The class of 1897 won distinction for not only being the smallest class ever to graduate from the college (three), but also because Jessie O. Thatcher became the first woman to graduate from the institution.
Though tuition was free and books cheap, most students worked to pay room and board expenses, including Thatcher, who said she was pleased to have the opportunity: "I consider my education well earned. I think I was, and am, happier than if I had sailed through 'on flowery beds of ease.' I regarded all work honorable if honorably done. A thing worth doing is worth doing well. I was honored and respected by all. I was never excluded from the best company because I had to work."
Joining Thatcher in this photo are fellow graduates George W. Bowers (left) and Andrew N. Caudell (right).
Oklahoma A&M College's alumni association held its first meeting on June 8, 1897, with all six members of the first graduating class present. Some members of the earliest classes returned (see photo) for the 1958 graduation to receive diplomas bearing the school’s new name Oklahoma State University, including (left to right) Alfred E. Jarrell (1896), Jessie Thatcher Boss (1897), Emma Swope Dolde and Blanche Wise Diggs (1898).