OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – For the second year in a row, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) is the beneficiary of a seven-figure gift from a special couple in Houston, Texas.
This week, OC announced a $1 million gift from Benton and Paula Baugh to serve as startup capital for the university’s newly reorganized College of Engineering and Computer Science.
“Our society desperately needs talented, Christian engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists as leaders for tomorrow,” said Dr. Byron Newberry, formerly the chair of OC’s Graduate School of Engineering who now serves as dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The generosity of the Baugh family will help grow OC’s influence in these fields. Their gift will help us continue to mentor students to see their talents as more than simply a means to a career, but as tools to serve others, much like Benton has done in his life.”
Benton is an energy engineer and inventor with 50 years of experience in oilfield and sub-sea systems. He holds more than 100 patents and founded Radoil, Inc. He has previously worked with Newberry, donating patents to OC’s ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in computer, electrical and mechanical engineering so faculty and students could develop new solutions to practical problems.
“We are incredibly honored by Benton and Paula’s generous hearts for our students and their strong belief in OC’s mission,” President John deSteiguer said. “Their investment is an exciting challenge for us to pursue an even higher level of excellence in our engineering and computer science programs.”
Though the Baughs did not attend Oklahoma Christian, they have fallen in love with the university through an OC trustee who serves as their minister at Memorial Church of Christ in Houston. David Duncan and his wife Barbara are 1989 OC alumni, and their passion for the university rubbed off on the Baughs.
“Ever since they learned about OC through the Duncans, Benton and Paula have been fascinated with this Christian university and its thriving engineering programs,” Vice President for Advancement Kent Allen said. “They were very impressed with Byron’s leadership, and Benton has even said that if he were starting his career again, he would choose OC. This gift truly speaks to their generous hearts.”
The Baughs’ gift is one of the most significant donations announced thus far for OC’s Thrive campaign, which launched in June. The $30 million campaign is helping fund 30 high-impact, student-focused projects over the next three years.
Oklahoma Christian offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in engineering, accountancy, business administration, ministry, divinity, and theological studies.
The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest total enrollments ever, including a record 2,424 students in 2013-14. Another record enrollment is expected for the 2014-15 academic year, which begins next Monday.