In February 2017, the University of Central Oklahoma received a generous donation of 20 pieces of art from Edmond residents Bob and Kathy Thomas. As the gift happened to coincide with the completion of Old North's renovations, the artwork was mounted and included as part of the building's re-opening celebration. Honored to be a part of such a momentous occasion on the UCO campus, the Thomas's said, "When we heard that Old North was ready to reopen and they planned galleries in various parts of this historic structure, we decided that was the perfect place to house some of our pieces especially works by Oklahoma artists or with an Oklahoma connection. The Thomas family is proud to be a part of the Broncho family. Over forty family members have graduated or attended this place of higher education starting with the Normal School, Central State, C.S.U. and The University of Central Oklahoma. It is this family's honor to be a part of the revitalization of Old North."
When asked about when they started collecting art, the Thomas's answer is always, "We never did START collecting, rather we just discovered one day we had a collection. In 1978, we visited Ruidoso, New Mexico and immediately fell in love with the town, the mountains and THE ART!" While Bob tends to prefer landscapes, Kathy likes artwork with figures and faces. Most of the collection's works are produced by Oklahoma artists with themes focused on the Contemporary Southwest, Native American, and American West genres. The Bob & Kathy Thomas Collection's strong regional focus is especially important for the study of art in Oklahoma and the South, Midwest, and Southwest. The varied collection enriches the UCO's academic curriculum by providing valuable resources for research and art exhibition.
The University of Central Oklahoma recognizes the university's main campus is located on the traditional lands of the Caddo and Wichita people.
Visit the UCO Land Acknowledgement website to learn more.