OSU geography professor Robert Fite developed an experimental mobile chemistry project in 1957 to find out if the university could help address the problem of students, many from small rural high schools, who came to college with little or no education in science.
A station wagon was outfitted with chemistry lab equipment and supplies, and teacher Claude Gatewood (classroom photo) was hired to drive the vehicle to 20 small high schools in Carter County, visiting each school for half a day every two weeks.
The outreach effort immediately drew media attention and state funding from the Frontiers in Science Foundation of Oklahoma to try to take the project to as many schools in the state as possible in 1958-59. The next year, the National Science Council provided funding to purchase and equip more than 20 vehicles in an attempt to cover a four state area.
School consolidation in Oklahoma eventually diminished the need for the program, but not before it left an impression about the importance of science in education.