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Conceptual rendering of Larry & Kay’s Dairy Bar

Dairy Bar set to open in fall 2024 in New Frontiers Agricultural Hall

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Associate Director of Media Relations | 405-744-5540 |

For decades, the Dairy Bar was a place for Oklahoma State University students to eat, socialize and spend time between classes. Housed in the old Dairy Building, which was built in 1928, students would frequent the campus eatery for a variety of foods and dairy products, including cinnamon rolls, ice cream and ice-cold milk.

A delicious grilled cheese sandwich will be a staple on the Larry & Kay’s Dairy Bar menu.
A delicious grilled cheese sandwich will be a staple on the Larry & Kay’s Dairy Bar menu.

The Dairy Building was demolished in 2006 to create space for the Henry Bellmon Research Center, but the OSU family will soon experience Larry & Kay’s Dairy Bar on the ground level of the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall that opens next fall.

“During the early planning stages of the building, it became clear to us that we had an opportunity to bring back the student-favorite Dairy Bar for future generations of Cowboys to enjoy,” said Dr. Randy Raper, assistant vice president of facilities for OSU Agriculture.

The re-envisioned Dairy Bar is named after New Frontiers Cornerstone Donors Larry and Kayleen Ferguson. They made the lead gift that launched the $50 million campaign to build a state-of-the-art facility for OSU Agriculture and rebranded the Ferguson College of Agriculture.

The Fergusons met as OSU students in the mid-1970s and have revitalized the dairy program and facilities through their generosity, inspiring others to invest in OSU Agriculture’s future with a vision to feed the world.

Motivated by their faith, belief in education and love for the OSU family, the couple has given to numerous causes, including schools, churches, Christian organizations, United Way, Make-a-Wish Foundation and others through the Ferguson Family Foundation.

For many alumni, memories of campus are anchored to the Dairy Bar.

The Dairy Bar was a popular place for students to socialize until it was razed in 2006. Alumni fondly remember favorite menu items including ice cream and cold milk.
The Dairy Bar was a popular place for students to socialize until it was razed in 2006. Alumni fondly remember favorite menu items including ice cream and cold milk.

Barry and Dana Bessinger, New Frontiers major gift donors, attended OSU in the mid-1970s and visited the Dairy Bar regularly while on campus. They remember getting a small paper cup of fresh milk for a nickel and a doughnut or ice cream bar for a dime.

“I hope the new Dairy Bar brings some nostalgia to current students and creates memories that connect them to the Ferguson College of Agriculture forever,” Dana Bessinger said. “I’m looking forward to taking all my grandsons to the Dairy Bar for a sweet treat.”

Dr. Damona Doye, associate vice president of OSU Extension and regents professor in OSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics, visited the Dairy Bar while she was in graduate school in the early 1980s.

“I have fond memories from going over fairly regularly with grad school colleagues to get a container of cottage cheese and some crackers for lunch that we ate while we were racing to see who could finish the crossword in the ‘O’Colly’ the fastest,” she said.

Doye is looking forward to the prospect of a nice eating space that will enhance opportunities for informal collaboration among students, faculty and staff.

The reimagined venue will provide an environment to build relationships and bring back a tradition that has been missing for 18 years.

“We want to bring back some of the history that made the Dairy Bar so special,” Raper said. “The popular eatery was iconic with its white walls decorated with black spots resembling those of a dairy cow. You’ll find similar features in Larry & Kay’s Dairy Bar.”

The space will include a Dairy Bar seating area, which is an available naming opportunity.

Managed by University Dining Services, Larry & Kay’s Dairy Bar will feature a variety of menu items like grilled cheese sandwiches, frozen custard, baked goods, grab-and-go items, and coffee and beverages.

“University Dining Services is always happy to support campus diners in any way, so providing another dining option with a historical flair is a great opportunity to do that,” said Vedda Hsu, director of University Dining Services. “This will also help reduce foot traffic to other nearby dining concepts and provide students within the Ferguson College of Agriculture an in-house dining option.”

Although the new Dairy Bar will be a place to eat, study and socialize, the space will also encourage curriculum development.

Dr. Roy Escoubas, director of OSU’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center, said the center would be an ideal place to investigate different formulations and flavors through product development to include on the Dairy Bar’s menu. The potential collaboration could involve small start-up businesses in Oklahoma.

“This work could be engaged within the teaching program — for example, the dairy products processing class,” he said. “It could teach students how to make commercial custards and other dairy products. It’s an opportunity to expand not only food science at Oklahoma State University but also what FAPC does.”

Escoubas said many alumni remember the blue cheese spread available at the old Dairy Bar.

“That blue cheese spread was developed at FAPC, made by the Food Science Club and sold at the Dairy Bar when they made it,” he said. “There’s an opportunity for FAPC to provide some kind of signature item, such as snack sticks, to the Dairy Bar and bring back the application side of food science.”

Photos by: Todd Johnson

Story by: Mandy Gross | STATE Magazine

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