News RSS Feed OC students screen film at international festival OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Media students from Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will screen their independent film “Dispirited!” at the Red Dirt International Film Festival this week in Stillwater, Okla.

Dispirited! was created by OC’s 2013 class of Advanced Creative Productions, taught by Eagle Broadcasting Director David Jurney. It will be screened for the public at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19 and at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 at Oklahoma State University.

This 15-minute film included work from OC’s communication and theatre departments. It stars Stillwater resident Tony Payne as a dispirited man who goes through life motionless and distant from friends and family. After encountering an unexpected visitor, the man is forced to face the demons of his past before losing his sanity.

It was filmed and edited by Travis Gerard, Caleb Henry, Chad Holmes, David Knox, Travis Pauley, Kendall Sandhop and Tiffani Seeley. The actors included Payne, Krista Forrester, Tulle Jurney and Sandra Peck. An original musical score was composed, recorded and performed for the film.

“We made a film that we hope is both entertaining and moving and we want to share that with people,” David Jurney said. “For the students that worked on it, we hope it will be something that opens doors for them.”

This is the second independent film that Jurney and his class have produced. Their film, Dead Tired, was shown at the 2013 Trail Dance Film Festival in Duncan, Okla.

The Red Dirt International Film Festival shows a variety of films, ranging from full-length movies and documentaries to short films and music videos. In 2013, the festival featured films from all seven continents. 

In addition to more than 100 film screenings, the festival will include vendors, musical entertainment and other special events.

To watch the Dispirited! teaser trailer or for more information, go to, or

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


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Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:45:00 CDT c6c0db0d-05e8-4e3f-a3de-81ed2f098e93
OC hosts lecture on social justice and U.S. policy OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will host distinguished lecturer and author Ted McAllister on Monday, Sept. 22.

McAllister, who holds the Edward L. Gaylord Chair of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, will speak on “Social Justice and the Crisis of American Public Policy.” The free lecture begins at 7 p.m. in OC’s Adams Recital Hall. A question-and-answer session will follow.

“He’s an authority on politics, said John Maple, chair of OC’s Department of History and Political Science. “He is going to make a cogent argument and provide interesting analysis of how the crises of fundamentally different political philosophies hinder government progress.”

For the first several centuries in American history, McAllister argues, there was a common political philosophy and American politics were based on similar views of what was right and proper.

A shift since the turn of the century has prompted McAllister to ask if the progressive form of social justice is fundamentally hostile to the American understanding of public policy and inconsistent with cultural, social and political experiences.

McAllister graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1983 with a degree in history and minors in political science and English. He also holds a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University and a doctorate in American Intellectual History from Vanderbilt University.

He has taught at Vanderbilt University, the University of the South and Hillsdale College. He also was a Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University.

McAllister has authored “Revolt Against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order” and co-edited “Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America.” He served as the editor of the “American Intellectual Culture” book series and is working on a book about Walter Lippmann and the problem of authority in modern Liberalism.

In addition to his public lecture, McAllister will speak at two OC classes, “Contemporary Political Ideologies” and “History of American Political Thought,” and host a dinner for select students interested in pursuing public policy.

“Anyone with an interest in the contemporary political scene and serious discussion of it would enjoy this lecture,” Maple said. “It will be a full day of enrichment for those who are interested in politics and public policy in the broadest sense.”

For more information, call (405) 425-6300 or email

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


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Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:30:00 CDT 4d3e420d-0214-4098-9967-2e42cfe37e42
OC set to honor Coale, Ross at Associates Gala OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Two University of Oklahoma coaches will receive the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award at the Oklahoma Christian University (OC) Associates Gala Thursday.

Sherri Coale, the head women’s basketball coach at OU, and Jan Ross, an assistant coach for the Sooners, will be the first OC alumni to receive the award, which honors individuals who have devoted themselves to the betterment of Oklahoma.

The award is named for Smith, a tireless proponent of Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma. Previous winners include 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 weathermen Gary England, Damon Lane and Mike Morgan.

“We are thrilled to honor OC alumni Sherri Coale and Jan Ross with the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “They are examples of great ambassadors of our state and who live exemplary lives and impact young people for good.”

Coale was an Academic All-American at Oklahoma Christian who graduated summa cum laude in 1987 after serving as team captain for three conference championship teams. Ross graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1986 after a decorated career; she was an NAIA honorable mention All-America, All-District IV and All-Sooner Athletic Conference selection in addition to earning NAIA Scholar-Athlete and Who’s Who honors for the Lady Eagles.

Together, Coale and Ross helped resurrect the OU women’s basketball program and turn it into a national power. Since they joined forces in Norman in 1996, the Sooners have won 10 Big 12 championships (six regular season, four tournament) and made nine Sweet 16 appearances, including a trip to the 2002 NCAA national championship game and back-to-back NCAA Final Four appearances in 2009 and 2010.

Their program also is known for its academic excellence and for giving back to the community, including service as volunteer mentors and teachers’ aides at local elementary schools. In 2011, the Sooners earned the United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award after taking a mission trip to Haiti following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

The OC Associates Gala begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. OC Associates receive two complimentary tickets to the dinner and may purchase extra tickets for $75 each. Tickets are available by calling (405) 425-5094 or via email at

“The Associates Gala is always a highlight event at Oklahoma Christian,” deSteiguer said. “It’s our time to thank donors, celebrate our students and alumni, and share the good news about our university.”

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, 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.


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Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:00:00 CDT ae3a1e83-abf3-4bbe-8cf8-8939dfa770b1
OC lands on U.S. News ‘Best Regional University’ and A+ lists OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) ranks among the top 40 regional universities in the western United States, according to U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2015” guidebook.

Oklahoma Christian rose to No. 40 in this year’s 15-state western rankings and is the No. 2 Oklahoma school in the “Best Regional Universities” category.

In addition to having the most National Merit Finalists per capita of all Church of Christ universities, Oklahoma Christian earned recognition on the U.S. News & World Report 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.

This is the 16th straight year U.S. News & World Report has honored Oklahoma Christian. 

“We are thrilled to be honored again as one of the best universities in the west,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “I’m also proud of this recognition of our A+ approach to B students. It speaks to the heart and quality of our professors, who work alongside our students to bring out their best and help them discover their gifts.”

The U.S. News & World Report Best College 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

Last month, The Princeton Review again recognized Oklahoma Christian on its “Best in the West” list. In addition, The Princeton Review and PC Gamer recently ranked OC’s game design program as the No. 14 undergraduate program in the nation

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 95 percent medical and graduate school acceptance rate, and 100 percent of OC Honors Program graduates have been accepted to graduate school the past four years. OC’s chapter of the National History Honor Society has earned national top chapter honors for 17 straight years.

Oklahoma Christian 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.

OC also boasts the second-highest state education certification exam pass rate in Oklahoma, and is on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Oklahoma Christian 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 OC’s 10 highest enrollments ever, including a new school record this fall.


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Mon, 08 Sep 2014 23:01:00 CDT 34fc4b69-dcc1-4347-af8b-8bb0cfd2ad42
$2 million gift helps fund OC 'spiritual life reboot' OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Thanks in part to a $2 million gift, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) students have a new way to build their “life resume” this fall.

Ethos, OC’s new spiritual life program, provides multiple ways for students to grow in faith, serve others and worship God. OC students can fulfill their Spiritual Life requirements through daily Chapel services, mission trips, service projects, Bible studies and other options.

About a quarter of the anonymous $2 million gift is funding the launch of the Ethos initiative. In total, 11 givers have donated almost $600,000 toward Ethos since OC’s Thrive fundraising campaign launched in June.

“Ethos is valuable for OC students because it will help them build a resume of the whole person they’re becoming – not just academically, but in their service, leadership, community and spiritual dimensions, too,” Director of Ethos Summer Lashley said. “This is about more than helping students get jobs after graduation. It’s about students living a full life so they can become who God wants them to be.”

Ethos is rooted in Mark 12:30-31, where Jesus identified the greatest commands: to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The program encourages OC students to pursue their interests and use their talents in five dimensions: Community, Discipleship, Discovery, Servanthood and Worship.

Most of OC’s student body is already involved in service and ministry opportunities, many of which now count toward students’ Spiritual Life requirements through Ethos’ Servanthood component. The Worship component includes daily Chapel, an important OC tradition since the university began in 1950.

“Spiritual Life is at the core of the OC experience. OC students are known for actively living out their faith and reaching out to help others in community,” President John deSteiguer said. “But Ethos can be a game changer in the way it helps our students practice spiritual disciplines and become intentional about their spiritual lives.”

OC’s ultimate goal for full implementation of Ethos is $1 million. Meeting that goal will start a fund to help students, faculty and staff members go on mission campaigns, provide leadership training and development for students, fund technical support and updates for the Ethos mobile application, and furnish on-campus venues for Bible studies and other gatherings. Information about donating toward Ethos can be found at

“Ethos represents a meaningful and relevant paradigm shift for our OC family,” Director of Advancement Operations Will Blanchard said. “We will be intentional in cultivating a campus where the Spirit lives and breathes, where students and employees serve alongside one another to meet the needs of our community, and where groups of Eagles regularly and personally worship and grow together.”

More information about this unique spiritual life initiative is available at

University friends have donated three separate seven-figure gifts to Oklahoma Christian this month. A $1 million donation by Benton and Paula Baugh of Houston, Texas, provided the startup capital for OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Food service provider U Dining gave $1 million toward the renovation of OC’s dining hall.

Oklahoma Christian opened its 65th academic year Monday with what is expected to be another record-setting student body when enrollment is certified in September. The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest total enrollments ever, including a record 2,424 students in 2013-14.

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


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Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:00:00 CDT bd9b2b8c-e855-4548-8da5-9c1818193127
$1 million sets table for cafeteria remodel OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University’s Thrive campaign continues to pay big dividends with another seven-figure financial commitment to OC. Food service provider U Dining has given $1 million toward the university’s “Campus Café Reboot.”

Possible renovations with this project, which will require $3 million in Thrive donations, could include the addition of fixed seating and modern food stations to enhance students’ campus dining experience. The project also could also remove exterior walls from OC’s dining area, opening it up to natural light and expanding the entry into the food service area.

“This is really, really big. We are going to dramatically upgrade our dining experience for our students, and they’ll be excited as they see things roll out in this renovation,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “U Dining has been a great partner for years, and we’re already blessed to have food options that rank among the best of any school our size. This commitment sets the table for the exciting next chapter in our relationship.”

Since succeeding Sodexo as OC’s food service provider in 2009, U Dining has donated more than $85,000 to OC student missions, organizations and events in addition to $70,000 in food donations. U Dining vice president Kurt Hermanson is entering his 26th year working at Oklahoma Christian and is an honorary alumnus of the university.

“After we saw this project on the Thrive menu, we wanted to plant the seed and spark interest in this venture that is near and dear to us,” Hermanson said. “We believe in OC’s administration and the direction the university is going. This commitment shows our faith in Oklahoma Christian. As OC grows, it helps our growth and enables us to give more back to the school.”

Bolstered by the $1 million from U Dining, OC officials hope to have the Campus Café Reboot funded during this academic year in order to begin renovations next summer. Information about donating to the project can be found at

Oklahoma Christian announced a separate seven-figure Thrive gift earlier this month. A $1 million donation by Benton and Paula Baugh of Houston, Texas, provided the startup capital for OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. OC reorganized those programs into their own college because of their strength and popularity.

Oklahoma Christian opened its 65th academic year Monday with what is expected to be another record-setting student body when enrollment is certified in September. The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest total enrollments ever, including a record 2,424 students in 2013-14.

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


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Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:00:00 CDT 2dd71b4b-75aa-4286-87ab-86ced4bfbd6c
OC receives $1 million gift for College of Engineering and Computer Science OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – For the second year in a row, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) is the beneficiary of a seven-figure gift from a special couple in Houston, Texas.

This week, OC announced a $1 million gift from Benton and Paula Baugh to serve as startup capital for the university’s newly reorganized College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Just last year, the Baughs gave $1.7 million to endow a preaching chair in OC’s College of Biblical Studies.

“Our society desperately needs talented, Christian engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists as leaders for tomorrow,” said Dr. Byron Newberry, formerly the chair of OC’s Graduate School of Engineering who now serves as dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The generosity of the Baugh family will help grow OC’s influence in these fields. Their gift will help us continue to mentor students to see their talents as more than simply a means to a career, but as tools to serve others, much like Benton has done in his life.”

Benton is an energy engineer and inventor with 50 years of experience in oilfield and sub-sea systems. He holds more than 100 patents and founded Radoil, Inc. He has previously worked with Newberry, donating patents to OC’s ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in computer, electrical and mechanical engineering so faculty and students could develop new solutions to practical problems.

“We are incredibly honored by Benton and Paula’s generous hearts for our students and their strong belief in OC’s mission,” President John deSteiguer said. “Their investment is an exciting challenge for us to pursue an even higher level of excellence in our engineering and computer science programs.”

Though the Baughs did not attend Oklahoma Christian, they have fallen in love with the university through an OC trustee who serves as their minister at Memorial Church of Christ in Houston. David Duncan and his wife Barbara are 1989 OC alumni, and their passion for the university rubbed off on the Baughs.

“Ever since they learned about OC through the Duncans, Benton and Paula have been fascinated with this Christian university and its thriving engineering programs,” Vice President for Advancement Kent Allen said. “They were very impressed with Byron’s leadership, and Benton has even said that if he were starting his career again, he would choose OC. This gift truly speaks to their generous hearts.”

The Baughs’ gift is one of the most significant donations announced thus far for OC’s Thrive campaign, which launched in June. The $30 million campaign is helping fund 30 high-impact, student-focused projects over the next three years.

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

The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest total enrollments ever, including a record 2,424 students in 2013-14. Another record enrollment is expected for the 2014-15 academic year, which begins next Monday.


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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:00:00 CDT 1d5398fd-6979-4540-aed3-414c393e1c41
OC earns Princeton Review honors again OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Princeton Review honored Oklahoma Christian University (OC) as one of the best colleges in the western United States, placing OC among the top 25 percent of all four-year colleges nationwide.

The Princeton Review recognized 124 colleges in the western region, composed of 15 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Six other Oklahoma universities joined Oklahoma Christian on the “best colleges” list: the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City University, Oral Roberts University, and the University of Tulsa.

“We’re pleased to recommend these colleges as the best schools to earn their undergrad degrees,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher. “We chose these as our ‘regional best’ colleges mainly for their excellent academic programs.”

The schools in The Princeton Review’s “2015 Best Colleges: Region by Region” website section are determined through institutional data, campus visits, college counselor recommendations, and independent student surveys.

OC students surveyed by The Princeton Review praised the student body’s unifying faith in God, a campus atmosphere where “everyone is willing to get along,” and a diverse community that includes a strong percentage of international students and “Third Culture Kids,” students who grew up overseas and identify with more than one culture.

The Princeton Review’s full list is available at

Earlier this year, The Princeton Review honored OC as the No. 14 undergraduate school in the U.S. and Canada to study video game design. Oklahoma Christian joined the University of Southern California and the University of Utah as the only schools in the western United States in the top 15.

Oklahoma Christian also is recognized as a “Best University – Master’s” in U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”

“OC’s students, faculty and staff are second to none. That’s seen in honors like this and in the remarkable impact our graduates make in the United States and around the world,” OC president John deSteiguer said.

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

The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest total enrollments ever, including a record 2,424 students in 2013-14. Another record enrollment is expected for the 2014-15 academic year, which begins next Monday.


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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:00:00 CDT c6b6fbf8-9c03-42ee-abb4-b1bca84f3e4d
Oklahoma Christian presents graduate degrees OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will present 96 graduate degrees at its summer commencement ceremony on Aug. 16.

The ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium. Live video of the ceremony will be streamed online at

The degree candidates come from eight states and 12 countries, and represent a combined 13 areas of study in OC’s Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Engineering.

The candidates include Innocent Kabandana, who will receive his master of business administration degree. Kabandana, who serves as brigadier general for the nation of Rwanda, is the highest-ranking military official ever to graduate from Oklahoma Christian.

Overall, the 71 recipients of OC’s MBA 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 25 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.

Mickey Cowan, a professor of accounting at Oklahoma Christian, will serve as Saturday’s commencement speaker. He has more than 40 years of classroom and practical experience in the accounting field, including 14 years as a professor at Oklahoma Christian.

Cowan holds three accounting degrees from Oklahoma State University and has been a practicing certified accountant for 35 years. He has developed and taught CPE courses for groups such as the Chickasaw Nation, East Central Continuing Education, Kerr-McGee, the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Propane Dealers of Oklahoma.

He has worked as an auditor for Crawford and Associates, executive director for the East Central University Foundation, Inc., and consultant for Bridge Enterprise Consultants, LLC. He is a frequent speaker on ethics for various organizations, including the state auditor of Oklahoma and the OSCPA.

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 nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 455 graduate students and 2,424 total students in the latest academic year.


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Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:00:00 CDT 7377bc8e-652e-4c9b-92ac-e68588e3aa0c
President deSteiguer appears on Mayor's Magazine Oklahoma Christian University president John deSteiguer was a special guest on the July edition of Mayor's Magazine, hosted by Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett.

President deSteiguer discussed OC's innovative Thrive campaign, recent campus enhancements like the Eagle Trail, and another year of record enrollment at the university.

Click the video above to watch Mayor Cornett's interview with President deSteiguer. Click here to watch the program in its entirety.


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Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:00:00 CDT e9a52d49-3e49-4b9a-b109-52e9bb912607
Evidence points to popularity of crime-scene class at OC’s Honors Academy By Matt Patterson, Courtesy of The Oklahoman

The chemistry lab inside Vose Hall at Oklahoma Christian University appears to have morphed into a crime scene.

There are two bodies on the tile floor of the lab, the apparent victims of gunshot wounds. As the victims lie there, investigators process the scene, looking for clues. Yellow crime-scene tape blocks the entryway.

The simulated crime scene is part of the school’s summer Honors Academy for high school juniors. During two weeks of camp, students who have achieved academic success at their high schools can get a taste of what college is like.

About 150 students from 24 states took part in the academy, filling their time by building robots, designing video games and solving crimes in the forensic science class in Vose Hall.

“At this level, it’s not exactly how it is done, but it gives them the experience and it shows them that it’s not always like it is on TV either,” associate chemistry professor Howard Vogel said of his “In Cold Blood” class. “This gives them a chance to see how hard it can be to process a crime scene.”

Erica Mathis came to the academy from Mountain Home, Ark. She enjoyed her “In Cold Blood” class experience, which included testing dollar bills for cocaine residue. For the record, about 98 percent of the bills tested by the class had traces of the drug.

This is the first year the class has been offered.

“I feel kind of special to be one of the first students,” Mathis said. “Early in the week, we learned about illegal drugs and which ones get the highest penalties. I enjoy the detective aspect of it. You learn how to be careful collecting evidence and to focus on small details.”

Vogel said the students enjoyed the lab work the most.

“This has been a popular course,” he said. “I’ve taught it as a freshman college course, but that would be an entire semester. The fact that the subject of forensic science has been popular on TV shows like ‘CSI’ or ‘Breaking Bad’ has added a lot of mystique to forensics.”

For more information on next year’s Honors Academy, go to

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:00:00 CDT 134471c5-c75f-47c0-91b0-30ae93db0c98
OC alumni and students in Acappella bring “Good News” to prisoners Oklahoma Christian University is proud of its extensive ties with Christian signing group Acappella. The group enjoyed a special experience performing for the second year in a row for an audience hungry for the Good News. Acappella performed at the Grimes Correctional Facility in Newport, Arkansas this week.

“While it was bittersweet to see familiar faces from our prior visits, there's a sweet, sweet spirit in that place,” bass singer and OC employee Wes McKinzie said.

A member of the Christian Music Hall of Fame, Acappella has sold more than three million units and toured every continent on the globe since the group formed in 1982.

The group’s five members have all graduated or attended OC. Since 2009, members receive a scholarship to attend OC through a unique partnership between the university and the Acappella Company. This partnership builds on a long history between OC and Acappella; 21 former or current OC students have served with the Acappella Company through the years.

After releasing the landmark album "Sweet Fellowship," Acappella signed with Word Records (and later Epic Records), and saw its popularity soar with releases such as “Rescue,” “We Have Seen His Glory” and “Set Me Free.” The song “More Precious Than Gold” became the centerpiece of a Sony Camcorder national television commercial. The group’s "Radiance" album won the 2007 CARA Award for Best Religious Album.

Just a few weeks ago, Acappella performed the national anthem before the Texas Rangers baseball game at Globe-Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The performance was part of “OC Night With the Texas Rangers.”

Those nearby to OC can catch the group perform again soon. Acappella will perform Aug. 1 at Oklahoma Christian Academy’s gospel meeting in Edmond, Oklahoma. 

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:10:00 CDT 6805a7dc-d533-410d-8921-e3ab130ac171
Families from 43 countries attend Global Reunion 2014 at OC For the ninth year in a row, OC will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014. The camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus from July 23-27. 

The camp is for children aged 13 and older who are known as Third Culture Kids, though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.

“TCKs have both the culture of their parents, the culture of the country they have grown up in, and they develop from these a third culture which is uniquely their own,” Nancy Hartman said. “TCKs have American parents, look and sound like Americans and are expected to know and understand an American culture that is foreign to them.”

At Global Reunion, campers learn to deal with the grief, hidden losses, identity confusion and divided loyalties that can accompany cross-cultural moves. The camp is also filled with fun activities that will help the campers embrace their situation and thrive in it. 

In addition to OC, Global Reunion is co-hosted by InterMission, a group of former missionaries committed to supporting missionaries. InterMission was co-founded by the Hartmans and Memorial Road church of Christ in Oklahoma City. There are also many volunteers from local churches who provide meals for the campers. 

According to Kent Hartman, Global Reunion is the only camp of its kind in the world that combines classes for college-age and teen TCKs that also has classes for parents. It is also the only camp of its kind among churches of Christ.

“Global Reunion has put OC on the map in missionary and military circles around the world,” he said. “We are often referred to in those circles as ‘the university that cares about missionary and military families’ and the place to send TCKs when they reach university age.”

In recent years, OC has had an increase in the number of TCKs who call OC home. More than 60 students meet during the year, often with the Hartmans. They enjoy activities and relationships for successful living in their world of changing cultures and transitions. More information about the camp and program can be found at

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:33:00 CDT cb49b96e-2007-48ae-b797-6adeb1b6ccc0
Oklahoman features highly-ranked game design program The Oklahoman featured a full-page article on Oklahoma Christian University's Gaming and Animation, ranked No. 14 in the nation by The Princeton Review and PC Gamer.

Click here to read the feature story by Matt Patterson from The Oklahoman's June 13 edition.

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Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00:00 CDT bf8fa4d3-f493-49b2-8ac9-efc1f964096b
Mission work essential for OC nursing students By James Coburn, Courtesy of Oklahoma’s Nursing Times

As of June 1, the status of the Oklahoma Christian Department of Nursing has changed to the Oklahoma Christian University School of Nursing, said Kay Elder, RN, nursing school chair.

“There is some restructuring going on with Oklahoma Christian University, and nursing is now part of the newly formed College of Natural and Health Sciences, along with biology and history,” Elder said.

The summer campus appears a peaceful setting at OC. Eleven traditional transfer students remain on campus to finish their health assessment course work at the OC School of Nursing. They will be joining the junior class in the fall. In July, they will be learning the fundamentals of nursing. During June and July, they are studying pharmacology, Elder said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of recruitment fairs and admission events,” she said. “We’ve been very busy, as well as with the RN to BSN program. The first cohort is up and running and they are just finishing their first two classes with eight students.”

The second cohort of the RN to BSN will begin September 1, said Rhea Ann Lee, RN, program coordinator. They are hoping to have a cohort of around 15 students.

Additionally for the traditional nursing program, the OC School of Nursing has the largest group coming into our sophomore classes, Elder said. So far, there are 51 students, compared to the previous maximum of 41 students.

“We still have students changing majors or transferring into the university,” Elder said. “It looks like we may have 60 sophomore nursing students, which when we’re looking at labs, that’s 50 percent more labs than we’ve had before. We’re experiencing growth. It’s very exciting and it doesn’t feel like summer slowed down.”

In order to accommodate future growth for the OC School of Nursing, the university has kicked off a Thrive fundraising campaign for a new OC School of Nursing facility. Anticipations are for the fundraising program to be completed by 2017.

“Nursing is in the first tier, and they intend to gut and redo the north end of Heritage Plaza for nursing. We’ll have our labs, our classrooms, our offices in a dedicated area for nursing, which we really need,” Elder said. “We’ve outgrown our existing space.”

The school continues to invest in its students. Part of that criteria deals with mission work. Students take Health Care Missions and Christian Service in their junior year. In the first three weeks following graduation, the nursing students either go to Honduras for mission work or they will stay local to work with under-served populations, Elder said.

“They work in the hospitals in Honduras and help with the clinics up in the mountains,” Elder said. “They do health education through interpreters in the mountain village schools.”

They also spend a day in a children’s home dedicated to children living with disabilities. These children in Honduras have been shunned and abandoned by their families, Elder said. So they live in state-run orphanages.

“That’s something that always touches the students’ hearts,” Elder said. “There are many children in wheelchairs. There are some who are severely disabled and non verbal. But most of the times they give smiles, even if there are not other things they can do. The students tell us this is a very valuable part of their nursing curriculum.”

Many of the students returned for other medical missions. One of the students, who graduated from the 2010 class, went to Rwanda with Mercy Hospital, Elder said. This student was successful in providing improvements to the hospital’s best practices.

“We’re very excited about that. Students who do not choose to do missions in Honduras, stay local and work with under-served populations,” Elder said. “They work doing health care education with Headstart, which of course has income requirements. That’s a fun day when you’re dealing with 3- and 4-year olds, telling them about healthy eating and exercise, about hand washing and tooth brushing. They just really love it.”

The students also work with Luther Public Schools, where 85 percent of the students are provided lunch for free. The school district does not have a school nurse to help the children in Luther. So the students provide health screenings at the schools.
“We also work with individuals with disabilities in Make Promises Happen in Guthrie,” Elder said.

The Christian-oriented camp is for children living with disabilities through recreation. Nursing students are 24/7 with the campers. They learn about what resources the children’s parents and caregivers need. One consideration is how a caregiver would provide safety for these children. Motivation and burnout prevention for these caregiver is noted.

“That is an important part of our domestic missions,” Elder said.

They also work with Lighthouse Medical Clinic, which is associated with the Churches of Christ in downtown Oklahoma City.

“The whole purpose of our mission clinical is that they must work with under-served populations,” Elder said.

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Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:00:00 CDT 2526c95e-21ef-4127-897a-479f58e505ea
Wilburn's company ranked eighth by Forbes Just Between Friends, a company co-founded and run by Oklahoma Christian University (OC) trustee Shannon Wilburn ranks No. 8 on Forbes’ list of top franchises in the United States.

Wilburn is now the sole owner of Just Between Friends, the nation’s leading children’s and maternity consignment sales event. The company has 141 franchises in 29 states and one in Canada. Gross sales topped $24 million in 2013.

Just Between Friends has been featured in “Entrepreneur” magazine and on “Good Morning America,” “The CBS Early Show,” “The Today Show,” CNN and FOX.

Wilburn joined OC’s Board of Trustees in May 2013. Her husband Mitch Wilburn, the preaching minister at Park Plaza Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an alumnus of OC’s Graduate School of Theology.


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Thu, 03 Jul 2014 10:00:00 CDT 03f6210e-a7b3-43df-b04e-e8fac869bded
OC alumni buck trend with another giving record Alumni participation rates are going down nationwide. Fewer and fewer graduates are giving back to their alma maters each year … except at Oklahoma Christian.

In 2012-2013, Eagles bucked the trend through Homeward. A record-shattering 1,479 grad givers grew OC’s alumni participation base by more than 500 and rocketed Oklahoma Christian past the national average.

This success presented a tough question for 2013-2014: “Could the Homeward lightning strike twice?”

“A major hurdle with alumni participation is that it zeroes out each June,” Director of Advancement Operations Will Blanchard said. “To stay on the leading edge of the important U.S. News rankings in this area, our graduates need to give every year. We needed to find a way to thank and celebrate our grads for their incredible outpouring in Homeward’s first year, but also excite them about breaking a whole new record. That’s a difficult message to send without coming across as disingenuous.”

OC’s marketing, alumni, and advancement teams decided to say “thank you” with free t-shirts for all interested grads. Responding to the tagline, “Your maroon and gray are showing,” more than 2,380 Eagles ordered free OC tees.

The #OCHomeward hashtag launched on Instagram, and a video of Dr. Stafford North and Dr. Bailey McBride taking “selfies” in their new tees went viral.

This spring brought the inaugural Homeward Pride social service club competition. Sponsored by OC donors, Homeward Pride encouraged students to get involved by challenging them to raise participation among their club’s alumni.

Each club earned $500 for adding 50 new grad givers between February and April. As an added incentive, the club with the highest participation rate at the competition’s end received a trophy, bragging rights and another $500.

Clubs selected their own fundraising projects, which included a mission trip to Tipton Children’s Home, international missions, welcome kits for international students, scholarship funding, OC’s Student Success Center, and more. In just two months, club alumni added more than 900 grad givers for Homeward and gave $24,470 toward their club’s designated projects. Only 940 grads gave all year in 2011-2012.

The winning club, Delta Gamma Sigma, raised more than $8,000 and posted an astounding 55.2% participation rate, meaning more than half of all Delta grads gave to OC projects this year.

“The response is mind-boggling,” Vice President for Advancement Kent Allen said. “It’s obvious we haven’t done enough before to tap into the positive pride and the competitive spirit of our alumni. Their love for this special place and for our students continues to floor me, even as I nod and think, ‘I shouldn’t be surprised.’”

A record 2,278 graduates gave to OC projects through Homeward in 2013-2014. That number more than doubles (137%) the number of grads who gave in 2011-2012, the year before Homeward launched.

OC’s alumni participation rate pushed past 19%, more than eight percentage points above the national average for schools of our type.

“What we’re doing is unprecedented,” Blanchard said. “But our maroon and gray run deep, our spirit for giving and doing is unsurpassed, and I think we’d all agree: Eagles were made to do the unprecedented.”

1. Delta Gamma Sigma (55.2%)
2. Chi Lambda Phi (54.3%)
3. Alpha Gamma Omega (34.7%)
4. Iota Kappa Phi (34.4%)
5. Psi Epsilon (29.4%)
6. Theta Theta Theta (29.1%)
7. Gamma Rho (26.1%)
8. Lambda Chi Zeta (26.0%)
9. Omega Psi Omicron (25.9%)
10. Pi Zeta Phi (22.6%)
11. Kappa Sigma Tau (21.7%)

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Tue, 24 Jun 2014 08:00:00 CDT ff809eeb-ac83-42f6-abb1-a512391a5a0a
OC up for 'Favorite College' honors in Readers' Choice Awards Oklahoma Christian University is a top 5 finalist in the “Favorite College” category in The Oklahoman’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

You can vote for Oklahoma Christian once a day by going to and clicking on the “Just For Fun” category tab toward the bottom of the page.

It’s another chance to rally around our alma mater! Voting closes at midnight on Monday, June 23.

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 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 Jun 2014 15:00:00 CDT d00edfa6-9bb5-4cb7-8f02-1cb72d59e8a9
OC grad's movie wins top honors at festival OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - A movie directed by Oklahoma Christian University (OC) graduate Kyle Roberts won the award for “Best Oklahoma Film” at the deadCENTER Film Festival Saturday.

Roberts’ film, “The Posthuman Project,” is about a group of high school friends who go on a rock climbing trip to celebrate their graduation. On the trip, they receive a genetic boost that gives them superhero abilities.

Roberts calls the movie a cross between “The Breakfast Club” and “X-Men.” Lucas Ross, a 2003 OC graduate, had a role in the film, and OC alumna Sandra Peck and current OC student Dani Hebert worked as production assistants.

“The cross genre between these two had never been done before, which hopefully separates the film from any other superhero movie, and we did it on a micro budget,” Roberts said. “I love to show the world what a bunch of Okies are capable of.”

Saturday’s showing of “The Posthuman Project” at deadCENTER filled the 280-seat theatre to capacity, with more than 50 people turned away.

deadCENTER is Oklahoma’s largest film festival, recognized as one of the “Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker magazine.

More than 1,000 films were submitted to deadCENTER this year, with the winners selected by an independent panel of film industry professionals.

Roberts owns Reckless Abandonment Pictures LLC, an Oklahoma City-based motion picture company that has earned mentions in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, VH1, Gizmodo, WIRED magazine, and Mashable. He also is a videographer and editor for The Oklahoman and

In 2012, Roberts was selected to compete on Syfy’s “Viral Video Showdown” for a production that included fellow OC graduates Hal Gatewood, Jason Oser and Ross.

In 2013, Roberts won an Emmy Award from the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for “Thunder in Motion,” a commercial for The Oklahoman about Oklahoma City’s NBA team.

He will enter “The Posthuman Project” in Comic-Con, an international film festival, later this year.


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Mon, 16 Jun 2014 11:00:00 CDT 9ca5ea4e-0bc3-4b50-b9cc-799d9ac9f803
OC faculty present at 2014 Christian Scholars Conference Members of the Oklahoma Christian University community participated in the 2014 Christian Scholars Conference last week at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

Known as the Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars' Conference, professors, graduate students and professionals present more than 100 peer-reviewed and generative sessions to advance scholarship, collaboration and engaged dialogue. 

This year’s conference theme was "Leadership in the Academy, Religion and Civil Life."

Key speakers included Christian missions and history professor and author Lamin Sanneh, theologian, professor and author Carl Holladay, former college administrator and recognized religious author and publisher Phyllis Tickle and religion professor and author Elizabeth Clark. In addition, Nashville’s Blackbird Theatre presented the world premiere of the stage adaptation of John Updike’s novel “Roger’s Version.”   

OC professors participated in seven presentations at the conference.

OC Professor of History Matt McCook presented a paper titled “Reconsidering Again Alexander Campbell’s Political and Social Ethic.” His session was titled Liberty, Reform, and Schism in Antebellum America. In addition, McCook used the week to conduct research related to future scholarship.

Associate Professor of Communication Josh Watson presented on “Teaching Leadership Through Appreciative Inquiry and Dialogic Theory of Public Relations” and “Leadership and Follow-Ship: A Case Study of a Leader’s Framing of Risk-Taking.” His sessions were titled Leadership Development and Theory and Leadership Challenges, respectively.

OC Professor of New Testament John Harrison served as convener of the peer-reviewed session titled New Testament Exegesis I. Richard Wright, chair of the Graduate School of Bible and associate professor of Bible, also served as convener for the session titled Major Book Review: “Marcan Priority Without Q,” which was edited by John C. Poirier and Jeffrey Peterson.

In addition, OC alumnus and adjunct professor Jeremy Beller presented on “Terror Management, Dissociation and Religious Orientation: Addressing Allport’s Paradox of Religion and Racism.” His session was titled Civil Rights and Churches of Christ: Leadership in the Academy.

Finally, OC President John deSteiguer participated with other college presidents in the session titled The Future of Christian Higher Education: The Most Critical Issues We Face in the Decade Ahead. President deSteiguer also served as a reviewer for the session titled Major Book Review: “Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith,” which was written by Mark Lanier.  

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, 13 Jun 2014 10:39:00 CDT f7d7cada-f8bf-4af7-b748-9b29df815b65
OC hires Simmons, Buxton OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) announced the addition of a communications expert and an Air Force officer to its faculty this fall.

Brian Simmons will join the OC faculty as a professor of communication while Col. Brad Buxton has been hired as an assistant professor of engineering.

Simmons graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1987 with a degree in mass communication. He went on to earn his master’s degree in communication from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in mass communication from Purdue University, where he also minored in sociology of religion.

“I believe that the college years are the most important in shaping a person’s life,” Simmons said. “That’s why I am honored to be teaching at Oklahoma Christian, a university that I believe in. For me, it is returning to a community that shaped my Christian faith and set me on a blessed path in life. I am excited to see how God will use me in each student’s life.”

Simmons is the author of Falling Away: Why Christians Lose Their Faith and What Can Be Done about It and Wandering in the Wilderness: Changes and Challenges to Emerging Adults’ Christian Faith.

His dissertation was about “Media Effects on Church of Christ Adolescents’ Perceptions of Sexual Morality.” Simmons has been published in Journalism Quarterly, the Journal of Popular Music and Society, Media Ethics: Issues and Cases, and Media Coverage of Terrorism, and Sex, Religion and Media.

Prior to returning to his alma mater, Simmons was a communications professor at the University of Portland, where he also served as an assistant coach with the Speech and Debate Union. He previously taught at Cascade College and Saint Joseph’s College. His daughter Madison will be a freshman at Oklahoma Christian this fall.

“Brian Simmons has proven records of accomplishment in the highest levels of the academy and in ministerial leadership,” OC vice president of academic affairs Scott LaMascus said. “I’m really eager to see how his scholarship and leadership skills play out for OC communications majors, Honors students, and for the broader OC and faith communities.”

Buxton holds a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in management from Troy State University. He received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“Col. Buxton has a distinguished career as an engineering leader and mentor of engineers in the Air Force, so I am thrilled he is now turning his talents toward educating Christian engineering students,” LaMascus said. “He also will strengthen the good ties between OC’s three ABET-accredited programs and the Oklahoma City engineering community, including Tinker Air Force Base and General Electric’s new global research center.”

Buxton is a 24-year U.S. Air Force veteran on active duty. His engineering experience covers the product life cycle from basic research in aircraft structures through operational flight testing involving F-15E aircraft and space operations with GPS satellites.

Col. Buxton has served as a Pentagon action officer, group commander, and chief engineer for space superiority. He published his research in computational aeroelasticity and was a member of Sigma Gamma Tau, the Aero Engineering Honor Society.

“I am excited about coming to Oklahoma Christian,” Buxton said. “OC has a well-established engineering program, and I am eager to help it be an excellent place to get credentials. OC also has a Christ-centered worldview and I want to be a part of that. If students aren’t taught to respect Christ, all the education in the world doesn’t matter.”

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 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, 11 Jun 2014 15:30:00 CDT feee384f-129c-4e1a-8c75-40b4f4f19687
OC launches 'grand experiment' with new campaign OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) kicked off June with a new fundraising initiative.

“Thrive: The Complete Campaign” will raise approximately $30 million to fund near-term, high-impact projects in around 30 strategic areas by May 31, 2017.

Unlike most university fundraising campaigns, Thrive had no silent phase and will be public from start to finish.

“This is an exciting grand experiment,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “Most campaigns are long-term, endowment-heavy efforts that are secret for years until the timing and resources are right to announce them. But higher education is rapidly changing, and Thrive gives us the agility to respond to new market realities, donor wishes and student needs.”

Thrive will be student-focused – emphasizing building projects and programmatic efforts that quickly and directly impact OC’s campus experience and spiritual environment.

Among the first-year Thrive projects with fundraising goals of $1 million or more are a new home for OC’s School of Nursing, startup capital to launch three new academic colleges, funding for a new spiritual life initiative, and a new campus dining area.

OC will seek additional facility funding for a new coffee shop and upgrades to the Davisson American Heritage building, Hardeman Auditorium, on-campus student housing, and Das Millicanhaus, the university’s living-learning facility in Vienna, Austria.

“These projects are mission-driven and build on OC’s strengths,” deSteiguer said. “They are for our students – providing tangible things that will enhance their collegiate experience while keeping tuition affordable.”

Bolstered by nine straight years of the highest enrollments in school history, including a record 2,424 students last year, Oklahoma Christian kept undergraduate prices flat the past three years before announcing a 3.26 percent increase for 2014-15.

OC’s cost of attendance of $25,790 per year is significantly less than the national public-school average of $31,701 for out-of-state students and the private-school average of $40,917.

Alumni have helped Oklahoma Christian remain affordable; the university’s successful Homeward campaign doubled OC’s alumni participation rate over the past two years. More than 2,200 OC graduates financially supported their alma mater in the just-completed fiscal year.

Thrive is OC’s largest campaign initiative since the Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign raised $64.3 million in less than six years, concluding in 2009.

“Thrive is a whole different breed of campaign,” deSteiguer said. “It’s unorthodox in higher education, but we’re raising money that can make a difference quickly. OC’s strength and spirit mean this campaign isn’t about surviving. It’s about thriving.”

More information about the Thrive campaign is available at

Recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, Oklahoma Christian 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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Sun, 01 Jun 2014 00:00:00 CDT d4ad5aee-1567-4a70-87e2-552084f3a22b
Bald and Beautiful - Alum writes books to help kids with cancer Brianne (Lytton 01) Banning will always remember an education class with Dr. Robyn Miller (85). Brianne learned about writing a children’s story, but didn’t think she had the creativity to achieve it. Today, inspired by her daughter’s cancer battles, the author of two children’s books finds that day humorous.

“I really thought I didn’t have any story to tell, and that I probably wouldn’t have one in the future to tell,” Brianne said.

A few years after graduating from OC with a degree in physical education, her daughter Baylee was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer at just six months old. The cancer was at stage four, and involved seven tumors. Baylee underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and a two-month stem cell treatment.

“We were totally shocked to learn that our baby had cancer,” Brianne said. “We never even looked on the Internet to learn more about the disease. We knew the statistics for survival were not good. Plus, we knew there was only one physician who could heal her and that was the Great Physician.”

Nearly four years later, Brianne and her husband Aaron received a final clear scan indicating the cancer was gone. But Baylee began having stomach pains the next year, just before starting kindergarten.

“As a parent of a child who has had cancer, every little illness scares you and can make you flip out,” Brianne said. “But you can’t ignore anything. Once again, I found myself on my knees praying, ‘How am I going to do this?’”

The doctors discovered that Baylee had a Wilms tumor on her ovary, a different cancer than before. Fortunately, the cancer was not on a kidney, so the doctors were able to completely remove it. Baylee once again had to receive 15 rounds of chemotherapy, but none were as harsh as her first cancer treatments.

This time, Brianne really struggled with telling Baylee about how she would lose her hair.

“I looked and looked for books that would help me, but so many were dark and very cancer-centric,” Brianne said. “I needed something else.”

Brianne found the answer in Baylee.

“I told her about losing her hair again and she just laughed. She thought it was funny,” Brianne said. “So we sat down and wrote a story about a little girl who had to lose her hair. We came up with the idea of a hair fairy, and we really just wanted the story to have positive, affirmative messages. We didn’t even want to mention cancer.

“After we developed the story, Baylee looked forward to the day the hair fairy would come and get her hair, and then when the fairy would return it for Baylee being so strong and brave.”

After Brianne told others of the story, friends encouraged her to turn it into a book. She self-published “The Beautiful Bald Princess” with illustrations by Tricia Weber, a friend and fellow member of Northside Church of Christ in Wichita. Tate Publishing contacted Banning and agreed to publish the book.

“The book has really allowed us to give back,” Brianne said. “We’ve worked with the Ronald McDonald House, where we had stayed ourselves. I spoke to nearly 1,000 women at the Women Walking with God conference. Friends and church members have bought the books and asked me to give them to children they know. So many people helped our family, and we are more than willing to share our story to help others for God’s glory.”

Another way Brianne has been able to give back is by visiting children in hospitals – dressed as the hair fairy – and reading the book to patients.

This year, Brianne developed a book for boys called “The Brave Bald Knight.” Both books and other materials are available at Brianne wants the books to get into the hands of parents and children who need them.

Today, Baylee is cancer-free. Her final treatment was in February 2013, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation is helping her get to Disney World in September.

“It is so exciting to see her play soccer,” Brianne said. “People don’t know how God has worked in her life.”

That perspective reminds Brianne of her time in her mentor’s class, Teaching The Disabled Child, taught by Dr. Max Dobson.

“Working with kids with disabilities in his class allowed me to look at difficult situations differently,” Brianne said. “There are positive ways to help, and there is always something you can do to brighten their day with a story.”

By Josh Watson

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Tue, 20 May 2014 13:00:00 CDT 1a1c4c0e-99e4-4cc9-a6e3-e79a20bb4d55
Salvador Cariaga: Turning tragedy into triumph Oklahoma Christian University graduate Salvador Cariaga (83) is the executive director of ministries for Shepherd’s Hill International. OC president emeritus Mike O’Neal (68) is on the board of trustees for the ministry, which includes the Give A Goat initiative in Salavdor’s home country, the Philippines.

On November 7, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines with the strength of a Category 5 hurricane, claiming almost 4,000 lives and injuring more than 12,000 people.

In the aftermath of one of the most destructive storms in Southeast Asia’s history, Salvador and Shepherd’s Hill were on the ground in the Philippines providing relief.

These excerpts from Salvador’s Facebook page show his passion for the people in his home country along with the real-time triumphs and trials of Christian disaster relief.

November 7 Lost contact with our Arapal brothers and sisters. The eye of the storm must be over the camp by now. There will be no live updates for a while. Wind and rain will continue raging for 4-6 hours before everything subsides. Their silence is deafening. Prayers please ...

November 8 Rescue. Relief. Rebuild. Renew.


The good news is that my worst fear did not happen; there are no major or many casualties in our area. I have not gotten much update on death or injury yet, but the fact that I have not gotten much is good news.

The bad news is that my second worst fear happened. Collateral damage is complete. All our buildings in Arapal were destroyed, even Arapal Children’s Home is now roofless. There was no report of injuries of those who took shelter there (We have a concrete and rock basement that can hold 100 people). But all the huts were either gone or uninhabitable. Goat houses disappeared as expected.

Outside of our 100 acre campus is even worse. They were facing the brunt of the wind. We had their hills to protect us, somewhat. There are deaths reported there. Their devastation is more complete. The wind and rain smashed their houses at will. Initial reports give a very grim picture of our neighbors.

November 9 Arapal Livelihood Center, Arapal Christian Camp and Arapal Children’s Home were destroyed and decimated by the recent typhoon. Seven years of hard work, gone in seven horrifying and traumatic hours. Fortunately, lives were saved in the building BANDS (Body and Soul) Ministries donated. About 50 people huddled in the basement while the roof was mercilessly ripped off, but failed to harm them. With God’s help, we will rebuild. We will restore.

November 12 Distributing food and tarp in Arapal now. Got generator set and chain saws. Gerry Bastonero and crew taking more relief supplies to be distributed in and around Arapal Christian Camp. Hope to set up a temporary refugee camp there soon. Working on logistics and coordination. The government is overwhelmed. Too many people homeless. Meeting today in Fort Worth with US Relief Organizations BANDS Ministries, Christian Relief Fund, Healing Hands, Shepherd’s Hill, and other groups to help the Philippine disaster victims.

November 20 On the way to the disaster area. Prayers please. Thank you.

November 27 Worship is not limited to a physical structure. Even underneath a plastic tarp (during the day) or the moonlight (evening service), Arapal Christians and visitors continue to worship. I find open air worship more spiritually intimate than enclosed buildings.

December 1 I have been involved with a lot of disaster works in the Philippines since I was a kid. The Philippines is the most disaster-prone country in the world, unfortunately. However, I have never been hit so close to home before. This time, “HOME” is ground zero. People who are victims are not just faceless folks I just met and may never meet again, not that they are less important. This time, I have known the disaster victims’ faces, names, stories, and families for years. I have given them goats, seeds, and chicken.

On behalf of my people, please extend your help if you have not done so yet. The US Board of Trustees of Shepherds Hill committed to send 100% of your donation to the disaster work in the Philippines. This is a volunteer driven organization led by Dr. Mike O’Neal, former president of Oklahoma Christian University. For more information, please contact him at or send your gift to Shepherds Hill, PO Box 11000, Oklahoma City, OK 73136. Contributions will be promptly acknowledged by volunteer Dr. Elaine Kelly and will be tax deductible.

December 2 Have a house full of international disaster volunteer workers. More arriving.

December 5 I am in Arapal, Cebu. 6am here. No electricity in this disaster area for another three months or more. Nice paradise weather this week. 70s & 80s. Am in my tent. I can hear villagers hammering and rebuilding. Enjoying sunrise, sound of birds, chicken and goats. God is good!

December 6 Another beautiful sunrise in Arapal. A new day. A new beginning. God is good.

December 8 DISASTER WORK can also be a DISASTROUS LIFE. Lots of conflicts, jealousy, brush fires to put out – from the victims to the volunteers. Goats are so much easier to handle and herd. He he he.

December 14 Worshiping with the faithful on a hilltop church few miles from Arapal. Under a tarp roof because chapel roof and walls have been yanked away by the typhoon. Only the foundation is left. Although their building was crushed, their spirit is not destroyed.

December 24 Feeling very MERRY today. The container has been unloaded and cleared. Several sleigh were filled and on their way to ARAPAL. HO HO HO!

December 31 HAPPY NEW YEAR! Going out to deliver rebuilding materials with young volunteers today. House to house. First day of the year is the best day to help rebuild homes and lives. If you wish to join me sometime this year, please let me know. This is a long and massive effort. We need all the help we can get. Help us REBUILD ARAPAL!

January 3 MORE BAPTISMS TODAY IN ARAPAL. We need new fresh volunteer church workers, teachers, preachers, even if just for two weeks so that our worn out laborers ‘in the vineyard’ can get some rest. We also need to follow up on our new brethren, mentoring them and guiding them every day so that they will stay. School is starting next week. Our volunteers will be depleted down to 80% or more. Please share or email for information.

January 4 FROM VOLUNTEERS TO VICTORS. 15 young men and women were baptized in this beautiful San Remegio beach yesterday near Arapal. They are all high school students from Lambusan who served as disaster volunteers during Christmas break.

January 5 Dodong Cabarles baptized most of the 65 who came forward today in Arapal. He has worked tirelessly here for years with only a little success in building up the church. This week, this little man became a giant in many eyes, including mine. His years of sacrifice and hard work suddenly came to life. His message and delivery has also stepped up like I have never heard him preach before. God shined upon him brightly after the storm.

January 11 Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Europe, Canada, and the US have been extremely generous in helping make it possible for us to do relief and rebuilding work in Arapal. We would like to thank all our donors, especially the Americans, for their help. I will again share in our church today that I am just a conduit, not the source. But ultimately, God is the ultimate source of all. We are all just stewards. Happy Lord’s Day everyone. God bless …

January 21 Almost eight years ago, Angel was fighting for her life as she tried to outrun the rush of incoming mudslide from the mountain. It buried her whole village and took the lives of her loved ones along with over 2,000 others. Her grandmother who was running with her fell, but urged her to keep running. She did not make it. Her sister who was also with them was covered with mud, but Angel and an uncle rescued her. Her grandfather who raised Angel and her sister Lyka survived, but mysteriously died a week later.

Last Sunday, Angel handled a class of what must be about 100 kids with grace and ease. She is one of our many partners who were once victims, but became volunteers. Theirs are stories of turning tragedy into triumph.

January 30 Another incoming typhoon due to hit landfall. Prayers please.

January 31 In my tent. Typhoon Signal #2. Wind blowing harder and harder in Arapal. Raining off and on. Just had 13 baptisms late today IN THE OCEAN. 23 this week. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want …”

January 31 All is well here now. Stopped raining. Wind is not as strong. Everyone safe. No report of major damage or any injuries here in the camp. Praise God. Thank you all for your prayers and concerns. Will update more later.

February 15 God does not waste hurt or hunger. Many of the people who followed Jesus in the hills were after bread. He provided them more than bread to eat. He gave them the bread of life. Happy Lord’s Day!

February 16 I asked the patriarch of this family who will donate a valuable land for our new church in Arapal, what led them to decide to donate a valuable property. He said, “I heard of Arapal and what you have been doing through my employees and relatives. I think what you are doing is great and I want to support that.”

For over eight years, we have labored in Arapal serving the poorest of the poor. Never it crossed my mind, that the rich were watching us through the eyes of the poor. And it was even further from my mind that rich and poor land owners will donate properties for our new church buildings around Arapal.

God works in mysterious ways. God is Great!

February 24 Over 300 souls have been baptized since after the big typhoon in Cebu. We have been averaging 500+ in our Sunday morning attendance for three months now. Yesterday, we had more than 730. 32 souls accepted Christ. One of those who was born again was Willy Claren, a retired police colonel. He came to church Sunday to donate a piece of land for one of our new church buildings. He told me before our morning service that he liked what we are doing in his community and want to help. He had no plans of being baptized, but when the invitation was extended, he came forward and was immersed. People come to Arapal for various reasons. Many come for aid, others want to help, while some are just curious. God meets people at the point of their needs and draws them to Him. That is what’s happening in Arapal today. Please share.

February 24 One of our new temporary staff members gave her share of roofing material to let a neighbor have it instead. She said, “They need it more than I do.” A typhoon disaster victim lost her home the second time due to fire, one of our longtime staff workers donated pots and pans from their own personal funds. Today, we have volunteers bringing sacks of potatoes, cassava, pounds of fish, fruits, and vegetables. With school being out, there are over 300 men, women, and children in Arapal today. We are becoming a huge close-knit family here. Imagine what our lunch is going to be like. he he he

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42-47

February 26 Activities are super full. Another baptism yesterday. 300 volunteers working. Some brought chicken, vegetables, fish, and fruits. One lady brought her whole family to cook special Filipino desert of “puto ug bodbod’ from scratch. It was a culinary demonstration of native food for everyone to see and later on enjoy. Building relationships. Building communities. Building churches. Praise the Lord.

March 9 Every Sunday, our pictures will show that there is always something new in Arapal. Again, our stage is bigger and better. The “Big Tent” is now longer again to accommodate more people. 722 attended our morning worship and 19 more souls were added to the Lord, including an 80 year old man who wanted to be baptized with his ‘new’ necktie on. LOL!

March 16 This 80+ year old lady came with a bag of mongo beans as her offering. She was proud of her gift. Her response to my interview cracked the audience. She has a great sense of humor and obviously a sincere will to serve the Lord.

March 21 The burden of sustaining this momentum, discipling and mentoring new members, developing an organizational structure that meets the needs of our new brothers in Christ is quite heavy and complicated. We still have an ongoing relief and rebuilding work to do, along with our existing programs of livelihood, children’s home, Christian camp, Christian schools, etc. In April and May, we will be conducting VBS in 20 different sites around Arapal and Cebu.

Please pray for this work, that God may give us the wisdom what to do and the means to capitalize on this extraordinary situation and opportunity. Growth this fast and this big in a disaster situation is full of complications, confusion, and conflicts. Majority of our workforce are young and inexperienced. Our key leaders have been stretched and stressed. We have no blueprint or pattern and had to start from scratch and make things up as we go. We need your prayers and support now more than ever.

April 8 VBS starts today in four different villages around Arapal. Targeting 20 or more different sites. Teachers mostly teenagers. Prayers please.

April 22 355 attended Sunday morning worship service in Arapal. 120 Sunday night. Six souls accepted Christ, one of them is Fernando Naparuta. His parents, brother and sister were killed in the Leyte disaster (mudslide) eight years ago. He joined our team this summer as a volunteer. From victim to volunteer, to victory in Jesus.

April 24 GIVE A PIG. Oink! Oink! Arapal Livelihood Center has been developing its organic pig farm for over two years. Now we are ready to expand by sharing our knowledge and experience to help fight poverty and break the cycle of dependency through organic pig raising. For more information, please message me or email me at or donate directly to Shepherds Hill, PO BOX 11000, Oklahoma City, OK 73136. Note: Give a pig.

May 2 In Arapal, we have been partnering for almost six months with various individuals, churches, and non-profit groups (local and international). Among them are BandS Ministries, Disaster Tech Lab, Disaster Missions, Christian Relief Fund, Ecoweb, Peace Relief Mission, etc. We are grateful to all our partners and welcome any new ones who wish to come.

May 3 500 Families around Arapal still need disaster aid in forms of roofing, walls, nails, gutter, wood, etc. Rebuilding mission will go on for another six months to a year. Lots of homes still need repair. We are budgeting about $100 per household. Please help. Send your aid through Shepherds Hill, PO Box 11000, Oklahoma City, OK 73136. Kindly share this with your friends, family, or home church.

May 11 There are now 21 new converts here in the islet. One of the converts is Arse Lopez. He is one of the patriarchs of this place with 12 children and 40 grandchildren. When l first approached him for Bible study in his village, he answered, “We need to hear God’s word in this island.”

May 13 27 Souls were baptized in the last few days in Arapal and surrounding areas, 18 of them in Arapal Island. Over 350 attended worship in Arapal Sunday morning, over 50 attended Sunday night in the islet. 603 have now accepted Christ since typhoon Yolanda (Hainan) six months ago. To God be the glory. Praise the Lord!

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Mon, 19 May 2014 12:00:00 CDT 244748df-79a6-41e7-81b2-e2256f16c0e1
Peters picked for Baugh Chair of Gospel Preaching OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Dr. Doug Peters will be the first Baugh Chair of Gospel Preaching in the College of Biblical Studies at Oklahoma Christian University (OC).

Peters has 27 years of experience in ministry and preaching, including the last 13 years as the pulpit minister for North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas. He also has served churches in Abilene, Texas; Houston, Texas; and Birmingham, Alabama.

Peters has been a guest preacher and teacher in more than 60 congregations, 10 states and eight nations. In his new role at Oklahoma Christian, Peters will focus on recruiting, teaching, training and mentoring future preachers.

“OC’s growing number of preaching ministry majors will be blessed by Dr. Peters’ scholarship, experience and influence,” said Alan Martin, dean of OC’s College of Biblical Studies. “We will benefit greatly from his contributions in the realm of practical ministry and his experience in coaching and mentoring leaders.”

Oklahoma Christian offers a preaching major and preaching scholarships ranging from half-tuition to full tuition. Last March, Benton and Paula Baugh helped Oklahoma Christian build on this foundation by pledging $1.7 million to OC’s College of Biblical Studies.

In addition to establishing the Baugh Chair of Gospel Preaching, this endowment will help Oklahoma Christian offer seminars for pulpit ministers on topics they need to thrive in their roles.

“We are grateful to have this endowed chair for preaching at Oklahoma Christian,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott LaMascus said. “Not only does the endowment provide for program leadership, but also for scholarships and other program funds. We are grateful and eager to see what OC faculty and students can do in this important area of Kingdom work.”

Peters earned an associate of science degree in electrical engineering technology at Midwestern State University, then earned his bachelor’s degree in Bible and master’s degree in biblical studies at Abilene Christian University.

He received his doctor of ministry degree from ACU in 2006. His emphases were in preaching and congregational leadership; he was guided and mentored by the late Charles Siburt.

Peters and his wife Sheryl have been married since 1983. They have two daughters: Alani, 18, and Lauren, 23.

“For the past 13 years, I have been on the front lines preaching and serving in a wonderful and loving local church in Arlington, Texas,” Peters said. “While the decision to transition was not easy, I accepted this call because I am passionate about the kingdom impact of local churches and their preachers. I am convinced that Oklahoma Christian is uniquely positioned to invest in God’s mission by preparing future preachers and congregational leaders.”

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 nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students during the 2013-14 academic year.


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Mon, 19 May 2014 11:00:00 CDT 69b0d493-9126-437c-81fc-41b7db84172e