News RSS Feed Edmond lucky to have OC and UCO By Patrice Douglas
Courtesy of Edmond Life & Leisure

Putting politics aside for a week, I am focused on back-to-school activities.

This is the Douglas family’s last year in Edmond Public Schools; my youngest son is a senior. We are looking at colleges now.

Edmond has two great universities, and I could easily aim this column at their academic accomplishments. But instead, I want to focus on their “personalities.” Edmond-ites sometimes forget how blessed we are to have these schools in our community.

At my alma mater, Oklahoma Christian University, President John deSteiguer is at the helm. He, along with his wife Darla, have students in their home to welcome them into the OC family.

Their motto? “OC is Home.” They treat the students like family. My oldest son attended there his freshman year, and President deSteiguer still keeps in contact with him, checking on him from time to time. Recently, after texting back and forth with President deSteiguer, my oldest son said “John deSteiguer is a great man.” It is this caring attention that separates OC from other universities.

Aside from the education - which is top-notch - 2,400 blessed students get the chance to be part of a family. OC alums are all over Edmond - many stay right here after graduation - and these alums work to make students feel at home in the new community.

My favorite story about my OC days exemplifies this attitude. As a freshman, my Bible teacher was Raymond Kelcy, a longtime Oklahoma minister and a devoted Christian. After my Bible final, as I headed home for Christmas break, my dorm room phone rang (no cell phones way back then) and it was Dr. Kelcy. He said, “Patrice, did you take my final?” Puzzled, I answered “Yes, Sir.” He explained he did not have a final with my name on it, but had one final with no name.

He was checking with students to see who took the final, and who missed. He believed me, and I was so relieved - because as a stupid freshman, I had forgotten to put my name on the final exam. As we hung up, I said, “Merry Christmas, and by the way, what was the grade on that nameless final?”

I tell this story not to leave you wondering whether I passed Freshman Bible, but to let you know this same attitude of caring continues today. It starts at the top, with the leadership of President John deSteiguer.

The University of Central Oklahoma, an innovator in the academic world, is also student-focused university in the heart of Edmond. Contrary to common sense, not all universities are focused on students. Some focus on research, some focus on reputation, but not all focus on students. Recently, under the leadership of President Don Betz, the university announced a joint degree with a law school to allow students to get a joint Masters in Public Administration and Juris Doctorate. Students have been clamoring for this program for years, and UCO is stepping up to the plate.

A few years ago, UCO came to the table because of an academic need for talented musicians. UCO leadership believed that students talented in music needed also an education in business - so their talent could actually be a business for them. From this the Academy of Contemporary Music was formed, giving students an opportunity to learn the finance, business operations and ancillary skills needed to have a career in music.

Parents, as you help your sons and daughters look at colleges, remember to look at the personality of the school. Here in Edmond, we have two distinct universities with outstanding personalities, both focused on students.

And by the way, I made an A in Freshman Bible.

(Patrice Douglas, a 1983 Oklahoma Christian graduate, is a former Oklahoma?Corporation Commissioner and former Edmond Mayor)

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Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:30:00 CDT d04cf1e4-bf08-4d8f-81f6-d67665c5b5d5
Oklahoma Christian earns Princeton Review 'Best College' honors OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) remains one of the best colleges in Oklahoma and the western United States according to The Princeton Review.

Oklahoma Christian was one of just 125 schools recognized in the 15-state western region, which also includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The Princeton Review honored just six other in-state schools: the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City University, Oral Roberts University, and the University of Tulsa. In addition to this distinction of academic excellence, OC ranks as Oklahoma’s most affordable private university on The Princeton Review list.

“I am blessed to see the impact OC students, faculty, staff and alumni make on a daily basis,” President John deSteiguer said. “From the energy sector to seats of government, from hospitals to our public schools, from Tinker Air Force Base to business, creative, science, tech and ministry pursuits of all kinds, OC graduates have a rare mix of smarts and heart that employers and communities covet.”

Schools recognized in The Princeton Review’s “2016 Best Colleges: Region by Region” are determined through institutional data, campus visits, college counselor recommendations, and independent student surveys.

Students praised OC’s “kind, accessible, amazing professors,” diverse student community, an Oklahoma City metro location that provides easy access to big-city entertainment and job opportunities, and the student body’s unifying “faith in God and the belief that his son died on the cross for our sins.”

This honor comes a year after The Princeton Review ranked Oklahoma Christian as the No. 14 undergraduate school in the U.S. and Canada to study video game design. OC also is recognized as a “Best University – Master’s” in U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”

Oklahoma Christian University offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, ministry, and divinity.

The last decade has featured the 10 largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,479 students in 2014-15.


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Wed, 19 Aug 2015 16:30:00 CDT a0dfc7a3-4bc0-46ea-b188-ea3d175c5b04
First RN to BSN grads to receive degrees from OC OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will present 98 graduate degrees and four undergraduate degrees at its summer commencement ceremony on Aug. 14. The ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium.

The undergraduate candidates come from OC’s School of Education and School of Nursing, including the first graduates from the university’s RN to BSN degree completion program.

The 98 master’s candidates will receive degrees in 15 different areas of study through OC’s Graduate School of Business, Graduate School of Engineering and Computer Science, and Graduate School of Theology.

The 62 recipients of OC’s master of business administration degree pursued one of nine tracks: accounting, finance, general business, health services management, human resources, human resources management, leadership and organizational development, marketing, and project management.

The 27 recipients of OC’s master of science in engineering degree pursued one of four tracks: electrical and computer engineering, engineering management, general engineering, and mechanical engineering. The other graduate candidates will receive a master of accountancy degree or master of divinity degree.

Overall, the degree candidates come from a combined nine states and nine countries.

Dr. Burt Smith, an OC professor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, will deliver the commencement address.

Smith is a respected marketing professional in the Oklahoma City metro. He owns EMI Research Solutions and has served clients such as Cox Communications, OG&E, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Subway, and the Oklahoma City Zoo.

His many honors include OC’s 2009 Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching award, the Journal Record’s Centennial Class of Achievers Under 40, and Business OKC’s 40 Under 40.

He is one of less than 1,600 professionals worldwide to hold the Sales and Marketing Executive International’s Certified Marketing Executive designation. The lifetime achievement award for the Oklahoma City chapter of the American Marketing Association is named in his honor.

Smith has raised more than $1.3 million as an auctioneer for charities across Oklahoma and Texas. He regularly blogs at and authored the book, “The Great Game of Networking.”

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western 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.

The last decade has featured the 10 largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 502 graduate students and 2,479 total students in the most recent academic year.


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Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:00:00 CDT 918c5ece-f508-4abc-858c-70f6bce38c3a
Coale to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Sherri Coale is known throughout women's college basketball circles as an energetic, successful coach, one who turned the University of Oklahoma's program from laughingstock to elite in just a few years and has kept the Sooners at that high level throughout her tenure.

Folks at Oklahoma Christian saw that drive and commitment to succeed early on, when Coale was a student and basketball player for the Lady Eagles from 1983 to 1987. They have reason to celebrate her accomplishments again, as she will be one of six people to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Click here to read the full story about Coale's Hall of Fame honor on

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Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:00:00 CDT 0eb06fc0-19bf-4459-aa4e-5d3f0a8035f2
Oklahoma Christian names Simmons as business dean OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – An Oklahoma Christian University graduate and international business expert is the new dean of OC’s College of Business Administration.

Jeff Simmons, a professor of business who sponsors OC’s nationally competitive ethics team, moves into the role after serving as the college’s interim dean last year.

“I am humbled to take over a position that has been held by three great people before me. They built an incredible foundation,” Simmons said. “I am excited because of our outstanding faculty, talented students, amazing alumni and our many partners in the business community.”

Simmons earned OC’s campus-wide Faculty Leadership Award last year. Scott LaMascus, OC’s vice president for academic affairs, said Simmons’ global perspective makes him an excellent choice to lead the College of Business Administration.

“Jeff is an award-winning faculty member who has focused on helping all his students grow into business leaders of integrity and excellence,” LaMascus said. “As interim dean, he quickly began working with faculty, reconnecting with the state’s business leaders, and shaping a fresh vision for the college to boldly tie its work to the needs of national business leaders and to the university’s mission. He has the heart of a servant and the perspective of a global business leader.”

A 1990 OC graduate with a marketing degree, Simmons completed a master’s degree in international business training at the prestigious Thunderbird School of Global Management and earned his doctorate in marketing from Nova Southeastern University.

He served as dean of the College of Business Administration and Professional Studies at Rochester College in the Detroit area and taught at International Christian University in Vienna, Austria, before returning to his alma mater in 2008.

Before moving into higher education, Simmons was employed at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the International Trade Administration and also worked in automobile marketing, sales and retail management. He recently served as a consultant to a firm in the Shandong Province of China.

“One of my strengths is international business, and it is my desire is to continue working with the state’s business community to build international connections,” Simmons said.

Simmons helped Oklahoma Christian launch its popular international business degree in 2009. In addition, he has been involved in the university’s master of business administration program – the second-largest MBA program in the state of Oklahoma – and OC’s Rwandan cohort.

“Our Rwandan graduate students continue to experience exciting growth, and we are proud to help contribute to their nation’s economic future,” Simmons said.

In addition to Simmons’ professional experiences, his leadership in the classroom has made a positive impression on students and staff alike.

“Jeff has helped students have high quality experiences at OC through his mentoring of our business ethics teams,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “In the past three years, Jeff’s teams have won three state titles and placed fifth in the nation. The future of the College of Business Administration is bright with Jeff serving as dean.”

In his free time, Simmons enjoys spending time with his wife, Pattie, and his son, Jordan, as well as golfing, swimming, playing basketball and reading from several genres of literature. Pattie is a 1991 Oklahoma Christian graduate who is an executive assistant in OC’s finance department.

Past deans of OC’s College of Business Administration are Howard Leftwich, a longtime leader in accounting in Oklahoma; Jack Skaggs, who also served as OC’s ethics ombudsman after retiring from teaching; and Phil Lewis, a national leader in the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and author of “From Boardroom to Whiteboard: A New Generation of Leadership.”

David Seat, an Oklahoma Christian alumnus and executive vice president for Oklahoma City-based BancFirst, praised the choice of Simmons as OC’s new business dean.

“Dr. Jeff Simmons is an intellectually gifted man with a deep understanding of preparing students to thrive in the business world along with developing their personal value perspectives,” Seat said. “He will lead Oklahoma Christian’s College of Business Administration to even greater levels of student preparation and accomplishments.”

OC’s College of Business Administration offers undergraduate degrees in accounting, finance, general business, international business, management and marketing, plus master’s degrees in accountancy and business administration. The MBA offers specialty tracks in accounting, finance, health services management, human resources, international business, leadership and organizational development, marketing, and project management. The college is fully accredited through the ACBSP.

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


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Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:45:00 CDT 63ad1395-10ce-478e-b875-2bca87617a07
Honors Summer Academy welcomes 120 students With 120 ambitious high school students from 17 states and Rwanda, Oklahoma Christian University is hosting its largest Honors Summer Academy yet. Sessions run this week and the next for an academically challenging preview of college life.

Learning experiences will include testing basic rockets, solving a cold case, interacting with the FBI, participating in a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt, culturing HeLa cells and learning from healthcare professionals at Mercy Hospital.

“The Honors Summer Academy provides bright students with the opportunity to pursue academically rigorous experiences in the setting of Christian higher education,” said Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program. “Students learn more about our local and global communities, receive college credit and grow closer together with other students and great OC faculty.”

The annual, weeklong college experience encourages the pursuit of excellence by gifted and talented students finishing their freshman through junior years of high school. This is the second year that OC added an additional week in response to the Academy’s strong demand, and five students will attend both weeks.

By the end of the program, students will have developed the confidence to continue their academic pursuit of excellence, link academics to their faith and demonstrate the impact of experiential learning and service to others. Each participant can earn two hours of college credit.

Students stay in OC’s Honors House at Davisson Hall, which offers the opportunity to live in a community dedicated to equipping Christian students for the pursuit of academic excellence.

This is the sixth year that OC has hosted the Honors Summer Academy, and all 120 openings filled quickly.

While 63 students are from Oklahoma, almost as many students are from 16 other states and Rwanda.

“This is our largest group of students yet, and we are excited to welcome our first international student,” Associate Director of Honors Cady Jackson said. “Our growth is really an extension of the satisfaction that previous students have had and expressed to others. We are grateful for that.”

A few of the week’s highlights include:

  • A literature class in which students examine story architecture through a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt. Two teams set off for adventure, one searching for a horcrux to destroy, the other for Deathly Hallows to protect. This event comes a few months after an OC honors student interacted with author J.K. Rowling via Twitter, which was referenced by National Public Radio just last month.
  • Testing small rockets in the in the Introduction to Engineering class, which is taught by OC engineering faculty. Students will launch small rocket ships they have designed and built. The students will compete to see who can fly their ships the highest. 
  • An “In Cold Blood” Forensic Science class in which students will work a cold case and wash a dollar bill to test for drug residue.
  • A visit with a member of the F.B.I. that will include touring a surveillance van.
  • A visit to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City for the Healthcare Professions class.
  • A new class titled Faith of the Founding Fathers.
  • A cellular biology lab in which students will culture cells from Henrietta Lacks.
  • A community service project with the Lighthouse Medical Clinic and Capitol Hill Church of Christ’s Book Buddy literacy program (Academy students will select, read and give away books to elementary through junior high students in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City).
  • A meeting with Edmond-based Holocaust writer Michael Korenblit, whose book highlights his parents’ survival in concentration camps, in the Holocaust Literature class.
  • A field trip to see and handle relics from Greece and Rome as part of the class on the Greek poet Homer.
  • A music class in which students produced original music in one of OC’s Macintosh computer labs using multiple instruments and GarageBand software.

The Honors Program at Oklahoma Christian includes more than 150 students and continues to grow each year.

According to Baird, the average ACT score for honors students is 31, and more than a quarter of those students are National Merit Scholars. Admission is highly selective, but not solely exam-based.

Accomplished alumni have gone on to attain professional degrees in business, law and medicine, and many others have received scholarships to prestigious doctorate and post-doctorate programs across the United States.

Most OC Honors students study abroad in the fall or summer of their sophomore year (Vienna, Austria or Pacific Rim). All Honors students participate in Symposium each Monday; past Honors Symposium speakers have included Civil Rights attorney Fred Gray, astronaut Douglas Wheelock and New Testament scholar N.T. Wright. More information is available at

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Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:30:00 CDT 8d3d54ed-5354-4952-96d4-43985168b2e5
OC dean helps students serve in Oklahoma City clinics OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – This summer, six of the brightest students from Christian universities in Oklahoma gained a hands-on education about delivering healthcare to the needy in Oklahoma City.

Made possible through funding from the Butterfield Foundation, the Consortium of Oklahoma Faith-Based Universities internship program is overseen by Jeff McCormack, dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at Oklahoma Christian University (OC). OC’s student participant was junior nursing major Kristin L’hommedieu from Norman.

“The Consortium and the internship program provides such a fantastic opportunity to be involved and connected with the community while serving those in need,” McCormack said. “For many of these bright students, the experience gives them a sense of calling as future professionals who want to meet unmet needs of those without healthcare.”

The Christian Pre-Healthcare Provider Internship matches six students with three Oklahoma City clinics that serve uninsured and low-income patients.

Students work 30 hours a week and receive a $1,000 stipend for the summer. They rotate to each of the clinics – Crossings Community Clinic, Good Shepherd Clinic and Open Arms Clinic – every two weeks.

In addition to interning at clinics, students attend the Kansas City-based Institute for International Medicine’s Exploring Medical Missions Conference. They learn from care providers, leaders, visionaries and other students about what can be done through healthcare to improve the quality of life for those in need around the world.

“One of the OC students who attended has already taken the lessons and begun to apply them at home,” McCormack said. “He is starting a student organization with 20 other students aimed at providing care to and educating others about physical, mental, and spiritual health in our community.”

OC’s influence on the internship program also extended to housing. The six participants stayed on the OC campus. Trevy Rauch, OC’s nursing skills lab coordinator, handled much of the logistics.

“One of the great joys of this program is seeing the students develop an appreciation for domestic medical missions,” Rauch said. “The students left knowing medical missions would be a good fit for them as aspiring medical professionals. They also now know there are plenty of opportunities to serve those in need here in Oklahoma City.”

After the internship, students expressed more confidence about their ability to make a difference in the lives of others. It also helped students understand the importance of providers truly listening to those they serve.

“The students really were affected by the passion these clinics have for the underserved. The students said their eyes were opened to just how hard it is for some people to get care when they have no money or a car,” McCormack said. “The students told us that they now realized how key listening and hearing someone’s life story is. That was vital to being able to help patients get to a better place.”

The Consortium of Oklahoma Faith-Based Universities includes OC, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oral Roberts University and Southern Nazarene University. A committee of representatives from each of the Consortium universities chooses the internship participants. The number of applications has increased each year, and most students are pre-med, nursing or pre-physician’s assistant majors.

The Butterfield Foundation was created in 2005 after the sale of Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City. The foundation is named after longtime Methodist minister and Deaconess administrator Ralph Butterfield and his wife Gladys. She served for many years as the superintendent of The Home of Redeeming Love, which helped many children become adopted by loving families.

“We are so grateful to the Butterfield Foundation for helping fund the Consortium and internship program, in addition to providing significant support to each of the three clinics,” McCormack said. “The foundation truly lives out its mission to help build up the physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of people.”

With the third year of the internship now complete, McCormack hopes next year’s experience will be the best yet.

“We are exploring ways to expand the program, really in response to the strong demand from our student applicants,” he said. “It’s an exciting program that is truly improving lives.”


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Thu, 09 Jul 2015 10:30:00 CDT b44a1807-de99-4e5a-b474-e5a25863b14d
Young alumni stand out in summer operas A pair of 2014 Oklahoma Christian University (OC) grads have joined a handful of the most talented young artists in the country this summer.

Alyssa Jackson and Andrew Zapata were both chosen from a highly competitive pool of thousands of applicants for summer-in-residency programs in New Mexico and Ohio, respectively.

Zapata is performing this summer as a Young Artist during the Ohio Light Opera’s seven-show season in Wooster, Ohio. OLO performs 60 productions before more than 20,000 patrons each summer.

Jackson is performing as the “Countess” in the Land of Enchantment Opera Institute’s summer production of Mozart’s “Le Nozza di Figaro.” She will perform in Gallup, New Mexico, and Albuquerque. The Land of Enchantment Opera only accepts 25 young artists, and has attracted top faculty from around the country for one of the most successful grassroots opera movements in recent history.

“I am so thankful for the opportunities that God has provided for me to learn, perform and grow,” Jackson said. “I would tell any aspiring young singer to perform as much as possible and find summer performing activities that will help that person grow as a performer and artist.”

Zapata agreed about the value of summer experiences, having performed in a selective opera intensive in Italy last summer. He is thankful for the quality musical instruction he had at OC.

“OC really helped prepare me for where I am today, especially through my experiences with Chad Anderson and Rebekah Bruce Parker,” he said. “They taught me a lot about how to work in rehearsal during OC’s ‘Opera Scenes’ productions.”

Jackson echoed Zapata’s thoughts regarding her studies at Oklahoma Christian.

“The OC music faculty and staff have always been so supportive of my professional goals,” she said. “Chad and Rebekah gave me a lot of opportunities to perform at OC, which cultivated a stronger understanding of musicality and character-building, as well as learning how to tell a story through music.”

Kathy Thompson, professor and chair of OC’s Department of Music, is proud of the confident performers that Jackson and Zapata have become.

“Both Alyssa and Andrew took advantage of the many opportunities to perform that we provide our music students,” Thompson said. “Alyssa’s senior recital was one of the strongest we’ve ever had by an OC vocalist, and Andrew’s impressive senior project involved researching and performing opera arias and art songs that he studied in a summer program in Italy.”

Jackson and Zapata are still developing plans after the summer, but both plan to continue performing with the Tulsa Opera. Jackson begins her master’s degree in Opera Performance from Oklahoma City University in the fall, and Zapata has auditioned for regional theatres and cruise ships.

Jackson will also continue to audition for agents and opera companies around the U.S. and Europe. An unknown future is actually a faith-building experience for her.

“Even when things haven’t gone exactly the way I planned, God ultimately had a better plan and has always opened another door,” Jackson said. “I'm constantly reminded that God’s will is more perfect than anything I could dream of.”

For those interested in seeing Jackson and Zapata, the Land of Enchantment Opera runs through Aug. 2, while the Ohio Light Opera runs through Aug. 8.


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Wed, 08 Jul 2015 10:15:00 CDT ae0ed066-a08c-4efe-ba3b-77b6fcfb6702
OC well-represented at the 35th Christian Scholars’ Conference Oklahoma Christian University had a strong presence at the 35th Christian Scholars’ Conference last week with participants in multiple sessions. The annual event was held at Abilene Christian University this year and featured keynote speakers such as authors and professors Phillip Jenkins and Randall Balmer, poet Christian Wiman and public broadcasting host and author Tavis Smiley.

During the conference, more than 100 professors, graduate students and professionals presented peer-reviewed and generative sessions to advance Christian scholarship, collaboration and engaged dialogue. 

This year’s conference theme was "One World."

Gary Jones, OC’s multicultural and service learning coordinator, served as a panelist for the Civil Rights session titled “Selma: Cinematic Past and Social Present Tense.”

Jeff McCormack, OC's dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, was a panelist for the “High Impact Practices in the Sciences” session. OC alumnus Henry Shin presented during the session with a paper titled “Cell Culture Techniques to Fight Blindness: Finding Molecular Mechanism(s) of a Mutant Protein Affecting Vision in Humans.”

OC alumnus Stanley Helton presented during the “American Religious History” session. His paper was titled “Can We Divide? Jesse B. Ferguson: Alone, Neglected, but not Forgotten.” Helton also presented again on the topic of “The Gods of Slavery: The Theologizing of Solomon Northrup.”

Chara Watson, adjunct instructor of communication at OC, presented in the “Creative Writing” session. Her paper was titled “An Exploration of Binding False Narratives and Their Effects on Compassion and Spirituality.”

OC Professor of New Testament John Harrison convened the New Testament session titled “A Consideration of Shelly Matthews’ Perfect Martyr: The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity.” During that session, OC alumnus Trevor Thompson served as a respondent. 

Scott LaMascus, OC’s vice president of academic affairs, served as a reviewer for the first Old Testament session that addressed professor Glenn Pemberton’s new book. Charles Rix, OC’s interim dean of the College of Biblical Studies, was a reviewer for the second session. Rix also presented a paper titled “Trauma and ‘Narrative Wreckage’ in the Story of Hagar.”

OC President John deSteiguer served as a panelist with other Christian college presidents on the session titled “Re-envisioning Christian Higher Education for the Next Century.” Similarly, OC alumnus Andy Benton presented a white paper in the session titled “Charting a Course for the Future of Christian Higher Education: A Three-Year Conversation for Governing Boards.”

Gary Lindsey, professor of history at OC, presented a paper titled “East to West: Christian Missionaries in the Twin Territories.”

Associate Professor of Communication Josh Watson presented in the "Global Business Practices" session. His presentation was titled “A Case Study of CVS Health’s Social Responsibility About-Face.”

OC alumnus Darrly Tippens was a convener for the session titled “Christian Wiman’s ‘My Bright Abyss’: Reflections on One Writer’s Spiritual Journey.”

In addition, Chip Kooi, professor of Bible at OC, presented in the “Bible, Justice and Law II” session. His paper was titled “Gospel as Justice as Gospel: A Christian Grammar of Justice.”

Finally, OC Honors instructor Christopher Shrock presented during the “Faith, Reason and Conflict: American History” session. His paper was titled “Culpability and Conscience: A Philosophical Look at an Early Restoration Theme.” 

The Christian Scholars’ Conference was created in 1981 under the direction of Dr. Thomas H. Olbricht, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Pepperdine University, and has since been hosted by several universities associated with churches of Christ. The conference calls together scholars from a wide variety of disciplines in the liberal arts, sciences, business, law, education and medicine to develop their own academic research and to reflect on the integration of scholarship and faith. 

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Fri, 12 Jun 2015 13:45:00 CDT 608abb9e-980c-470c-ad4a-3751233c4248
OC picks Rix as biblical studies dean OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A classical piano virtuoso, experienced minister and respected scholar is the new interim dean of Oklahoma Christian University’s College of Biblical Studies.

Charles Rix, an associate professor of Bible at OC, moves into this leadership role after serving as chair of the university’s undergraduate programs in biblical studies over the past year.

“I like this opportunity to think creatively about how we teach Bible. We want to help students think through how scripture speaks to 21st century challenges,” Rix said. “Our world and culture are changing so fast; there are so many competing voices. We want our programs and the way we teach not just to be relevant, but faith-forming. We want students to grow in their understanding of what it means to be Christians in whatever professions they pursue.”

Rix came to Oklahoma Christian in 2011 from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, where he worked as an associate dean and professor. He also served as the pulpit minister for Monmouth Church of Christ in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and held financial positions with ExxonMobil Corporation domestically and overseas.

He holds graduate degrees in business, theology and philosophy, and completed his Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Drew Theological School.

An accomplished pianist, Rix has performed around the world and has been a finalist in international competitions.

“Charles Rix is the whole package,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott LaMascus said. “He is an executive whose success in a global corporation proves his many skills, a minister whose faith and ministry survived the untimely loss of his beloved spouse, a theologian whose scholarship is respected among the best, and a teacher who has a large following among OC students and faculty. Students seem to grow exponentially in heart, soul, mind and strength when they are around Charles.”

Rix’s wife, Jenny, passed away in 2005 after a life devoted to ministry, most notably as a Christian missionary to Singapore and as a teacher of blind and visually handicapped children. Their son, Nathan, worked for Teach For America in the South Bronx, and now works as a senior policy analyst in Oregon. His daughter, Abby Rix Degge, is a hospice social worker and his son-in-law David Degge teaches percussion at the Bard Conservatory of Music in New York.

Rix’s love for his children carries over to the heart he has for students. He hopes to strengthen camaraderie and peer support among students through undergraduate cohorts. He also wants to help facilitate opportunities for student ministry and community in cooperation with OC’s Ethos program for spiritual life.

“I would put my colleagues in the College of Biblical Studies up against any department anywhere. We have a rigorous program with professors who are well connected in their ministries and disciplines,” Rix said. “Building mentoring relationships with students will continue to be key. Our faculty already is involved in mentoring students. We have a campus culture that values relationship building and I want to help that grow.

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, set a school record this past 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.


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Mon, 08 Jun 2015 09:00:00 CDT 92e8bd29-4dd2-4a43-9bbc-f61ecb040557
North hire boosts computer science program OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – David North brings four decades of experience and expertise to his new roles as director of computer science advancement and associate professor of computer science at Oklahoma Christian University (OC).

The 1979 OC graduate has held vice president roles with MBO Partners, Netplex and Applied Intelligence Group. He was MBO’s chief operating officer prior to returning to Oklahoma Christian.

North has been a chief technology officer, project manager, system architect and computer systems consultant. He has managed hundreds of software development projects and been involved in the startup of several businesses. He is a noted early adopter and innovator in the areas of software engineering, object-oriented development and Internet application development.

At Oklahoma Christian, North is working to enhance the undergraduate curriculum and add a master’s degree in computer science to the university’s graduate offerings.

OC’s undergraduate program, featuring degree tracks in Computer Science, Computer Science with Business, and Computer Science with Gaming and Animation, will prepare students for careers in a wide range of organizations. The program features core curriculum that provides a foundational knowledge of computer science principles and concepts, plus courses that focus on software engineering and web, security and mobile technologies. Students’ real-world practice opportunities also will grow.

“OC has had a strong computer science program for many years. Our graduates have been very successful in getting great jobs with excellent employers,” North said. “But these changes will strengthen our degree with a focus on technologies that have become popular in the last few years. That’s going to benefit our students as they prepare for successful computer science careers.”

Computer science is one of the most lucrative and fastest-growing job fields. CNN, Money Magazine, and U.S. News and World Report list multiple computer science professions – including computer systems analysis, database development, information security analysis, software architecture, software development, and video game design – among the nation’s top 10 jobs in salary and availability.

“OC’s computer science degree produces graduates that are in demand as the technologists of the future,” North said. “With their foundation in computer science principles, concepts and current technologies, OC graduates can quickly contribute to a company’s operations.”

In addition to the rigorous curriculum, OC students will benefit from mentoring relationships with instructors like North and other expert alumni who are leaders in various fields.

Recent OC graduates have computing jobs at NASA, ESPN, the FBI and a host of other companies and organizations. Alumnus Richard Lawson, a member of OC’s board of trustees, founded Lawson Software and built it into a $2 billion business with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.

“David North has been a national leader in computer science and brings many years of graduate computer science study and an understanding of Christian higher education. He will mentor students from across the U.S., inspire innovation teams in capstone projects, and set high standards for those projects, too,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “North is the perfect answer to what our College of Engineering and Computer Science dean Byron Newberry has heard from our industry friends nearby in the Tinker Air Logistics community. We hear it from corporate America, too. They need more computer science graduates than they can get. OC graduates bring the full package of character, competence and leadership.”

North’s accomplished career actually began when he created technology solutions for Oklahoma Christian as an undergraduate student. He went on to lead the team of computer experts that developed innovative exhibits at OC’s Enterprise Square in the 1980s.

He currently directs the Capitol Hill ministry at Memorial Road Church of Christ, where he serves as a deacon. He and his wife Beverly, also a 1979 OC graduate, have three children and five grandchildren. David’s father, Stafford North, is a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and is retiring this spring after 61 years at Oklahoma Christian.

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.


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Fri, 08 May 2015 13:30:00 CDT 0d311416-1311-4e65-8d0a-fb86a2e5a139
OC communication students, alumni win national, state awards Communication students and alumni from Oklahoma Christian University continue to produce award-winning work at the national and state levels.

In April, four public relations students placed in the 2015 Zenith Awards, a nationally recognized public relations competition for undergraduate students studying strategic communications. 

Four OC students received one of the competition’s 15 awards. Senior Karly Monday, from Billings, Montana, received first place for Social Media, and senior Jessica Thompson, from Edmond, received third place for PR Campaigns. Seniors Jake Whiteley and Michaela Lawson, from Crandall, Texas and Oakley, California, respectively, received second and third place for PR Writing.

The Zenith Awards contest is one of the top national public relations competitions for undergraduate students.

OC students also received seven awards in the student competition co-hosted by the Oklahoma Broadcast Educators Association and the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. OBEA hosts an annual student competition that draws more than 300 entries from public and private colleges across Oklahoma.

Senior Geoffrey Fogle, from Keller, Texas, placed first for Music Video, and junior Travis Pauley, from Frisco, Texas, placed first for Long TV Narrative. Spring graduate Nehemiah Knox, from Wylie, Texas, placed second for TV Directing, and senior Micah Woodberrry, from Oklahoma City, placed second for Sports Story. Mitch Allen, from Clarkston, Michigan, placed third for Music Video, and senior Morgan Lindsay placed third for Scriptwriting. Finally, junior Sierra Cleverdon and senior Cheryl Jorgensen placed third for Long Radio Narrative.

“These students and their award-winning work represent some of the best from our department,” said Dr. Larry Jurney, chair of OC’s Department of Communication. “We are proud of them, and we know their work helps even more of our students continue to aspire to excellence.”

In addition, OC’s communication alumni have received recognition in the last few weeks. Bobby Ross, a 1990 OC graduate who serves as the chief correspondent for The Christian Chronicle newspaper, received four awards from the Associated Church Press. Ross received first and second place for Feature Article, first place for News Story, and he shared first place with his Chronicle colleagues for Best In Class – International or National Newspaper.

Murray Evans, OC’s assistant athletic director for media relations and a 1989 OC graduate, was recognized for his oversight of OC’s 2014 women’s and men’s cross country media guides. The guides received “best cover” honors for college division cross country brochures in the annual publications contest conducted by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The covers were designed by 2002 graduate Judson Copeland, who serves as OC’s director of creative marketing, and featured photographs by Steven Christy, a 2001 grad who is a systems administrator for OC’s information technology office.

“Bobby and Murray have repeatedly made OC proud,” Jurney said. “Their national awards continue to reflect well on their work and on OC.”

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Fri, 08 May 2015 12:30:00 CDT 26083898-3ddb-4703-8ba4-26347edf659f
Christian Chronicle named top newspaper by Associated Church Press TORONTO, Canada – The Christian Chronicle, operated on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University, won Best in Class at the Associated Church Press’ annual awards banquet May 1.

This designation in the National/International Newspaper category is the second for the Christian Chronicle, which also earned the award in 2012.

In all, the Chronicle brought home nine awards. Chief Correspondent Bobby Ross, who graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1990 with a journalism degree, took first place in both the feature article and news story categories. Ross also placed second in the feature article category.

The Chronicle’s series, One Nación Under God, also took first place in the Theme Issue category.

“Every member of the Chronicle organization, from the writers and support staff to the Board of Trustees shares in this accomplishment,” said President/CEO Lynn McMillon, a 1963 Oklahoma Christian grad who continues to serve his alma mater as a distinguished professor of Bible. “I am thankful for and proud of everyone who made this honor possible. May this bring honor to our Lord and strengthen his kingdom.”

Here is a list of awards the Chronicle won. Click here for a report on the Christian Chronicle website.

Award of Excellence (1st Place)

BEST IN CLASS/PRINT: National/International NewspaperThe Christian Chronicle: Lynn McMillon, president/CEO; Erik Tryggestad, editor; Bobby Ross, Jr., chief correspondent; Tonya Patton, advertising manager; Kimberly Mauck, reviews editor; Lynda Sheehan, administrative assistant; Joy McMillon, administrative assistant; Laura Akins, editorial assistant; Kelcy Nash, advertising assistant

FEATURE ARTICLE: Newspaper The Christian Chronicle for Inside the ‘Duck Dynasty’ Church by Bobby Ross, Jr.

NEWS STORY: NewspaperThe Christian Chronicle for Worship Is Our Protest by Bobby Ross, Jr.

THEME ISSUE, SECTION, OR SERIES: Newspaper – The Christian Chronicle for One Nación Under God by Erik Tryggestad, Bobby Ross, Jr., Lynn McMillon and Amanda Jordan

PHOTO SPREAD W/ARTICLE OR CUTLINE: Newspaper/News Service/Newsletter/ Website/Blog – The Christian Chronicle for I’m Getting More Than I Give by Erik Tryggestad

Award of Merit (2nd Place)

FEATURE ARTICLE: Newspaper/NewsletterThe Christian Chronicle for A Child Molester’s Son Shines a Light by Bobby Ross Jr.

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE: Newspaper/NewsletterThe Christian Chronicle for Persecution and the Church by Erik Tryggestad

COLUMN: Newspaper/News Service/Newsletter/Website/Blog – The Christian Chronicle for Inside Story by Erik Tryggestad

Honorable Mention (3rd Place)

SINGLE PHOTO W/ARTICLE OR CUTLINE: Newspaper/News Service/Newsletter/ Website/BlogThe Christian Chronicle for God Will Make a Way - and a Baptistery by Mark Adam

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Fri, 08 May 2015 11:45:00 CDT 4b933ff0-d86b-49a8-9917-c294157484b7
OC alum chosen to lead Alberta Bible College CALGARY, Alberta – Alumni from Oklahoma Christian University continue to make a difference around the world. One alumnus in particular, Dr. Stanley Helton, will soon help lead Christian higher education in Canada.

Helton, a 1988 OC graduate, will become president of Alberta Bible College in Calgary on July 1. ABC was founded in 1932 and the school’s roots and identity are in the Restoration Movement. He previously worked as a dean at Western Christian College in Saskatchewan.

“I see God bringing the pieces of my life together in this position: education, ministry and church care,” Helton said.

Before joining Western Christian, first as a Bible professor, Helton was a student at Oklahoma Christian University. With the help of esteemed faculty such as Howard Norton and Bailey McBride, Helton enrolled after completing the Preston Road School of Preaching in Dallas.

“A number of OC professors had a profound impact on the course of my life,” Helton said. “Among those were the late Elmo Hall and John Thompson. From Elmo I learned to write, and from John I learned to live. Perhaps the greatest influence on my life from my time at OC was the late Raymond Kelcy.”

Helton was twice awarded the McCord Greek Scholarship as OC’s outstanding undergraduate Bible major. After he graduated from OC, he attained multiple graduate and doctoral degrees. He has served churches as a minister in Chicago, New Orleans, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Canada.

Oklahoma Christian became a family affair for Helton. His wife Pat (80) and his daughter Rachel (11) also are OC alumni.

“I’m proud to be an alumnus of OC,” Helton said. “I have aspired to be the gentle, guiding kind of teacher and minister that Raymond Kelcy was. I am grateful for how God has brought me to Alberta.”


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Tue, 05 May 2015 15:15:00 CDT 6d96e9a5-1152-45e1-8f12-83151318e648
Once again, OC has the largest group at the OKC Memorial Marathon With more than 500 runners, Oklahoma Christian University once again had the largest group of runners at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. This is the eighth year in a row that OC has been among the top three groups represented. OC has now sent more than 4,000 runners to the annual race since 2006.

Now in its 15th year, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Run to Remember is a celebration of life. The race serves as the main fundraiser for the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which commemorates the lives lost in the Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995.

The marathon is the primary focus of OC’s campus fitness initiative known as TeamOC. Runners have their own t-shirt and facebook page, and this year, participants were called to a “choose your K” challenge in increments of 5 kilometers. President John deSteiguer and 15 others committed to the 15K level, which is a half marathon. Many thanks go to TeamOC Director Darci Thompson and Dean of Students Neil Arter for helping organize runners each year. We are proud of all alumni, students, staff and faculty who ran this year!

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:00:00 CDT e78370a1-cec1-4788-a116-89f2fda2114e
Stafford North to speak at OC’s spring commencement OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Stafford North, a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, will be the keynote speaker for the spring commencement ceremonies at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) this Friday, April 24.

Oklahoma Christian will present 265 undergraduate degrees and 78 graduate degrees in two ceremonies.

The 10:30 a.m. ceremony will feature graduates from OC’s College of Liberal Arts and College of Natural and Health Sciences.

The 2 p.m. ceremony will include graduates from OC’s College of Biblical Studies, College of Business Administration, and College of Engineering and Computer Science, as well as master’s candidates from the university’s Graduate School of Business, Graduate School of Engineering, and Graduate School of Theology.

Both events will be held on campus in the Payne Athletic Center.

The undergraduate degree candidates, including 27 graduates from OC’s Honors Program, come from 26 states and nine countries. They majored in a combined 51 academic disciplines at Oklahoma Christian.

The master’s degree candidates come from four states and eight countries, and represent 15 graduate areas of study.

North, a distinguished professor of Bible, is retiring this spring after 61 years at Oklahoma Christian. He first joined the school’s faculty in 1952, and also served as OC’s academic dean and executive vice president.

He played a key role in the development of Oklahoma Christian’s campus and its facilities, from the school’s 1958 move to Oklahoma City up through 1995, when he transitioned from administration to fulltime teaching.

As an educational technology pioneer, North made Oklahoma Christian a hub for college administrators and professors from around the nation who wanted to learn more about the use of technology in college instruction.

North also has preached throughout the United States and abroad since 1948. He has served as an elder at Memorial Road Church of Christ since 1972. He and his wife Joanne have four children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

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


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Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:15:00 CDT afe55cd1-df93-4933-b463-f10145e5345e
Joyce McBride passes away We mourn the passing of Joyce McBride, who passed away Thursday. Joyce was a beloved Christian teacher and wife of longtime professor and administrator Dr. Bailey McBride.

All three of their children graduated from OC and met their spouses here. Melissa is married to OC trustee Phil Roe (82), Lynette (86) is married to Patrick Brown (86), and Mike (91) is married to Karen (Cloud 87). Three of the McBrides’ grandchildren, Luke, Kailey and Jennifer, also attended OC.

Joyce was an indispensable leader at Memorial Road Church of Christ, where her pre-kindergarten class became a revered institution. Many adults first learned the 23rd Psalm as children in her Bible class. Joyce’s authentic Southern charms comforted many a homesick student, guided newlyweds, and encouraged young parents.

Joyce’s memorial service will be this Sunday, April 19 at 2 p.m. at Memorial Road. There will be a viewing and family visitation at Matthews Funeral Home from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Thank you for keeping Bailey and the McBride family in your prayers.

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Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:30:00 CDT 40dc2ac0-9f8e-4afb-8d94-2e8bdc925910
$2M challenge pledge strengthens Oklahoma Christian OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A new $2 million challenge pledge will boost the impact of unrestricted gifts to Oklahoma Christian University through the 2016 fiscal year.

The pledge will match unrestricted gifts up to $250,000 per household until the $2 million threshold is reached.

“We are so grateful for this anonymous donor. I believe this donor is a gift to us from God,” President John deSteiguer said. “We’re receiving this gift because this donor loves OC and the life-changing power of this university. This donor believes in our faculty and staff, and the impact they make on our students. This donor thinks OC is worth it.”

Appropriately, $500,000 of the challenge pledge is supporting faculty and staff benefits. It also enables Oklahoma Christian to grow its budget margin and invest in programs that will attract more students to the university.

While the challenge pledge applies to all new unrestricted gifts, its impact on alumni donations through OC’s Homeward campaign could be especially significant; alumni can essentially double the size of their gifts thanks to this pledge.

Through Homeward, the number of alumni givers has grown from 940 to 2,278 since 2012. With almost 20 percent of alumni now supporting the university financially, Oklahoma Christian outpaces the national average by about eight percentage points.

“Many colleges are facing financial hurdles because of the macro forces in our economy and society. We really can’t predict the future, but in some ways, we can create the future because there is much under our control,” deSteiguer said. “This donor was motivated by our willingness to think creatively and boldly about everything we do at OC, and by our willingness to make decisions today that will make our tomorrow better and more secure.”

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


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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:00:00 CDT e3ec8328-b36f-4bc4-9b08-26338920a900
OC welcomes Jennifer Gray as associate dean OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) has named Jennifer Gray as associate dean for its College of Natural and Health Sciences.

Gray comes to OC after more than 20 years at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she last served as associate dean and chair of the graduate programs in the College of Nursing. While there, Gray received multiple teaching awards and was named to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

“Jennifer brings exemplary academic accomplishments and a professional skill set that is exactly what OC needs to grow and mature our nursing program,” said Jeff McCormack, dean of OC’s College of Natural and Health Sciences. “She is an excellent cultural fit with OC who will also help advance our spiritual goals.”

Gray has helped secure $2 million in nursing education funding, written more than 60 research articles and book chapters and delivered more than 65 conference presentations. In addition, she is a lead or co-author on multiple nursing education textbooks.

Gray has served as an editor or on editorial boards for multiple nursing research journals. She is also a member of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, Texas Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing. In 2013, she was one of 172 leaders from across the United States to be inducted into the American Academy of Nursing Class of Fellows.

“I’ve been blessed with a diverse career, and I’ve been able to teach at every level of nursing education,” Gray said. “I am so glad to join the hard-working and committed faculty at OC. The future is very bright here.”

Scott LaMascus, OC’s vice president of academic affairs, said Gray’s talents will have a direct impact in the classroom.

“Dr. Gray is an amazing alumna whose accomplishments illustrate that OC has a legacy of exceptional strength in natural and health sciences,” he said. “She will help us build on that legacy as the foundation for OC’s strategic focus on growth in training new generations of Christian leaders.”

Given Gray’s extensive research accomplishments, she looks forward to helping OC’s School of Nursing grow even more.

“I am a strong believer in integrating research with course theory, helping nurses to learn how to best provide evidence-based care,” she said. “OC is perfectly located and suited to do just that.”

LaMascus also said that Gray is the perfect person to help cultivate OC’s strong relationship with the Oklahoma City metro healthcare community.

“That our campus is near top-tier hospitals, biotechs and research institutions is a boon for OC students, who have established themselves as leaders in undergraduate research compared to students from across the region,” he said. “Dr. Gray’s leadership and Christian ethos will have a significant impact on the faculty and students she mentors and will enhance our natural and health sciences initiatives as a distinctive of OC for generations to come."

Another way Gray will contribute to Oklahoma Christian is through her dedication to missions. After earning her undergraduate degree, she served as a nurse in Cameroon. She helped on multiple mission trips to Belize and Trinidad and has made annual mission and professional service trips to Uganda and Tanzania.

“Jennifer’s commitment to missions in Africa will be an excellent complement to our existing projects in places like Honduras,” McCormack said. “As our nursing program continues to grow, we have a need for additional mission opportunities. Dr. Gray’s work in Africa will help us offer even more options for our students.”

Gray’s impressive career started at Oklahoma Christian. She attended for two years before graduating from Central State University (now UCO) in Edmond with her first nursing degree. She earned her master’s degree from UTA and her doctorate from Texas Woman’s University.

Gray served as a founding board member of OC’s North Texas Alumni Association and has served on OC’s National Alumni Council. Her daughter, Jenny Jones, is a 2008 OC graduate and is married to OC alumnus Alex Jones, a 2010 graduate. After graduation, Jenny served for two years as a missionary in Australia. Gray’s son, Eric, is an assistant baseball coach for York College in Nebraska.

“I really believe that OC is home, especially being an alumna,” Gray said. “I lived on campus even as I took my nursing classes. My husband, Randy, is a graduate, and we are thrilled to be coming back to Oklahoma.”

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


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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:30:00 CDT e3804ccb-08a2-4219-ad62-0f95a3841967
Music Department ends year with spring concerts OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Oklahoma Christian University (OC) Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble will close the 2014-15 academic year with their upcoming Spring Concerts.

The Chamber Orchestra will perform on Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m. in Adams Recital Hall. The concert will feature three student conductors: Aaron Kooi, Marissa Madison and Lauren Smith.

The wind and percussion sections from OC’s Symphonic Band will join the Chamber Orchestra to perform a full orchestra piece entitled “Finlandia.” The piece was composed by Sebelius; one of its main melodies is also used in the hymn, “Be Still My Soul.”

Kathy Thompson, chair of OC’s Department of Music, said she hopes the audience will enjoy the enthusiasm of the students performing in the Chamber Orchestra.

“I think it’s just fun to see young people involved in making music,” Thompson said. “The music is exciting itself, and to see young people performing it and the eagerness with which they do it, I think is a plus.”

The Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble will present their Spring Concert on Thursday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Hardeman Auditorium.

The concert will feature music the groups performed on their recent Texas tour, as well as music from the Jazz Ensemble’s recent Royal Caribbean cruise ship performances.

The Symphonic Band, directed by Professor of Music John Fletcher, will perform five pieces, including “Irish Tune from County Derry” and “Shepherd’s Hey” by Percy Grainger, Samuel Barber’s “Commando March” and Eric Whitacre’s “Ghost Train.” OC student Daniel Griffin will be featured on clarinet for “Adagio and Tarantella,” composed by Cavallini.

Under the direction of Professor of Music Heath Jones, the Jazz Ensemble set will include “In the Mood,” “Almost Like Being in Love” and Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” A number of student soloists will be featured, including vocalist Nathan LaValley on “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!”

Admisison is free for both concerts. For more information, call (405) 425-5530.

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


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Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:00:00 CDT da7053b8-08d3-440f-ac84-d065e6f17f3c
Opera Scenes set for April 3-4 OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Oklahoma Christian University (OC) Department of Music will present its 2015 Opera Scenes program this Friday and Saturday.

This year’s theme is “The Beaumarchais Figaro Trilogy,” featuring scenes from plays by Pierre Beaumarchais. The performance will incorporate Beaumarchais’s famous works, including “The Barber of Seville,” “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Ghosts of Versailles.”

The Opera Scenes event is directed by Laura Rucker Coale and features 16 student vocalists: Kirby Allen, Emily Dick, Hannah Duvall, Jolie Rae Gasper, Jabbarri Jones, Emily Miller, Steven Moore, Taylor Murphy, Andrea Ochoa, Megan Reed, Julia Roehrkasse, Matthew Russell, Tess Rudasill, Sean Steele, Lauren Wheeler and Thomas Winkler.

Both performances are free to the public and begin at 7:30 p.m. each night in Adams Recital Hall.

For more information, go to

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


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Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:30:00 CDT 15ceeb03-165a-4aeb-a576-2a120e7893ad
Ravi Zacharias at OC on March 30 OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will host best-selling author and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias for a free public lecture next Monday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m.

The event, part of OC’s McGaw Lecture Series, is sold out, but free overflow tickets for a live closed circuit broadcast are available at Zacharias’ lecture topic is “Secularization and the Death of Absolutes.”

Zacharias has spoken all over the world for 42 years. He has twice spoken at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York. As the 2008 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, he gave addresses at the White House, the Pentagon, and The Cannon House.

At the invitation of Billy Graham, Zacharias was a plenary speaker at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983, 1986, and 2000. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president’s cabinet and parliament in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow.

Zacharias has appeared on CNN, Fox, and many other international broadcasts. His weekly radio program, “Let My People Think,” airs on 2,087 outlets worldwide; his television program of the same name is broadcast in several countries.

He has authored or edited more than 20 books. Can Man Live without God? was awarded the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology, and Jesus Among Other Gods was nominated for a Gold Medallion.

Born in India, Zacharias received his Master of Divinity from Trinity International University and held the chair of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary. He also has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and currently serves as senior research fellow at Oxford University’s Wycliffe Hall.

In conjunction with his visit to Oklahoma Christian, a seven-day Bible reading plan, What Jesus Has Done For Us, features devotional thoughts taken from Zacharias’ books. It is available in the YouVersion app and at

Past McGaw Lecture speakers at Oklahoma Christian include civil rights pioneers Claudette Colvin, Fred Gray, Carlotta Walls LaNier and Terrence Roberts, plus Christian author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and noted theologian N. T. Wright.

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


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Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:00:00 CDT 9e7fa73f-175b-419a-9b06-40212f580e95
Oklahoma Christian students revive debate team OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Oklahoma Christian University (OC) debate team has been revived after 23 years.

The team currently consists of 10 students and is led by Brian Simmons, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and the Honors Program.

Simmons was a member of Oklahoma Christian’s debate team during his time as a student. At one point, the team was ranked as high as third in the entire United States.

Sophomore Megan McKinley approached Simmons about reestablishing the team in fall 2014. McKinley now serves as the president of the team.

“We threw the door open and said ‘If anyone is interested, come and join us,’” Simmons said. “There are no auditions and no tryouts; we want to make it accessible to all students.”

The students interested in the program worked with Simmons to organize the team and determine its goals.

“We quickly decided that we wanted to compete in a college tournament, we wanted to try and do some debate related things on campus, and then we also wanted to create some debate workshops to offer to homeschool students or to private schools in the Edmond area that don’t have a debate opportunity,” Simmons said.

On Feb. 6 and 7, the team participated in its first collegiate debate tournament since its reinstatement. Sophomore Cody Milner tied for fifth place against 21 competitors from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Four students from the team – McKinley, Jenna Khazoyan, Kevin McGuire and Sean Van Dyke – demonstrated a debate during Honors Symposium on Feb. 2.

The team recently began holding a monthly debate over a religious topic that students can attend for Ethos credit. The debates take place in room 108 in the Garvey Center.

According to Simmons, the debate process is beneficial to students learning at a Christian liberal arts institution like Oklahoma Christian.

“I think there is always a benefit for Christian college students to develop the skills to defend what they believe in and being able to critique what others believe,” Simmons said. “If ever there is a context that demands there be a debate team, it’s this one.”

For more information, email

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


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Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:00:00 CDT a9ca91cd-59b3-4472-8643-31f359ff9f98
OC hosts screening for superhero film OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The award-winning independent superhero film “The Posthuman Project” has announced plans for a special screening at Oklahoma Christian University.

The family-friendly comic-book-styled film has played across the U.S. and in Europe to sold-out crowds as part of its festival circuit, winning nine awards, including five for best feature.

The film opened to sold-out crowds in Oklahoma City, and now OC is having a one-night special screening to honor alumni involved in the film, including director Kyle Roberts and actress Alexandra Harris.

The film will screen in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium at 7 p.m. on March 26 at 2501 East Memorial Road. The screening is open to the public. Tickets cost $5 and are available in advance at

The film was directed by OC graduate Kyle Roberts and stars Kyle Whalen, Collin Place, Lindsay Sawyer, Alexandra Harris, Josh Bonzie, Jason Leyva and Rett Terrell. Producers include Vahid Farzaneh, Wendy Parker and Sha’ree Green; John Scamehorn is executive producer. The film was written by Matthew Price and Sterling Gates.

Roberts majored in broadcast journalism at Oklahoma Christian. The filmmaker has won two Emmy awards since 2013. “The Posthuman Project” is his first feature film.

“I’m excited to be able to bring this film back to my alma mater,” Roberts said. “My college experiences at OC were a huge influence on me and this project, so I’m excited to bring it back to where it all started for me.”

Former OC student Alexandra Harris will be on hand to answer questions following the film with Roberts.

“OC has a special place in my heart,” Harris said. “The most important people in my life today are people I met, and grew close to while at the university. I’m thrilled to be coming back with ‘Posthuman.’”

So far, critics are calling “The Posthuman Project” “an indie-epic” and “a superhero origin story ala John Hughes.”

In the film, Denny Burke is finally about to graduate high school. Senior year has been one bad thing after another: a broken leg, a broken heart, and – worst of all – a broken home.

With four of his closest friends, Denny goes on one last rock-climbing trip to prove he’s ready to start his adult life. On their trip, the five teens receive a genetic boost and Denny is soon faced with the first big decision of his adult life: does he give up these powers and stay a normal teenager, or does he keep them … and graduate from the human race?

Oklahoma Christian University is recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review. With a record enrollment of almost 2,500 students, OC 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.

More info about the film:
Twitter: posthumanprojct
Instagram: posthumanprojct

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Rwandans earn MBA degrees from Oklahoma Christian KIGALI, Rwanda - Oklahoma Christian University awarded graduate business degrees to 42 Rwandans on March 13.

The graduates earned their master of business administration degrees in fields such as accounting, finance, leadership and project management.

OC’s Graduate School of Business began an onsite MBA program in Rwanda in 2012 to expand on a 2006 partnership that brought some of that nation’s brightest students to Oklahoma Christian through the Rwandan Presidential Scholars program.

This is the second batch of students to graduate from the institution in Rwanda; 38 students graduated last year.

Click here to read an article from The New Times in Rwanda and watch a video feature about the commencement ceremony.


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