News RSS Feed OC dedicates Kyle Seitsinger Newsroom OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of Oklahoma Christian University’s Kyle Seitsinger Newsroom, a convergence journalism lab in OC’s Department of Communications.

Oklahoma Christian remodeled the office previously used for The Talon, OC’s student newspaper, and made it a combined newsroom and studio for The Talon and Eagle Broadcasting to further integrate their reporting.

The room is named in honor of Kyle Seitsinger, an OC student killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Serving as an Army Sergeant, Kyle died alongside seven other U.S. soldiers when a weapon cache detonated on Jan. 29, 2004.

Kyle Seitsinger“Kyle’s story needed to be told,” OC’s Distinguished Professor of Mass Communications Philip Patterson said. “The best way to approach it was to go to the family and see if we could honor Kyle in a significant way. We wanted to memorialize their son while filling the need for a convergence journalism lab.”

Honorary guests at the dedication ceremony were Kyle’s parents, Dan Seitsinger and Jo Seitsinger, and his sister, Karla Schwarz, along with her husband, Rob, and son, Barrett.

“Of course, I would rather have Kyle present, but in his absence, at least he has a name on the wall,” Dan Seitsinger said. “I appreciate what everyone did to make this day possible. I feel very proud of Kyle and this university.”

Kyle Seitsinger enrolled at Oklahoma Christian in the fall of 2000 and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. While he was a student, he edited and wrote for The Talon, and also contributed to The Oklahoman and the Edmond Sun.

He was called into active duty in November 2003, just months from graduating with a dual major in journalism and Spanish.

When he and his fellow soldiers were killed, it represented the United States’ largest loss of life in Afghanistan at the time. Seitsinger was the first Oklahoman killed serving in “Operation Enduring Freedom” and is the only active student in OC’s history to be killed in the line of duty.

Prior to coming to OC, Seitsinger served in the U.S. Marines from 1993 to 2000, guarding U.S. embassies in Brasilia, Brazil, and Moscow, Russia, as well as the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He also was an expert marksman and rifle instructor at Camp Pendleton. He was named “Top Gun” at his embassy school graduation in Quantico, Virginia.

Eagle Angle, a 30-minute newscast produced by OC students, airs each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. on Cox 3 in Oklahoma City and Cox 7 in Tulsa. The Talon publishes weekly online at

“Kyle would be pleased that he was tied into innovation,” Patterson said. “He had a plan for his life. If this innovation does the same for the students now and gets them on the ground faster than otherwise, he would be thrilled.”

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.


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Fri, 10 Oct 2014 13:15:00 CDT 65a6c818-6748-482f-a58b-4fa9e19f166c
OC opens theater season with one-act plays OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will begin its theater season with the production of two one-act plays. “A Marriage Proposal” and “Blind Date” will be held Oct. 2-4.

Get Tickets Here

The production is directed by Carly Conklin, who graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 2010. Conklin works as a stage manager, actor and director for the Oklahoma City Theatre Company.

“A Marriage Proposal,” which first debuted in 1890, is a one-act play written by Russian author and dramaturge Anton Chekhov. It demonstrates how pride in property can override emotions such as love, and that even marriage can be prompted by economic circumstances.

“Blind Date” was written by American playwright and screenwriter Albert Foote, who was best known for his screenplay of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Set in 1929 in Harrison, Texas, “Blind Date” illustrates the repercussions of a well-meaning aunt attempting to arrange a date for her uncooperative niece.

Cast members for both plays include Luke Mawhirter, Madison Simmons, Clarice Sutton, Alex Wiggs and stage director Abby Tunick.

“It’s a humorous look at dating, especially blind dating, from the point of view of a particular generation,” said Phil Reagan, associate professor of speech and theater. “The two just go well together. They are both farces about dating and proposing that I think all college students will enjoy.”

The Department of Communication’s theater theme for 2014-2015 is “Human Relationships.” Each of the season’s five plays introduce the audience to a world vastly different from the 21st century, yet the characters grapple with the universal themes of social expectations and individual desire that are present today.

“A Marriage Proposal” and “Blind Date” are both suitable for all ages and begin at 8 p.m. each night in OC’s Judd Theatre. General admission tickets are $10 ($8 for seniors). Admission is free for OC students, faculty and staff.

For more information, contact the OC Box Office at (405) 425-5540. Judd Theatre is located in the Garvey Center, easily accessible from the university’s main entrance at 2501 East Memorial Road in north Oklahoma City.

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, 24 Sep 2014 10:00:00 CDT d540ee3a-1cfe-41ae-a03d-6f3bcda480f0
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 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
OC, Smirk New Media partner to offer social media class With the rapid growth of social media as a strategic business tool, communication students in college are expected to have current knowledge about best practices.

To that end, Oklahoma Christian University has partnered with Mike Koehler, president and partner at Smirk New Media, to provide students with a strategic social media and reputation management class. Koehler is uniquely qualified to teach the class as his Oklahoma City-based company specializes in social media strategy, online content and digital and web-based success.

“I’m thrilled to be able to offer this class to the Oklahoma Christian community,” Koehler said. “Social media is a passion of mine and I’m glad to share that with students. Social media is becoming a more powerful part of public relations and marketing every day, so equipping students with the skills to manage and create strategies is going to be key for their careers.”

According to Larry Jurney, chair and professor of the university’s communication department, the class will help OC students continue to stand out when seeking internships and post-graduation employment.

“Social media is a powerful force in our society, as evidenced by today's headlines such as the ice bucket challenge,” Jurney said. “Our students need to know how to maintain a good reputation through social media and how to protect it. They also need to know how to use social media correctly. It can accomplish great things for good, especially in service to others.”

The class will include lectures, discussions, online and in-person guest professionals and applied assignments. A few national experts in social media will Skype into the class or lead a live Twitter chat with students. In addition, the students will develop a comprehensive social media and reputation management plan for a real organization. Students will also present their ideas in the form of a strategy pitch. 

“I want students to have practical knowledge that gives them a foundation to build upon,” Koehler said. “Effective management of social media and reputation requires a truly strategic, long-term plan. This class will emphasize how important strategy is. I believe this experience will helps OC’s students get a head-start on achieving career success.”

About Smirk New Media

Smirk New Media has helped organizations large and small create robust social media strategies, craft quality online content and protect their brands’ digital reputations. Smirk New Media’s social media consulting team in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City and Springfield, Mo., works hard to promote and protect its clients’ online successes. Before launching Smirk New Media, President and Chief Strategist Mike Koehler led the new media development for Oklahoma’s largest website and its largest public relations firm. For more information, visit

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Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:19:00 CDT 0eb6a653-90c9-4fe0-bb98-5c18b0fae2a3
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 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
Oklahoma Christian honors outstanding faculty, staff OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – At its spring commencement ceremony, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) presented four faculty members with awards for their outstanding accomplishments, service and leadership.

Heath Jones and Jeff Simmons received OC’s Faculty Leadership Award; Jeff Price received the Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching Award; and Richard Wright received the Jack and Barbara Rowe Distinguished Scholar Award.

Jones is a professor of music at Oklahoma Christian, where he directs the OC Jazz Ensemble. He has served as president of the Oklahoma Jazz Educators Association and was named the 2008 University Jazz Educator of the Year. A professional saxophonist, he has performed with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Lesley Gore, Frankie Avalon, Jim Nabors, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Wayne Newton, and many more. His upcoming album features jazz notables Tony Monaco, Grant Goldstein and Willie Peterson.

Price leads OC’s Gaming and Animation program, which The Princeton Review and PC Gamer ranked 14th in the nation this year. OC is the state’s only university, and one of just two in the southwestern United States, to be honored on the undergraduate list. As principal of Price Media Group, he has won numerous industry awards in video, animation, interactive, and print design. His students have gone on to work at industry giants such as Dreamworks, Sony Imageworks, Midway Games, and Big Idea.

Simmons chairs the Department of Management and Marketing in OC’s School of Business Administration. He has led the university’s ethics team to two consecutive state championships, advancing to the regional and national competition for two years running. He teaches OC’s international business and global marketing courses; his expertise includes a stint with the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Wright is an associate professor of New Testament in OC’s College of Biblical Studies. His scholarship explores the intersection of the New Testament and the early church with Greco-Roman philosophies and religions. His recent research has explored philosophies about music’s role in moral formation and in Greco-Roman society. His upcoming book is tentatively titled, “Citizenship in Heaven: Paul’s Advice to a Status-Conscious Church.”

Oklahoma Christian also presented awards to outstanding staff and faculty at its annual Spring Dinner. The university named Judy Davis as the Staff Employee of the Year. Davis has served as OC’s director of residence life since 2000. She has worked at Oklahoma Christian for almost 30 years, previously serving as a hall director, housing director, and director of campus life.

The Second Mile Award, sponsored by Citizens Bank of Edmond, was presented to missionary-in-residence Kent Hartman and associate professor of biology Eric Phelps. Hartman teaches Bible classes and a popular class on personal and family finances at OC. Phelps recently received a $60,000 OCAST grant to develop new training resources for undergraduate educational programs.


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Tue, 06 May 2014 12:00:00 CDT 5fec644e-ca13-48e0-a380-acdde5ff2a9e
OC awards degrees at Spring Commencement OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will present 198 undergraduate degrees and 39 graduate degrees at its spring commencement ceremonies on April 25-26.

The undergraduate ceremony starts at 10 a.m. Friday in OC’s Payne Athletic Center. The graduate ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium.

The undergraduate degree candidates, including 21 graduates from OC’s Honors Program, come from 28 states and 11 countries. They majored in a combined 38 academic disciplines at Oklahoma Christian. 

The master’s degree candidates come from six states and seven countries, and represent 13 graduate areas of study.

Mark Brewer, senior vice president and chief information officer for Seagate Technology, LLC, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on Friday. William “Chip” Kooi, a professor of theology at Oklahoma Christian, will keynote Saturday’s graduate ceremony.

Brewer leads all of Seagate Technology’s information technology operations worldwide and is a member of the company’s Executive Council. 

His area consists of 1,600 IT professionals located in 20 different countries. His responsibilities include all business systems, factory information systems, electronic security, business continuity and collaboration services, as well as other traditional IT support services for Seagate’s 50,000 employees.

Brewer holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University. He serves as vice chairman of OC’s Board of Trustees and also is on the boards of the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank and the Missions Resource Network. He is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council for OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.

Kooi graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1981, then earned his master’s degree in New Testament from Abilene Christian University in 1990, and his doctorate in religion from Baylor University in 1999.

Kooi worked in education, pulpit ministry and inner-city ministry before returning to teach at Oklahoma Christian in 2001. An accomplished theological scholar, he has written for The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell MovementLeaven, and The Christian Chronicle.

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 this year.


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Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:00:00 CDT 51c455fc-77cb-4437-9b4b-10860b728de5
OC presents 'The Importance of Being Earnest' Oklahoma Christian University will stage its last play of the spring with Oscar Wilde’s comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest” April 10-12.

Wilde’s final play is considered to be his masterpiece. Though written for the London stage more than 100 years ago, the comedy is one of the most-produced plays in England and the United States.

OC’s production will be directed by senior theater major Wesley Aspey, who has added his own touch to the comedy.

“Wesley’s production exhibits some of the hallmarks of the most recent successful productions seen on West End and Broadway,” said Barrett Huddleston, assistant professor of communication at OC. “That includes gender bending, farce and physical comedy.”

According to Associate Communication Professor Phil Reagan, Aspey was influenced by his experience on OC’s Canada Shakespeare study abroad trip.

“One of the professional productions that we saw on that trip used an actor in the role of Lady Bracknell,” Reagan said. “Wesley was intrigued at this humorous decision, and he wanted to try it in his production.”

In addition to serving as director, Aspey is also the show’s set designer.

“Wesley has been our scene shop foreman for a number of years now,” Reagan said. “He is very skilled as a set designer and builder, so he really welcomed the dual roles.”

According to Aspey, he chose the play due to his appreciation for British humor.

“I am a fan of the witty, British comedy style, and no one does it better than Oscar Wilde,” said Aspey, who is from Hudson, Colo. “The play has so many great one-liners. I hope the audience enjoys Wilde’s wit as much as I do.”

In the play, two young gentlemen living in 1890s England have taken to bending the truth in order to put some excitement into their lives. Jack Worthing has invented a brother, Ernest, whom he uses as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind to visit the beautiful Gwendolyn.

Algy Montcrieff decided to take the name ‘Ernest’ when visiting Worthing's young and beautiful heiress, Cecily, at the country manor. Things start to go awry when the deceptions are discovered, which threatens to spoil the romantic pursuits. 

The play is suitable for ages 10 and older. Performances begin at 8 p.m. each night in OC’s Judd Theatre.

To order tickets, call the OC Box Office at (405) 425-6310 or visit Tickets are $10. Tickets for senior citizens over 60 and groups of 20 or more are $8. OC students, faculty and staff and their immediate families are free with a valid ID. 


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Tue, 08 Apr 2014 00:00:00 CDT 945ebea9-db75-461a-bd15-ffa4eb01f98a
OC stages ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Surprises abound in Oklahoma Christian University’s production of the classic Shakespearean comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Feb. 21-22 and Feb. 28-March 1.

Set in the 1960s, the play includes supernatural elements with more than 20 characters, including humans and fairies. The shows begin at 8 p.m. each night in Judd Theatre on OC’s campus. 

The play’s director, Associate Professor of Communication Barrett Huddleston, chose the play, in part, because of its appeal to the community.

“Midsummer is a great show for those who are new to the Shakespearean canon,” Huddleston said. “What’s interesting about this show is that the older that Shakespeare got, the less he relied on language itself to communicate. That is really seen in his use of humor in this play.”

In addition, Huddleston chose the play because of its appeal to his strengths as a director and scholar.

“Many of my research interests overlay with supernatural drama,” Huddleston said

The play was also a good fit for a collaborative cast.

“I decided to employ Shakespeare’s original casting for this production,” Huddleston said. “A number of characters play double roles, which helps the audience better understand more of the humor.”

According to Talon Ice, a sophomore from Kingfisher, Okla., the cast has benefitted from Huddleston’s direction.

“Dr. Huddleston gives excellent feedback on how to do your role better,” Ice said. “Plus, he’s a really approachable professor. It’s not very often that students get a theater professor with a doctorate. I feel like I get things from him that students at other universities do not.”

Ice also praised Huddleston’s use of surprises in the production. Those were inspired by the decision to set the play in the 1960s, a period that included similar elements of the play.

“The 1960s was reticent to highlight the social stratification and the reference to a recent war in the play,” Huddleston said. “Plus, it gave us the chance to have some fun with the supernatural components.”

To order tickets, call the OC Box Office at (405) 425-6310. Tickets cost $10. Tickets for senior citizens over 60 and groups of 20 or more are $8. OC students, faculty and staff and their immediate families are free with a valid ID. 


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Thu, 20 Feb 2014 13:15:00 CST 43c528f7-6de7-4826-9904-923f1ae32b4e
Oklahoma Christian presents Valentine Cabaret OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Oklahoma Christian University (OC) Music Department will present its 25th-annual Valentine Cabaret dinner theater Feb. 13-15.

The Cabaret theme is “Songs for a New World,” a 1995 song cycle by Jason Robert Brown, a Tony Award-winning composer. 

The four-person cast will perform 16 musical numbers that combine pop, rock, gospel and jazz elements. Among the songs is “Stars and Moon,” made famous by Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald

In Brown’s words, the show is about “one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back.”

The dinner will start at 6 p.m. each night in the McIntosh Conservatory, followed by the concert at 7 p.m. in the Adams Recital Hall

The signature candlelight dinner menu includes Chicken Parmesan, ziti pasta, green beans and tossed salad. Triple chocolate layer cake and cheesecake topped with strawberries will be served for dessert. 

Chad Anderson will direct the Valentine Cabaret, with assistance from music director and pianist Eric Grigg. Anderson is a 1998 OC alumnus who has directed numerous musicals and cabarets at Oklahoma Christian. 

The Cabaret cast features OC students Brian Wilcox, Micah Ndiba, Alyssa Jackson and Kendall Haliburton. 

Tickets are $10 for the show and $25 for the dinner and the show. To purchase tickets or get more information, call (405) 425-5530 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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, 04 Feb 2014 13:19:00 CST 93698b19-198e-4762-9bf0-640d7ce10cd0
OC honors student killed serving in Afghanistan “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

That’s what Oklahoma Christian University student Kyle Seitsinger did 10 years ago.

Serving as an Army Sergeant in Afghanistan, he died along with seven other U.S. soldiers when a weapons cache exploded. Kyle was less than a year away from graduating with a dual major in journalism and Spanish when he died.

On Wednesday, the 10-year anniversary of Kyle’s death, the OC family paused to remember Kyle during a special Chapel service.

Dr. Philip Patterson, distinguished professor of mass communication at Oklahoma Christian, delivered the Chapel message in memory of his former student. Ironically, the service also fell 40 years to the day after Patterson had been drafted with lottery number nine, which would have sent him to war if he hadn’t been in college at the time.

“I knew that someone else went in my place, that someone did have to go fill the military need in Vietnam,” Patterson said. “Today, we’re celebrating someone who did go in someone else’s place. We thought it was only fitting for you to pause for a moment and think about someone who sat exactly where you’re sitting right now who had the courage to say, ‘I’ll go if I’m called.’

“He did, and he paid the price.”

As part of the Chapel service, OC president John deSteiguer presented Kyle’s father, Dan Seitsinger, with a citation awarding a posthumous degree to Kyle, who aspired to be an international correspondent living and reporting out of South America.

Sgt. Kyle SeitsingerDuring his time at Oklahoma Christian, Kyle worked for the Talon, OC’s student newspaper, serving as an editor for two years. He also wrote part-time for The Oklahoman and the Edmond Sun.

In 2002, he was one of 16 student journalists chosen to participate in the Summer Institute in Journalism sponsored by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. His assignments included interviews with the Colombian president and with U.S. representatives Ernest Istook and J.C. Watts.

Prior to coming to OC, Kyle served in the U.S. Marines from 1993 to 2000, guarding U.S. embassies in Brasilia, Brazil, and Moscow, Russia, as well as the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kyle also was an expert marksman and rifle instructor at Camp Pendleton. He was named “Top Gun” at his embassy school graduation in Quantico, Va.

Kyle’s down-to-earth, gregarious personality attracted friends of all kinds. In Brasilia, he “adopted” two young poor girls and urged his family to send them gifts. He rarely missed a chance to practice Spanish or Portuguese with native speakers. Despite their cultural differences, Kyle always knew what to say and how to keep them talking.

He enrolled at Oklahoma Christian in the fall of 2000 and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves to help pay for college. He was called into active duty in November 2003.

When he and his fellow soldiers were killed, it represented the United States’ largest loss of life in Afghanistan at the time. Kyle was the first Oklahoman killed serving in “Operation Enduring Freedom” and is the only active student in OC’s history to be killed in the line of duty.

“That makes Kyle unique among us for that greater love,” Patterson said, invoking John 15. “Kyle stands alone.”


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Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:22:00 CST 23d64fe6-4558-4e2b-bf5d-90663ca4116d
OC alumna among featured speakers at TEDxOU Oklahoma Christian University alumna Erin Engelke is a featured speaker at the TEDxOU 2014 Conference Friday.

Engelke, the vice president of communications and public relations for Feed the Children, will speak about balancing work life with being a parent.

Launched in 1984, TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At the TEDxOU event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

Click here to watch a video profile and read a feature story about Engelke, who graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 2000 with a degree in public relations and advertising.


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Thu, 23 Jan 2014 23:26:00 CST 92bd8502-7929-449c-baf8-205e7543ff51
Engelke finds great success as PR pro By Kaylan Watkins, Courtesy of The Talon

A former Oklahoma Christian University student has achieved great success in the Oklahoma City business world.

Erin Engelke graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 2000 with a degree in public relations and advertising.

“When I graduated I had this very clear goal to climb the corporate ladder,” Engelke said. “About six years in, I realized that was actually not where my heart was. I wanted to use the skills that God has given me in a way that furthers my world, and not just in a financial way.”

She is now the vice president of communications and public relations for Feed the Children in Oklahoma City. Prior to holding this position, Engelke was the vice president of marketing and communications for World Neighbors.

“One of the awesome things about Feed the Children is that we have so much going on,” Engelke said. “From the moment I walk in the door to the moment I walk out the door, I am running.”

Engelke was recently honored by when a panel of local executives chose this year’s “Top 40 Under 40.”

“Receiving awards is always so humbling,” Engelke said. “You never think you are worthy of that recognition. You are alongside people who have done amazing things in their careers … I feel really, really blessed to be where I am.

Mercedes Rosenthal, a senior communications major at Oklahoma Christian, first came into contact with Engelke through PRSSA.

“Dr. (Josh) Watson gave me her contact information and told me how valuable of a mentor she could be for students in the communication department,” Rosenthal said. “Career-wise, students can learn a lot from her. The way she handles her personal life, faith and career is very impressive.”

As a student about to graduate into the same career field, Rosenthal views Engelke as an ideal mentor.

“When we keep in mind that we are working for God, it is easier to enjoy our jobs and be a blessing to everyone we work with,” Rosenthal said. “When I heard Erin speak about her job at Feed the Children, I knew she was doing just that. She knows that her ultimate goal is to work for the Lord and accomplish her work for his kingdom.”

In her position at Feed the Children, Engelke wears many different hats.

“My team oversees the reputation of Feed the Children,” Engelke said. “I manage all communication efforts, which extends to the international programs as well.”

On any given day, Engelke finds herself tasked with managing special events, messaging, handling sensitive phone calls and complaints, media relations, managing internal communications, speaking engagements and community relations, among many other things.

“There is definitely a lot of energy to it and I thoroughly enjoy that,” Engelke said. “I love getting to see our work come to fruition and resonating both with our internal audiences as well as our external audiences.”

During her time at Oklahoma Christian, Engelke was impacted by two individuals in particular: Philip Patterson, distinguished professor of mass communication, and Larry Jurney, chair and professor of mass communication.

“Dr. Patterson was very intimidating when I first came to OC,” Engelke said. “I had this theory that he was trying to weed out the ones who weren’t strong enough to withstand the profession.”

Engelke had the opportunity to work closely with Patterson when she was on staff with The Talon, first as the features editor and then as the editor-in-chief. 

“I developed the largest amount of respect for him,” Engelke said. “He challenged me more than any other professor – to think and do things out of the box and to get out of my comfort zone.”

Jurney taught Engelke’s introductory speech class during her freshman year and eventually became like family to her.

“I moved from Idaho and I didn’t know a soul,” Engelke said. “In so many ways, Dr. Jurney took myself and my husband under his wing and invited us into his home. He was like family to us when we didn’t have family here.”

When asked, Jurney clearly recalls having Engelke in class many years ago.

“She has this ability to make everybody feel comfortable around her,” Jurney said. “She can talk to anybody and anybody can talk to her and that ability to communicate is incredible.”

Brent Pedersen, senior, knows the Engelke family well.

“Erin is a people person,” Pedersen said. “She has a heart for people, whether they be friends, family or acquaintances. She greets everyone with a warm and genuine smile. “

Engelke believes that one can learn so much from a book, but at the end of the day it’s the real-life, hands-on experiences that stick.

“No particular situation is exactly the same as it is laid out in the book,” Engelke said. “That is why I encourage students to experience multiple internships in fields that they might want to work for in the future.”

For students looking to break into the career world after graduation, Engelke offers a piece of wisdom. “I would encourage them not to settle,” Engelke said. “Take advantage of opportunities even when you think you might not be quite ready for them … you would be surprised to find that you can actually handle more than you think you can. It has so much to do with being confident in yourself.”

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Wed, 20 Nov 2013 23:20:00 CST b15585b8-a3e9-4c34-9b96-c58daf6a5717
Academic departments honor outstanding alumni Oklahoma Christian University’s three academic colleges honored distinguished alumni during Homecoming weekend.

OC’s College of Arts and Sciences, led by Dean David Lowry, recognized Dr. Randel Estep (’86) – Chemistry and Physics; Jason Leger (’00) – Art and Design; Matthew Loeber (’02) – Nursing; David Jones (’94) – Communication; Dr. Travis Montgomery (’02) – Language and Literature; Leah Ries (’83) – Music; Dr. Neil Roberts (’99) – Biological Sciences; Jay Tabor (’86) – History and Political Science; and Dr. Nick Wisdom (’05) – Psychology and Family Studies.

The College of Biblical Studies, represented by Dean Alan Martin, honored Taylor Cave (’89) – Missions; Bob Herndon (’79) – Preaching/Ministry; Ryan Russell (’06) – Youth Ministry; and Ben Glover (’86) – Alumnus of the Year.

The College of Professional Studies, with Phil Lewis as dean, honored Kevin Arledge (’92) – Mathematical, Computer, and Information Sciences; Ted Norton (’84) – Business Administration; Anthony Rose (’07) – Teacher Education; Bahvahnie Smith (’00) – Mechanical Engineering; and Jim Theisen (’97) – Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dr. Estep serves as the Medical Director of Occupational Medicine at the McBride Clinic. He also is a medical consultant for the OG&E Corporation and is Oklahoma’s Delegate to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine House of Delegates.

Leger has been involved in the recording industry, news media, banking, and healthcare. He recently accepted a position with GE’s Oil and Gas division, where he is responsible for Global IT Commercial Operations.

Loeber is a charge nurse, a new hire coach, a preceptor for nursing students, and a certified ECMO technician at OU Children’s Hospital.

Jones is the Manager of Broadcast Operations and Technical Services for the Oklahoma City Thunder, overseeing gameday television broadcasts and operations.

Montgomery recently left the University of Mississippi, where he received the Lawrence “Shaky” Yates Award for Teaching Freshman Composition, for a tenure track position at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Ries teaches music in the public school system in Mankato, Minn., and serves as Artistic Director of the Mankato Children’s Chorus and director of the junior high and high school choirs.

Roberts has a private practice with the OSSO Healthcare Network as part of The Physicians Group in Oklahoma City and is Director of Endoscopy at Community Hospital in south Oklahoma City.

Tabor is a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, one of the world’s largest international law firms. He has represented General Electric in many transactions, including its $20 billion joint venture with Comcast for the ownership of NBC Universal and in GE’s recent $3.3 billion acquisition of Lufkin Industries.

Dr. Wisdom is a licensed Staff Neuropsychologist in the Mental Health Care Line at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He also is an Assistant Professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine and serves as President-Elect of the Houston Neuropsychological Society.

Cave is the Outreach Minister at Del City Church of Christ, where he preaches on Sunday nights. Herndon is a minister at South Brooke Church of Christ in Tulsa and is involved as a docent with the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Russell works with Northwest Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. Glover is the senior minister with Oakcrest Church of Christ in south Oklahoma City.

Arledge is a Solutions Consultant with the Boston-based software company Kronos, Inc. Norton has worked in various roles for MidFirst Bank, including his current job managing the bank’s Commercial Sales and Marketing group.

Rose is an Assistant Principal at Cheyenne Middle School in Edmond, and also serves as the Youth Minister at Wilshire Church of Christ.

Smith is a Senior Engineering Manager at OG&E, overseeing three groups: Maintenance Engineering, Project Engineering, and Inspection.

Theisen is the lead engineer over the F-16 Power and Controls team for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, where he was recently promoted to the title of Electrical Engineer Staff, Senior.

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.

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price. More information is available at


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Mon, 11 Nov 2013 09:00:00 CST d9f57852-27af-46be-bcad-bcd139785d52
OC presents 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Following on the heels of last year’s vibrant production of Seussical, Oklahoma Christian University is presenting Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as the annual Homecoming Musical Nov. 7-9.

Each of the three performances will begin at 8 p.m. in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium. Tickets cost $15, with discounts for groups, senior citizens and OC students, faculty and staff. Tickets can be purchased online (click here) or on weekdays at the OC Box Office or by calling (405) 425-5540.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice co-wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a musical that is suitable for all ages. Through the course of the story, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. The musical is set to an engaging variety of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop, and rock and roll. 

The production features 67 cast members; 24 are students from OC’s music and theater departments, 40 are children from the surrounding community, including children of OC faculty and staff members, and three are OC faculty members. 

Dr. Jim Baird, professor of Bible and philosophy and the director of OC’s Honors Program, is playing Jacob. Dr. Matt McCook, professor of history, is playing Pharaoh. Dr. Kyle Pullen, associate professor of music, is playing Potiphar. 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be directed by 1998 OC graduate Chad Anderson, conducted by OC professor of music Dr. John Fletcher and choreographed by OC adjunct faculty Barbara Berard. 

“This musical is the Biblical story of Joseph told with engaging modern music and involving a huge cast of OC faculty, students and children from the community,” said Phil Reagan, associate professor of communications and theater. “It is a perfect show for the OC family and the Oklahoma City community.” 

The musical highlights a full weekend of Homecoming activities at Oklahoma Christian. A complete schedule is available at



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Wed, 30 Oct 2013 09:51:00 CDT 1333e628-6e7a-4f54-be34-7cdf52e877f3
OC hosts 'An Evening with C.S. Lewis' Oct. 24 Oklahoma Christian University invites the community to spend an evening with C.S. Lewis on Oct. 24.

Professional actor David Payne will present his acclaimed one-man show based on the life of the famous apologist, poet and author. The one-night performance begins at 8 p.m. in Judd Theatre.

OC’s theater program hosted Payne four years ago, and again in 2010 for the world premiere of his show, “A Christmas with C.S. Lewis.”

Originally from Britain, Payne specializes in works that present the life and writings of Lewis. Set in 1963, the play portrays Lewis as he gives an informal talk to a group of Americans visiting England. With poignancy and humor, he recounts the people and events that shaped his life.

“As someone who has performed across the globe, David Payne embodies the commitment to excellence that professional theater demands,” said Barrett Huddleston, assistant professor of communication at Oklahoma Christian. “His shows demonstrate how people of faith can make an impact in the world through art.”

OC’s students will also benefit from Payne’s visit to campus. He will lead a performance workshop Thursday afternoon.

“Having Payne lead a workshop is very beneficial to our students,” Huddleston said. “They are strongly interested in seeing how his faith guides his performances.”  

Communication professor Phil Reagan, Huddleston’s colleague in the theater program, agreed.

“Lewis was such an influential thinker, and his works have had a profound impact on the academic world,” said Reagan. 

Admission is $10, and tickets can be ordered online at or by calling the box office at (405) 425-6310. All events are suitable for ages 10 and up.

One method students on campus are using to build awareness for Payne’s performance is through a public reading of the entire “Chronicles of Narnia.” Led by OC’s theater honor society, Alpha Psi Omega, the students began Monday at noon and expect to finish by Tuesday evening. The event takes place in room 234 in the Mabee Learning Center.


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Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:15:00 CDT fd81e30e-c2b3-416b-a3d9-a8e448381aec
'Walk With Honduras' hits Eagle Trail The seventh-annual Walk With Honduras will be held this Sunday on the Eagle Trail at Oklahoma Christian University.

New features of the walk, benefitting the Predisan medical mission in Catacamas, Honduras, include a 6 p.m. start time, commemorative flip flops and “prayer stations” that share the stories of patients.

The event also features a name change, switching “Walk For Honduras” to “Walk With Honduras.”

“It’s a subtle change of a preposition, but the meaning reflects that we are not just giving money to a great cause, but we are partnering with a ministry to make a difference in the lives of Hondurans who don’t enjoy the same advantages as we do,” event coordinator Mike Osburn said.

The one-mile walk will feature six stations (known as “puestos” in Honduras), where participants will stop to read stories that represent the lives of those who will benefit from the fundraiser.

One story features “Silvia,” a 13-year-old Honduran girl who walks a three-mile round trip to fetch water from a creek that is polluted.

Many OC students, members from several local churches and other friends of Predisan will participate in the walk to raise money for the non-profit organization.

“It is beautiful to see the commitment and compassion so many folks have for Predisan,” Osburn said. “It is a medical ministry in a mountain community another continent away, but we are still neighbors. And in Oklahoma, our world gets bigger when we can walk a mile in their shoes.”

The walk is getting some publicity help this year from a new event planning class at Oklahoma Christian.

“What better way to learn about event planning than to get in there and help with one, especially an event that helps others,” instructor Dawn Shelton said. “The students have jumped right in with super ideas for promotion. They are blitzing social media – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Vine - and are telling their friends and professors to join us. We will also be in on the not-so-glamorous work of meetings that includes seeing to details, some heavy-lifting of décor and equipment and clean up.” 

Registration for the Walk With Honduras is online at


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Mon, 21 Oct 2013 10:06:00 CDT a418ca5d-3d98-488c-afa4-9efd50bf5208
OC stages classic play 'No Exit' Oklahoma Christian University's first play of the 2013-14 season addresses the serious topics found in Jean Paul Sartre’s classic work “No Exit.”

With a focus on taking responsibility for one’s actions, the theater program will stage the play Oct. 3-5 in Judd Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (405) 425-5545. 

“No Exit” features three characters who are locked in a room with no way out. In the room, the lights never go off and all secrets are laid bare. The characters recount their lives and regrets, facing up to the decisions they made.

One of the reasons the production’s director, OC communication professor Phil Reagan, chose the play was because of its relevance to issues of blame in society today.

“It’s good for audience members, and in my opinion, especially Christians, to acknowledge that we cannot blame other people or conditions for our decisions,” Reagan said. “We may have the ability to justify our behavior because of what others did to us or due to our upbringing, but one day we will all be transparent.” 

While most describe Sartre’s setting as a look at hell, the play actually takes some of the more popular notions of hell and turns them on their head.

“In this play, there are no notions of an eternal torture by fire, ideas more influenced by Dante’s “Inferno” and repeated today in many church “hell house” plays,” Reagan said. “This play is a philosophical look at how some characters accept responsibility for their decisions, while others do not. It really challenges audience members to look at decisions they are making now and consider how those will affect them in the future.”

Reagan’s direction of the play helps him come full circle in his career. He was an actor in the play as an undergraduate. 

OC’s production of “No Exit” uses Paul Bowles’ English adaptation from French. Reagan also made the decision not to use curse words that would distract from the play’s core message. The play is appropriate for ages 16 and up.

“It is a play that a high school junior or older can understand and wrestle with,” Reagan said.

The play stars freshman Julianne Bigham as Estelle, senior Katelyn Jackson as Inez, AJ Leingang as Gaith and Garrett Marshall as Bellboy. Bigham is from Shreveport, La., Jackson is from Jonesboro, Ark., Leingang is from San Diego, Calif., and Marshall is from Louisburg, Kan.


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Thu, 03 Oct 2013 16:07:00 CDT c214bbde-b3c3-49a3-bc89-b8f659ebde85
Alum wins national award from Religion Newswriters Association By Erik Tryggestad
Courtesy of The Christian Chronicle

Bobby Ross, a 1990 OC graduate, won first place in the magazine reporting category in the Religion Newswriters Association's 2013 national awards contest.

Winners were announced Sept. 28 at the association's annual conference in Austin, Texas. 

Ross is the managing editor of The Christian Chronicle. He joined the Chronicle's staff in 2005.

His portfolio for the contest included:

Illegal immigration pits law vs. mercy: One minister's passion for aliens.

A rocky road for Mexico missions: Amid violence south of the U.S. border, many churches rethink travel plans. But safety concerns fail to deter some.

Black, white and Gray: Civil rights attorney who once challenged Lipscomb University in court receives the Christian university’s highest honor.

Ross also was a finalist — alongside journalists for publications including The Washington Post — for the association's Supple Religion Feature Writer of the Year Award.

"I am so blessed by the opportunity to combine my love for journalism with the ministry of the Chronicle to inform, inspire and unite Churches of Christ," Ross said.

Earlier this year, the Chronicle was named top national/international newspaper in the Associated Church Press "Best of the Christian Press" contest.

Since 2007, the Chronicle has received 47 national awards from the Associated Church Press and 39 awards from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists.

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Wed, 02 Oct 2013 14:30:00 CDT 2a748f19-fc0f-4d7c-8a7e-e44e2843560f
OC to honor England, Morgan and Lane for weather service OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Three lifesaving meteorologists will receive the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award at Oklahoma Christian University’s Associates Gala.

The 11th-annual dinner, featuring Oklahoma City Thunder broadcaster Grant Long as the keynote speaker, will be at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

OC will present the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award to KWTV’s Gary England, KOCO’s Damon Lane and KFOR’s Mike Morgan for their tireless efforts to keep people safe and informed during the May tornadoes.

The award, given annually to individuals who have devoted themselves to the betterment of Oklahoma, is named for Lee Allan Smith, a tireless proponent of Oklahoma City and the state as a whole.

Previous Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma award winners include Oklahoma City mayors Ron Norick, Kirk Humphreys and Mick Cornett, and former Oklahoma governors and first ladies George and Donna Nigh, Frank and Cathy Keating, and Brad and Kim Henry.

“These exceptional weathermen were three of the many heroes who emerged as the deadly tornadoes battered our state in May,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “Their expertise, instincts and professionalism saved countless lives. Their invaluable service under pressure embodies the spirit of Oklahoma.”

England, who joined KWTV in 1972, is an internationally-recognized authority in severe weather. In 1981, he became the first person in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public. In 2009, England and the News 9 weather team earned the Edward R. Murrow Award for being the best in the nation for breaking news/weather.

Last year, England won the latest of his three career Emmy awards for breaking weather coverage. He also has won the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

He recently stepped away from his on-air role as chief meteorologist to become KWTV’s vice president for corporate relations and weather development.

Lane joined KOCO in 2009 and now serves as the station’s chief meteorologist. He is the only chief meteorologist in Oklahoma City to hold the CBM seal of certification from the American Meteorological Society.

Before coming to KOCO, he was the chief meteorologist at KTXS in Abilene, Texas, and was named “Abilene’s Favorite Meteorologist” for three years in a row.

Morgan, chief meteorologist at KFOR, has won five Emmy awards since joining the station in 1993. He has received the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Award for the state’s best 10 p.m. weathercast 11 times and also has won a Radio Television News Directors’ Association Award.

Following the devastating 1999 tornadoes, Gov. Keating presented Morgan with the Humanitarian Award for going above and beyond the call of duty.

The Oklahoma Christian Associates Gala recognizes donors who make unrestricted gifts of $1,000 or more to OC’s general scholarship fund.

Long, the keynote speaker, is entering his sixth year as the Thunder’s color analyst and his first as an OC dad; his daughter Abagayl is a freshman at Oklahoma Christian this fall.

He had a 15-year NBA career, playing in more than 1,000 games as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies.

“Grant has a fascinating life story to share because of his long NBA career and his current success as an NBA broadcaster,” deSteiguer said. “He’s a first-class man of faith, and we’re happy his family feels at home at Oklahoma Christian.”

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 accounting, business administration, engineering, ministry, and divinity.


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Thu, 19 Sep 2013 08:55:00 CDT 16db6e9c-d782-416a-901e-99f44adf6879
Giving Tree stages 'You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown' As families return to their hectic school schedules, Oklahoma Christian University invites the community to enjoy the musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

OC’s summer theater production house, the Giving Tree Theatre, will stage the classic show Aug. 23-25 and Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Judd Theatre on the OC campus. Adapted to the stage by Clark Gesner, the musical comedy is based on Charles M. Schulz’s beloved “Peanuts” cartoon series.

According to the director, OC alumnus Chad Anderson, the musical is a great way for families to reflect on similar experiences as the new school year begins.

“The show is a humorous way to relive the antics of some of these well-known characters as they navigate life in elementary school,” he said. “The lessons are timeless and heart-warming, and almost everyone can relate to these experiences.”

Anderson also acts in the plays. He has directed the last four Homecoming musicals at OC, and he directed and starred in last year’s Giving Tree production of “Forever Plaid.” An active member of the theater community in Oklahoma City, Anderson holds a master of performing arts degree from Oklahoma City University and a master of fine arts degree in theater from the University of Oklahoma.

The musical also stars local OC alumni Jason Engelke, Madison Calloway, Kristi Krempges and Tommy Winberry, as well as student Andrew Zapata. OC music professor Paula Hutton serves as the accompanist, Brent Pederson is the stage manager and Tyler Perring served as set coordinator.

The Friday and Saturday performances of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” begin at 7 p.m. The Sunday shows begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be ordered by calling (405) 425-5540, online from the Giving Tree Theatre’s Facebook page or by visiting

The Giving Tree Theatre seeks to provide a showcase for the Oklahoma City area’s talented artists while inaugurating new talents into its group of performers and technical artists. Earlier this summer, Giving Tree produced the popular play, “Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”


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Wed, 21 Aug 2013 09:55:00 CDT 0984822c-8257-4a67-853e-ff0849db986c
OC grad honored in Forty Under 40 class Oklahoma Christian University graduate Erin Engelke is among the honorees in the 2013 Forty Under 40 class selected by okcBIZ magazine.

Engelke, who graduated from OC in 2000 with a degree in public relations and advertising, is the vice president of communications and public relations for Feed the Children.

She manages Feed the Children’s national and international public image, brand reputation and integration of public relations activities. She has traveled extensively around the world, including Guatemala, Albania and Peru, and is passionate about addressing hunger, poverty and disease.

A panel of local executives reviewed more than applications to choose the 40 winners, who will be profiled in the October issue of okcBIZ.

The awards program, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Oklahoma City and Midtown Renaissance, will be on Sept. 26 at IAO Gallery in downtown Oklahoma City.

“Being selected as one of the 40 Under 40 honorees by is a huge honor for me,” Engelke said. “I’m extremely proud to be a part of the Oklahoma City community and consider it a privilege to be recognized as one of its leaders, along with so many other incredible individuals.” 

Prior to joining Feed The Children this year, Engelke served as vice president of marketing and communications for World Neighbors. (Click here to read a feature about her work with World Neighbors.)

She has held several communications positions in the Oklahoma City area, including serving as director of public relations at Smith and Associates, where her clients included B.C. Clark Jewelers, CMP Corporation and Capital Abstract & Title Company. She also served as the marketing coordinator for MidFirst Bank, Oklahoma’s second largest privately-owned bank.

Engelke is an active member of the Junior League of Oklahoma City. She also serves on the board of the Public Relations Society of America, is past-president of the Association of Women in Communications (AWC) and serves on the PR committee for Infant Crisis Services.

Her husband, Jason, also is a 2000 OC graduate. They live in Edmond with their son and two daughters and are active members at Memorial Road Church of Christ.


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Fri, 02 Aug 2013 11:23:00 CDT 766b0258-685c-421f-bead-ecf94f61bf19
OC’s Giving Tree Theatre offers musical comedy Oklahoma Christian University is proud to provide community theater for families this summer.

The Giving Tree Theatre, OC’s summer theater production house, offers the musical, “Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

Adapted to the stage by Ernest Zulia, the comedy is based on the best-selling book by Robert Fulghum, with music and lyrics by David Caldwell.

According to Valerie Compton, the show’s director and a 2012 OC alumna, the musical makes for great family-friendly entertainment.

“The show is very funny, but it’s poignant as well,” Compton said. “The actors sing and talk about common, humorous childhood experiences, but the lessons touch on universal lessons that adults still struggle with today.”

The show stars OC alumni Bradley Gilliland, Skylar Henry and Sarah Nading, as well as OC senior Matthew Kessler, from Choctaw, Okla.

Gilliland teaches at Western Heights Middle School in Oklahoma City and founded the Western Heights Acting Troupe. Compton, Nading and Henry worked with Giving Tree last summer and have acted, directed and stage-managed a number of shows in college, community and professional theatres.

In August, Henry will begin work as an Attractions Cast Member for the Walt Disney World College Program.

“Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” will be staged the next two weekends, July 19-21 and 26-28. The Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7 p.m. The Sunday shows begin at 2 p.m.

The show will be staged in Judd Theatre on the Oklahoma Christian campus. Tickets are $10 and can be ordered online from The Giving Tree Theatre’s Facebook page, by visiting or by calling (405) 425-5540.  

Giving Tree seeks to provide a showcase for the Oklahoma City area’s talented artists while inaugurating new talents into its group of performers and technical artists.

As a community theater, Giving Tree offers different ways to get involved. Auditions are open to both seasoned veterans and zealous newcomers, and volunteers can serve on one of the crews for one of the shows.

In late August, the Giving Tree Theatre will stage the classic play, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” 

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 17:13:00 CDT b8a1038d-9775-4d08-a970-35f3fa34416f