News RSS Feed OC students to perform the comedy “Well, That was Awkward” The latest production by the OC theater program is going to be, well…awkward. Three one-act plays come together to create a witty and entertaining experience for audience members entitled “Well, That was Awkward.”

The production, opening, Oct. 1, includes “Sure Thing” by David Ives and “Funeral Parlor” and “The Actor’s Nightmare” by Christopher Durango. These shorter stories explore common awkward and humorous situations in life.

The play will run three consecutive evenings at Oklahoma Christian Oct. 1-3. The play begins at 8 p.m. each night and takes place in Judd Theater.

The play’s director, Instructor for Art and Design Scott Hale, said he hopes the audience will both enjoy and appreciate the uncomfortable, yet relatable situations in the stories.

“I want to give the audience permission to laugh at the awkwardness we have all felt in different social situations and to realize that, while it might not be fun at the time, often, if we will allow ourselves to grow, we are better people for it in the end,” said Hale.

Senior Garrett Marshall from Louisburg, Kansas, said the comedy is a great production for both experienced play attendees and those who are new to theater.

“It’s not one of those plays that you have to love theater to enjoy,” Marshall said. “Every audience member can relate to the story and enjoy it, even if they aren’t already familiar with stage productions.”

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased by calling (405) 425-6310 or online at There is no cost to students, faculty and staff (with a valid OC ID card).

The show is appropriate for ages 10 and older.

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Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:30:00 CDT 06af9cb4-f67d-4e25-8843-9e66026d9897
Oklahoma Christian hosts 65th lectureship OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will kick off its 65th lectureship Sunday with a keynote message by Duck Dynasty’s Alan Robertson.

Robertson is the oldest son of “Duck Commander” Phil Robertson and his wife Kay. He was a minister for 22 years at White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ.

He has authored or co-authored the “Duck Commander Devotional,” “Everything’s Better with a Beard,” “The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible,” and “A New Season.” Written with his wife Lisa, “A New Season” is about their life and marriage, and teaches how to overcome deep hurt and pain in relationships.

The OC Lectureship, which runs through Oct. 6, features more than 40 speakers, concerts and other special events. This year’s theme is “Opening Acts” and the key scripture is Acts 1:8 – “You shall be my witnesses.”

Robertson’s keynote highlights an opening Sunday schedule that begins with OC’s Fall Grand Concert at 2 p.m. The concert features the Chorale, Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and other groups from OC’s Department of Music.

The lectureship begins at 6:20 p.m. with worship led by Acappella Ministries founder Keith Lancaster. After the keynote, Christian Music Hall of Fame group Acappella will be in concert at 8:15 p.m.

In addition to the main activities, which take place in Hardeman Auditorium, Sunday night will feature a reception honoring Distinguished Professor of Bible Stafford North. North, a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, is retiring from Oklahoma Christian after a 61-year career as a faculty member and administrator.

“This year’s set of lectures, classes, meals, exhibits and fellowship will give people a great opportunity to learn the message of the book of Acts and put those lessons into action when they return home,” North said. “We are pleased to include a great number of OC alumni in our program this year. The quality of their lessons will show why we have good reason to be proud of our alumni.”

Monday’s lectureship sessions include 19 events discussing evangelism and how we can learn from the methods, people, principles and practices of the early church.

The annual Women’s Day program is Monday morning at Memorial Road Church of Christ. The activities, focused around the theme, “Women to Follow,” will be led by Angi Loveloy, AnneMarie McNally, Sada Knowles and Sally Shank.

OC alumnus Jerry Rushford, now a professor at Pepperdine University, will speak at the dinner keynote honoring preachers, elders and wives at 5:15 p.m. Monday.

Monday night’s keynote lecture, “We Cannot Help but Speak What We Have Seen and Heard,” is based on Acts 4:20. The speaker is Harold Shank, another OC alumnus who now serves as president of Ohio Valley University.

On Tuesday, the Lightfoot Preaching Lectures on Acts will feature Shank, Jim Baird, Gordon Dabbs, Tim Lewis and Kent Risley. The lectureship concludes Tuesday afternoon.

“This year’s lectureship continues our long tradition of great speakers bringing important messages. With great lessons for elders, preachers, youth ministers, and other church workers and members, this year’s event has much to offer,” OC president John deSteiguer said.

All sessions except the dinner are free and open to the public. For more information, call (405) 425-5141. A complete schedule is available at


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Wed, 30 Sep 2015 09:30:00 CDT 5c3e7ab3-a1bd-42b4-b9aa-140fb24985b9
Oklahoma Christian celebrates enrollment milestones OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) set records for undergraduate, graduate and overall enrollment this fall, surpassing 2,500 total students for the first time in school history.

Oklahoma Christian has 2,587 students enrolled, including a record 2,003 undergraduates. Bolstered by substantial growth in the Graduate School of Engineering and Computer Science, OC has 584 total master’s degree students enrolled, a 16 percent increase from last fall’s record high.

Overall, this is OC’s fourth straight year of record enrollment. The top 11 enrollment totals in OC history have come in the last 11 years.

“It’s exciting to see OC grow. Students come from all over our state, country and world because they crave the supportive home and successful future OC offers,” President John deSteiguer said. “I’m proud of our faculty and staff, who constantly seek innovative ways to teach and serve our students. OC is a place where lessons are learned, lives are changed and the world becomes better.”

This year also saw Oklahoma Christian set a school record and eclipse the national average for retention; 82 percent of last year’s first-time college students returned to OC this fall.

“The great people in our Student Life office are vital to retention because they invest in our students and help them get the most out of their college experience. In academics, our students rave about the invaluable mentoring relationships they have with our faculty scholars,” deSteiguer said. “I’m also pleased this retention record comes after we launched our Ethos spiritual life initiative last year; it shows that OC students are serious about growing in faith and serving others.”

OC has seven National Merit Scholars in this year’s freshman class and 40 overall, a per capita percentage that ranks among the state’s leaders. Thirty-nine percent of OC’s undergraduate students hail from Oklahoma while another 25 percent are from Texas.

Overall, OC’s student body comes from 45 states and 44 countries. More than 80 percent of OC undergraduates live on campus.

Oklahoma Christian is ranked as one of the best universities in the western United States by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. A recent study rated Oklahoma Christian as one of the best higher education values in Oklahoma, citing the university’s low net price combined with OC graduates’ high starting salaries.

OC offers undergraduate programs in more than 80 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.


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Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:15:00 CDT 77932a48-6608-48e0-bb82-9ede5363826c
OC’s history honor society receives its 21st Best Chapter award For two decades in a row and 21 times overall, OC’s history honor society has been recognized as a Best Chapter in the nation. The group’s academic sponsor, Distinguished Professor of History John Maple, humbly praised the students.

“As always, the students deserve the credit for this exciting achievement,” said Maple, who also serves chair of the department of history and political science. “We appreciate the on-campus support of these students as they pursue excellence in their academics.” 

OC’s chapter is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, an honor society for college history students and professors in the United States. The society hosts regional and national conferences in which more than 350,000 students from 860 chapters compete. The OC chapter, known as Tau Sigma, competed against other universities that had won five or more Best Chapter awards, and against schools that have up to 3,000 students. The latter category has more schools competing against each other than any other Phi Alpha Theta division.

“The long-term success that Tau Sigma has attained is a testament to the students’ hard work and Dr. Maple’s guiding wisdom,” said John deSteiguer, president of Oklahoma Christian. “These students continue to reflect well on OC in the state and across the nation.”

OC’s chapter engages in a number of activities for which it was recognized as a best chapter. Tau Sigma and OC’s department of history and political science hosted the Oklahoma Regional Conference, which featured students from multiple colleges and states. Five OC students presented their scholarship, and three students won, which was half of the undergraduate awards. Tau Sigma helped host History Day, an annual academic competition for 6th-12th graders on the OC campus. The chapter also hosted a talk by Ted McAllister, the Gaylord Chair of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. In addition, students hosted presentations from law school representatives, as well as other activities. 

Tau Sigma also entered volume 23 of the Oklahoma Christian University Journal of Historical Studies in the Phi Alpha Theta’s Nash History Journal competition. This year’s winners have not been announced, but the chapter has placed numerous times.

“Erin Bos did an excellent job as editor,” Maple said. “The journal includes three book reviews, two historiographic essays, one movie review and eight articles.”

The journal would not have been possible without a donation from the offices of Risa Forrester, vice president of enrollment and marketing, and Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. 

“Their help in covering the costs allowed for a first-class production,” Maple said.

The Best Chapter honor also comes with a $250 stipend.

“By winning this competition so many times, our history students have earned more than $5,000 to help fund library purchases at Oklahoma Christian,” said Maple.

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Fri, 18 Sep 2015 17:15:00 CDT eb70bc77-ab31-4abf-8808-dac5201e8bef
OC alumnus named America’s ‘Lawyer of the Year’ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University was recently named as 2016 Best Lawyers in America’s "Lawyer of the Year.”

Craig A. Fitzgerald of GableGotwals received the honor from Best Lawyers. Fitzgerald of Tulsa was recognized for his work in the categories of Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation-Antitrust and Litigation-Intellectual Property. Fitzgerald earned his bachelor’s degree from OC in 1989.

Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, making this accolade particularly significant. These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the peer-review assessments.

Additionally, Fitzgerald and OC alumni Oliver S. Howard and Eric R. King were named to the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers, the oldest and most-respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.

Fitzgerald was recognized for his work in the categories of Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation-Antitrust and Litigation-Intellectual Property.

Howard earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian in 1967. He was recognized for his work in the categories of Antitrust Law, Appellate Practice, Banking and Finance Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Compliance Law, Corporate Law, Employment Law-Management, Energy Law, Litigation-Banking and Finance, Litigation-Environmental, Litigation-Labor and Management, Litigation-Mergers and Acquisitions, Litigation-Securities, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Plaintiffs, Oil and Gas Law, Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants, Product Liability Litigation-Defendants and Product Liability Litigation-Plaintiffs.

King, a 1970 OC graduate, was recognized for his work in the categories of Energy Law, Litigation-Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy) and Oil and Gas Law.

Lawyers on the Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. Best Lawyers has published its list for more than three decades.

GableGotwals is a full-service law firm of more than 90 attorneys representing a diversified client base in Oklahoma, the Southwest and across the nation.


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Wed, 16 Sep 2015 14:30:00 CDT 0c018bd9-3816-4f67-9490-de74bcb06b83
OC faculty and staff preaching in 24 churches in September Oklahoma Christian University is proud to give back to churches in the Oklahoma City area this month. Twenty-two members of OC’s faculty and staff will preach to 24 churches of Christ in September.

This is an annual service that OC offers as part of its church relations outreach. Other cities in which OC has provided this service include Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Tulsa.

“Every three years, we preach in churches in Oklahoma City,” Distinguished Professor of Bible Stafford North said. “This allows us to give back to area churches, and for them to learn more about OC.”

OC’s preaching outreach precedes its annual Lectureship, held Oct. 4-6, which focuses on the book of Acts this year.

“Our Lectureship and preaching outreach allow us to meet our higher calling to churches of Christ,” North said. “We want to provide resources that will help churches develop spiritual growth.”

Other services include the monthly Good News newsletter about church success stories, the Christian Chronicle, an international newspaper for churches of Christ, the monthly preacher’s luncheon on campus, seminars presented to individual churches, and the eBible Study tools on OC’s website.

“The eBible Study offers 20 series of lessons for teachers and preachers to use in their churches,” North said. “The lessons are broken down into quarters, and they have been downloaded more than 100,000 times.”

OC also offers the Center for Global Missions, the Intergenerational Faith Center, the Man of God newsletter for those interested in preaching, listings of ministry openings and links to useful ministry sources. To learn more about OC’s services to churches, visit

Upcoming OC preaching dates
September 6 - Alameda - Kent Allen
September 13 - Oakdale - Bill Goad
September 20 - Central (Moore) - Stafford North
September 20 - Cherokee Hills - Clint LaRue
September 20 - Choctaw - Michael Mitchell
September 20 - Eastside (Midwest City) - Curtis Janz
September 20 - Edmond - Doug Peters
September 20 - Mayfair - Philip Patterson
September 20 - Memorial Road - Brian Simmons
September 20 - New Hope - Mike O’Neal
September 20 - North MacArthur - Kent Allen
September 20 - Piedmont - John Harrison
September 20 - Southwest - Bill Goad
September 20 - The Way - Robert Davis
September 20 - Westwood - Byron Newberry
September 27 - Britton Road - Kent Hartman
September 27 - Del City - Ben Langford
September 27 - Mustang - Doug Peters
September 27 - Northeast - John Harrison
September 27 - Northwest - Grant Testut
September 27 - Southern Ridge - Stafford North
September 27 - Wilshire - Bob Carpenter
October 4 - Eastside (Oklahoma City) - Scott LaMascus
Each Wednesday - South Yukon - Jim Dvorak

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Fri, 11 Sep 2015 17:45:00 CDT 4e73941e-2402-462a-9832-3a2fa4bedd0f
OC honored among Best Regional Universities by U.S. News OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges 2016” guidebook ranks Oklahoma Christian University (OC) among the best universities in the western United States.

OC is 42nd in the 15-state western region and second among Oklahoma schools in the “Best Regional Universities” category, which lists institutions that provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.

Tuesday’s rankings release marked the 17th straight year U.S. News & World Report has honored Oklahoma Christian. Last month, The Princeton Review also recognized Oklahoma Christian on its “Best in the West” list.

“Rankings like these never get old because they validate the hard work and talent of our students, faculty and staff,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “I also never tire of hearing from leaders here in Oklahoma City and beyond, who constantly brag on the big impact OC students and graduates make in their organizations. These measures and more show that an Oklahoma Christian degree continues to carry enormous value.”

The U.S. News Best Colleges rankings assess seven broad categories: undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rates. The full rankings are available online at

Oklahoma Christian made notable gains from last year in freshman retention, alumni giving and faculty resources, with OC’s student-faculty ratio shrinking to 14/1 even as enrollment grew to a record 2,479 students.

In addition to being among the state’s leaders with 40 National Merit Finalists enrolled, Oklahoma Christian earned recognition on the U.S. News list of “A+ Schools for B Students,” which identifies great colleges where scholars with high school GPAs in the B range can be accepted and thrive.

OC’s academic reputation is further seen in placement rates at or near 100 percent for accounting, communication design, history, interior design, language and literature, nursing, and political science graduates seeking jobs or acceptance into graduate school and law school.

OC biology graduates have a 90 percent acceptance rate to medical and graduate schools, and almost 100 percent of OC Honors Program graduates have been accepted to graduate school the past six years.

OC’s chapter of the National History Honor Society has earned national top chapter honors for 20 straight years. Last year, The Princeton Review and PC Gamer ranked OC’s game design program as the No. 14 undergraduate program in the nation.

Oklahoma Christian also is one of just two members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities with three undergraduate engineering programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

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


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Tue, 08 Sep 2015 23:15:00 CDT f0ab5c5e-26f9-4850-8eb0-921e6a59dc75
Ibaka, Goff headline OC Associates Gala OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and best-selling author Bob Goff will be the featured guests at Oklahoma Christian University’s Associates Gala, scheduled for Sept. 17 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

OC will present the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award to Ibaka, whose philanthropic work through his foundation and through Pros for Africa has blessed thousands.

The award is named for Smith, a longtime friend of Oklahoma Christian who is a tireless proponent of Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma. Previous honorees include University of Oklahoma basketball coaches Sherri Coale and Jan Ross (both OC alumni); Oklahoma City mayors Mick Cornett, Kirk Humphreys and Ron Norick; former Oklahoma governors and first ladies George and Donna Nigh, Frank and Cathy Keating, and Brad and Kim Henry; and Oklahoma City meteorologists Gary England, Damon Lane and Mike Morgan.

“We’re honored to have the opportunity to recognize Serge Ibaka with this unique award. Both on and off the court, Serge has become an important part of the Oklahoma City community, and he truly embodies the Oklahoma standard,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “His heart for helping others is a great example to all of us as we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus both here at home and abroad.”

Ibaka is an Oklahoma City fan favorite who has started every game he has played over the past four seasons, averaging 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots per game in that span. A three-team selection to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, Ibaka has helped lead the Thunder to four division championships and the 2012 NBA Finals. He also won a silver medal with Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Growing up, Ibaka lived with his grandmother in a house with no electricity or running water during the 1990s civil unrest in the Congo. He learned the game of basketball playing on outdoor courts wearing shoes with cardboard inserts to cover the holes in the soles.

As seen in the ESPN documentary, Son of the Congo, Ibaka often returns to his homeland as part of his efforts to improve the lives of underprivileged children. This year’s Pros for Africa Gala raised more than $300,000 for Serge Ibaka Foundation efforts in the Congo and for Sister Rosemary’s Girls, an organization that aids young women in Africa.

Goff, the Associates Gala’s keynote speaker, is the New York Times best-selling author of Love Does, which encourages readers to live a lifestyle that fiercely seeks out ways of showing love.

All proceeds from Love Does support The Mentoring Project, an Oklahoma City-based organization that develops relational mentors to fatherless children, and Restore International, a human rights organization Goff founded that pursues justice, intervention and education for at-risk women and children in Uganda, India and Somalia.

Goff is Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States, works as a lead attorney in the Washington law firm Goff and DeWalt, and serves as an adjunct law professor at Pepperdine University and Point Loma Nazarene University.

“Bob is one of the most fun-loving, thought-provoking speakers I’ve ever heard,” deSteiguer said. “He lives boldly and loves boldly, and that’s opened the door to life-changing friendships and experiences for Bob and many, many others. I can’t wait to hear what he’ll share with our audience at the Associates Gala.”

This will be OC’s 13th-annual Associates Gala. For ticket and table sponsorship pricing, contact Oklahoma Christian University’s Advancement Office at (405) 425-5094 or by email at 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, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.

The 2015-16 academic year opened last week with a student body expected to be the largest in OC history when the university conducts its official census later this month. The past decade has featured the university’s top 10 enrollments all-time, including a record 2,479 students last year.


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Mon, 07 Sep 2015 10:45:00 CDT 8f6221eb-6bcc-4194-8004-d2795ae4c10e
OC hosts free Museum of the Bible exhibit OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will host a traveling exhibit of Museum of the Bible in September.

Sacra Pagina features centuries-old artifacts that highlight ways people approach and study the Bible. Admission is free to the exhibit, which will be on display in OC’s Garvey Center Art Gallery from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday from Sept. 2 through Sept. 18 (with the exception of Labor Day on Sept. 7).

Some of the exhibit’s highlights include: 13th-century letters from Jerome, the person responsible for the Latin Vulgate (the Bible used by Roman Catholics); Erasmus’s Greek New Testament from 1521, which was used in the construction of the King James Version of the Bible; Martin Luther’s 16th-century translation of the New Testament, which was a driving force behind the Protestant Reformation; the Bodmer Papyri; and a replica of a portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

More information about the exhibit and featured artifacts is available at

“The Green family’s impact has been deep and wide in our community and, really, all over the world,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “OC students are blessed with opportunities to visit the Green Collection of biblical texts and artifacts here in Oklahoma City. And now, we’re excited to display a portion of the collection here on the Oklahoma Christian campus for the public to experience and enjoy.”

The Green Collection is a compilation of around 40,000 objects that includes some of the rarest and most significant biblical texts and artifacts ever assembled under one roof. In addition to traveling exhibits like the September showing at Oklahoma Christian, guests will be able to experience the collection year-round when Museum of the Bible opens its 430,000-square-foot museum in Washington, D.C., in 2017.

“Having a portion of the Museum of the Bible’s collection on campus allows students and visitors to have a truly unique experience with biblical related artifacts,” Professor of New Testament and Ministry John Harrison said. “Walking through the exhibit, visitors will see for themselves significant items that tell the large story of how the Bible has been received and passed on for thousands of years. Many visitors will walk away from this exhibit with a new or greater appreciation for the impact the Bible has made on so many people and cultures.”

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, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.

The 2015-16 academic year opens next Monday with a student body expected to be the largest in OC history. The past decade has featured the university’s top 10 enrollments all-time, including a record 2,479 students last year.


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Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:00:00 CDT e929b8bc-f6bf-45fb-ac34-f80bad1df466
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
Pianist Charles Rix to perform as OC hosts the CCLA OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Academic librarians from around the nation will visit Oklahoma Christian University next week for the annual conference of the Christian College Librarians Association. 

As part of the conference, accomplished classical pianist Dr. Charles Rix will perform a free concert on May 21 at 8 p.m. Rix, a professor of Bible at OC, has performed around the world, including St. Petersburg, Russia, and he has been a finalist in international competitions in Paris and New York City.

During Rix’s performance, he will explain each musical work’s significance and ties to literary and spiritual influences. The concert will be held in OC’s Adams Recital Hall in the Garvey Center, though seating is limited.

“Two works will make up the centerpiece of the concert,” Rix said. “The first is by Franz Liszt, in which he quotes the Bible, John 4:14, in Latin in the score. The music encompasses the symbolism of fountains and was one of the masterworks of the greatest keyboardist of the 19th century. The next piece is Ravel’s impressionist fountain music that was based on Liszt’s work. These represented a turning point in the piano literature, especially Liszt’s music that was so rooted in Scripture.”

Rix’s performance will also feature a Mozart sonata and a Liszt rhapsody.

The CCLA conference is hosted by a different college each year. The first meeting in 1974 was held on the OC campus and organized by Dr. Bailey McBride, a beloved professor at OC who retired recently. The purpose of the CCLA is to engage in cooperative projects that enhance the services offered by Christian college libraries and to facilitate communication and resource-sharing among those libraries.

Tamie Willis, professor of library science and director of OC’s Beam Library, is organizing the conference this year. She wanted to provide an entertaining evening for attendees and felt Rix would be the perfect fit.

“Charles is such a wonderful, talent, and he is so generous with his time,” Willis said. “He really got excited about performing for librarians and sharing with us the literary and spiritual themes of the music.”

The concert provides another opportunity for Rix to combine his many talents. Rix is an associate professor of Bible and chair of undergraduate Bible programs at OC. He recently published a series of essays exploring connections between the Bible, the Shoah and the artwork of post-Holocaust painter Samuel Bak.

For several years, Rix has taken a small group of OC students to African Christian College to participate in summer teaching and service projects. When he was just 17, he won first prize at the Houston Symphony Piano Competition, and he was awarded the best performance of a major contemporary piano composition at the 2002 New York City International Piano Competition.

In addition to Rix’s performance, the CCLA conference will feature a presentation from Dr. Elizabeth Parsons, a lecturer in religion, culture and development at Boston University School of Theology. Parsons will draw from her newly published book, “The Greatest Work in the World: Education as a Mission of Early Twentieth Century Churches of Christ, Letters of Lloyd Cline Sears and Pattie Hathaway Armstrong.”

Sears married Armstrong and he graduated and taught at Cordell Christian College in Oklahoma, and Parsons is their granddaughter. She will speak May 21 at 9 a.m. in room 124 of the Williams Branch Center. For more information on the CCLA, visit


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Fri, 15 May 2015 09:40:00 CDT 2cb14d28-d517-4191-9fcf-8547c860617b
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 hosts student success expert OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Last week, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) welcomed one of the world’s top experts on student success in college.

Dr. Vincent Tinto was on campus April 28-29 for workshops with OC administrators, faculty and staff to emphasize his research and writings on the impact of student engagement and learning communities on retention.

“Dr. Tinto is the foremost expert in the realm of student success,” OC vice president for academic affairs Scott LaMascus said. “He studied Oklahoma Christian in preparation for his visit, and I was thrilled to hear his general and tailored thoughts on student success at OC.”

LaMascus has drawn from Tinto’s work in cultivating a vision for OC’s present and future. That vision includes establishing the university’s Student Success Center as OC’s Higher Learning Commission quality initiative. The center partners with academic programs to promote personal and academic responsibility as students transition through their OC experience.

“The number of returning students at OC is looking very strong for the fall,” Student Success Center director Amy Janzen said. “It is really due to a group effort between faculty, staff, Freshman Experience, our Student Success Center and just about everyone on campus focused on the best outcomes for our students.”

Tinto is a distinguished university professor emeritus at Syracuse University. He has more than 50 notable publications, including his most recent book, “Completing College.” He has received numerous awards, including the Council of Opportunity in Education’s Walter O. Mason Award in 2012 for his work on the retention of low-income students and the 2015 Harry S. Truman Award from the American Association of Community Colleges.

He previously was the associate director of the National Center for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. He serves on a number of advisory boards, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and the Lumina Foundation.

During his OC visit, Tinto addressed steps that administrators, faculty and staff can take to achieve measurable results that improve the quality of education students receive at Oklahoma Christian.

“Greater engagement in learning activities in the classroom, especially those that are seen as meaningful and validating, leads to greater time and effort students put into their studies, which, in turn, heightens academic performance and retention,” Tinto said.

According to LaMascus, engagement is a strength on which OC can build.

“Student success is incredibly important for our students, and engaging with students in meaningful experiences and relationships is a hallmark of this campus,” he said. “Our emphasis on improving the quality of an OC education is having a positive impact right now.”

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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Wed, 06 May 2015 09:00:00 CDT 3b3999e9-2bce-4e2e-ad49-d55a7f38e9b2
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