Mabee Foundation issues $1M challenge grant for dining facilities

Mabee Foundation issues $1M challenge grant for dining facilities

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Mabee Foundation has issued a $1 million challenge grant toward two student-centric projects at Oklahoma Christian University (OC).

A new campus café and new coffee shop are two of the big-ticket menu items in OC’s Thrive campaign. If donors give $4,647,209 toward those projects by January 22, 2016, the Mabee Foundation will kick in the final $1 million to help bring those two new student spaces to life.

“Many of Oklahoma Christian’s most important academic and student-centric facilities have been generously funded by the Mabee Foundation, including our library, chemistry labs, and communications studios,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “Mabee’s significant impact on the OC campus continues with this meaningful investment in our student dining facilities.”

To date, donors have given almost $3.3 million toward the campus café, good for 77 percent of the Thrive funding needed. Included in that total is $1 million from food service provider U Dining and $275,000 allocated by OC’s student body, which chose which Thrive project that six-figure anonymous gift would support.

The coffee shop will cost $551,000. With another $850,000 projected for maintenance endowment, the cost of the two projects totals about $5.6 million.

Working with Glover Smith Bode and CMS Willowbrook, Oklahoma Christian has identified the northwest corner of the Gaylord University Center as the location for the new campus café. The 15,872-square-foot facility will feature modern food stations and diverse seating options for students in a scenic, open space that looks out on Lawson Commons, the McGraw Pavilion and the Freede Centennial Tower.

The project will allow Oklahoma Christian to preserve its existing banquet hall, which hosts special events for the university and the surrounding community throughout the year.

The new coffee shop will be located in the second floor atrium of the Mabee Learning Center and Beam Library. It will feature a relaxing gathering area combined with collaborative study rooms.

“We are thrilled and honored that the Mabee Foundation has blessed OC with this $1 million challenge grant,” said Kent Allen, vice president for advancement. “Over the years, the Mabee Foundation has been an important partner in furthering OC’s desire to provide quality facilities for our students, faculty and staff.”

Eight initiatives have been fully funded since Oklahoma Christian launched the Thrive campaign in June. A $1 million commitment by Benton and Paula Baugh of Houston, Texas, provided the startup capital for OC’s reorganized College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Funding also is complete for: Das Millicanhaus, OC’s living-learning facility in Vienna, Austria; the renovation of Cail Auditorium in OC’s Davisson American Heritage Building; high-definition projection systems in Hardeman Auditorium and Judd Theatre; an overhaul of fitness equipment throughout the campus; renovation of select apartment suites; the 2014-15 general scholarship fund; and a strategic planning fund.

In addition, an anonymous $2 million gift is helping fund multiple Thrive projects, including the launch of OC’s Ethos spiritual life initiative. More information about donating toward Thrive initiatives is available at

Recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, Oklahoma Christian set a school record this year with 2,479 students enrolled. Overall, the last decade has featured OC’s 10 highest enrollments ever.

The university offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.