Rationale for The Oka’ Institute

East Central University and The City of Ada make an ideal location for The Oka’ Institute. The City of Ada is the nucleus of multiple well-known water resources such as EPA’s Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center, which is nationally recognized for their expertise on groundwater resource research, and the Chickasaw Nation, which is recognized as a leader in water resource management. In addition, the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer is one of the most studied groundwater resource in the state.

All these resources convene to make compelling reasons why the Oka’ Institute at ECU is the perfect spot for a water institute. Add to these resources the fact that ECU has recently established a new Master of Science degree in Water Resource Policy and Management and you have a dynamic opportunity for sound water policy driven by research and data that ensure water sustainability.


Development for the creation of The Oka’ Institute began in the summer of 2015 with the official opening in July of 2016. The Sciences and Natural Resources Foundation provided seed funding for the Institute, followed by generous support from the Chickasaw Nation, the Ada Jobs Foundation and the City of Ada.  Another partner who provides technical advice and assistance is the EPA’s Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center. Many other organizations and entities also provide support through their representative on the Oka’ Institute’s Advisory Council