OC welcomes Nicholas Sparks for McBride Lecture

Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks will be the featured speaker at the McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) Nov. 21.

Sparks will speak in Hardeman Auditorium, then sign his new book, “The Longest Ride.” The lecture is free and open to the public. Entry to the book signing is $50, which includes the cost of the book. Pre-registration for the book signing is available at oc.edu/sparks.

“It is impossible to read ‘Three Weeks with My Brother’ or ‘The Best of Me’ without seeing Christian faith as a key theme in the narratives Sparks makes so famous,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott LaMascus said. “How can Nicholas Sparks’ life and stories inspire students to find their own transformations and callings who will influence U.S. culture? That is the kind of question OC students can take into this year’s McBride Lecture.”

Past McBride speakers include winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Bellwether Prize for social justice, as well as those who serve on the juries of major prizes, including the Nobel Prize.

Many OC students are looking forward to this year’s visit from Sparks, an author whose 18 books have all been New York Times bestsellers.

OC senior Jessica Williams took on the role of Undergraduate Fellow for the McBride Center for Public Humanities, helping organize the event and lead several initiatives, including discussion groups for students.

“The impetus for bringing in a new speaker each fall is to challenge students in terms of what they believe about their own faith, and how this informs their views of the world around them,” Williams said. “Incorporating the humanities into this focus on faith calls for a wide variety of artists, thinkers and writers who identify as Christian to offer their own perspectives on how their faith informs their respective works.

The mission of the McBride Center is to engage and inspire students, faculty and the community in outstanding programs that explore the interrelatedness of Christian faith and literature.

Other event sponsors include the National Endowment for the Humanities, Best of Books at Kickingbird Square, the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Inasmuch Foundation, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, and the Conference on Christianity and Literature.

“It’s incredibly important for students to consider the impact of popular fiction on academia, on their religious life and on a more socially-based level of thought,” Williams said. “I believe we’ve been presented with an opportunity to incorporate all of those issues into a productive discourse.”

The McBride Center for Public Humanities and the McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature are named for Bailey and Joyce McBride. Bailey McBride, a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, spent almost 50 years at Oklahoma Christian as a student, administrator and faculty member before retiring this year.

Oklahoma Christian, ranked as one of the best universities in the western region of the United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, 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.