO forever. 

Audas concluded by stating that there could be more projects in the future that are like this. In the case that a student follows the same path as Tointigh for their senior project, Audas offered the advice of starting earlier in the planning process and to have more students contributing toward it.  

A ceremony will be held for the showcasing of the Senior Legacy Project Monday, Apr. 22 at 11:30 a.m. and will take place between Willard Hall and the President’s House. Following the ceremony, Tointigh has coordinated with Dr. Hale to have Pizza on the Patio at noon. This event provides free pizza to students, faculty, and staff. 


Gary Jackson is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Gary Jackson
Gary Jackson, Managing Editor
Gary is a fourth-year communication major from Kingston. He works as a resident assistant (RA). Gary began writing for The Trend in January 2022, and has interned with the Madill Record and Marietta Monitor newspapers. When Gary isn’t attending class and working, you can watch him making the game-winning catch at the ultimate frisbee game, hanging out with friends, or visiting with his family. Experience with The Trend: Managing Editor: May 2024 - present Sports Editor: Nov. 2023 - Apr. 2024 Senior Writer: Dec. 2022 - Nov. 2023 Contributing Writer: Jan. 2022 - Dec. 2022