My recent visit to Tulsa was not entirely about sightseeing. I was actually going to see my little sister graduate from college. I was extremely excited to see her graduate and also excited to see the Donald W. Reynolds Center. When I was younger, I went to the old basketball stadium to see the University of Tulsa basketball games with my family. Funny story, that is actually how I found out I needed glasses. While watching a basketball game with my family, my mother asked me what the score was to see if I was paying attention. I told her I didn't know. She pointed to the scoreboard asked, "Can't you read that?" After squinting for a little while, I gave it a guess. That week, I got my first pair of glasses.
The Reynolds Center, named for prominent American businessman and philanthropist Donald W. Reynolds, was opened in December 1998. It was created by the Capital Campaign, spearheaded by Bob and Roxanna Lorton. Bob Lorton is a well-known Tulsan, as the Chairman and CEO of World Publishing Co., which publishes the local newspaper the Tulsa World.
The 138,000-square foot, $28 million multi-use facility includes an 8,355-seat arena, easily large enough to fit the whole year's graduating class and accommodate a stellar basketball team. (Fun Fact: Bill Self, the famed KU basketball coach, spent part of his early career at the University of Tulsa. He spent three seasons there, from 1998 to 2000, and compiled a Tulsa-best 74–27 record with two NCAA appearances.)
The facility is designed to both showcase the sports teams but also help them develop. The Reynolds Center houses the states only accredited academic program for athletic training and sports medicine. There are also facilities for state of the art film editing, to make sure game play backs are the best they can possibly be. And it is not just a home for the basketball team. It is also a prominent Tulsa event center. Since its opening, it has hosted concert performances by such famed acts as Reba McIntyre.
Total Time Traveled: 9 hours
Total Distance Traveled: 522 milesSoundtrack: "Cue the Theme Music" Playlist