OC celebrates Thrive success 9,307 donors push OC past $30M campaign goal

Jun 05, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Time flies when you’re raising funds.

In June 2014, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) launched a fast, transparent campaign called Thrive. The goal was to raise $30 million in three years for projects that would enhance OC students’ college experience now and in the very near future.

More than 9,300 donors helped OC meet the goal ahead of schedule, and the three-year campaign ended last week with $33,940,222 raised or pledged, and 15 major projects already complete.

“We’re thrilled so many people embraced the idea of making quick, tangible things happen for our students,” President John deSteiguer said. “Thrive was the perfect way to do a lot of important things that touched a lot of areas on campus. We’re happy students reaped the benefits in real time, and the campaign’s success was made even more special because students chose some of Thrive’s biggest priorities.”

A unique $275,000 “Students Pick” initiative gave early momentum to Thrive’s biggest ticket item – a $6.4 million campus dining upgrade. Construction on the project’s centerpiece, a new campus cafe, will begin this next academic year, thanks in large part to a $1 million donation by food service provider U Dining and additional support from multiple foundations and individual donors.

In the meantime, Thrive paved the way for an Alfredo’s Express and a Chick-fil-A Express to open in OC’s Gaylord University Center during the just-completed academic year. The other key piece of the campus dining initiative is The Brew, which recently opened as one of the Oklahoma City metro’s largest and most picturesque coffee shops.

Funding topped seven figures for both the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Natural and Health Sciences, highlighted by a $1 million gift from Benton and Paula Baugh.

“Thrive had something for everyone. It energized people who could give in all shapes and sizes,” Vice President for Advancement Kent Allen said. “From new alumni who gave back to OC with their first paychecks, to friends of OC who donated in the hundreds of thousands and beyond, everyone had projects they were passionate about. And all of their gifts, both big and small, made a huge difference.”

Brick-and-mortar projects included: renovation of Das Millicanhaus, OC’s study abroad home in Vienna, Austria; improvements to the newly-named Cail Auditorium in OC’s Davisson American Heritage Building; a state-of-the-art Advanced Visualization Lab for OC’s nationally-recognized gaming and animation program, and enhancements to on-campus student apartments.

Thrive also funded OC’s Ethos initiative, which helped students plug into more spiritual formation opportunities, new digital projection systems in Hardeman Auditorium and Judd Theatre, and a campus-wide overhaul of fitness equipment.

Donors also helped Oklahoma Christian meet goals for general scholarship funds, a strategic planning fund, and a special unrestricted match initiative. In total, the 9,307 donors gave and pledged toward more than 250 projects through Thrive.

“Thrive was designed to be nimble and responsive to the needs of our university and community,” Director of Advancement Operations Will Blanchard said. “We were intentionally transparent, which wasn’t always easy as costs and needs changed, but that really resonated with people. They went on this journey with us and gave us the juice to cross the finish line. And even as we celebrate this milestone, we’re committed to tackling the unfinished projects on our Thrive menu with the same level of transparency moving forward.”

More information is available at www.oc.edu/thrive.