Oklahoma Christian is excited to announce that the university has been awarded a $605,000 grant through the SAFETEA-LU program conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). The grant will support the OC Trails Project—an initiative spearheaded by OC’s Dean of Students, Neil Arter, which will provide walking trails and aesthetic enhancements around the campus’ exterior. These paths will connect with the growing Edmond trails system and, eventually, with the Oklahoma City trails system, making OC the gateway to Edmond.
Preliminary planning is still being done on the project, but the university anticipates that construction will begin by early 2010.
Oklahoma Christian University (OC) officials announced that the university has topped its $60 million goal for its Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign more than a year and a half before the target date. Not only did the university complete the landmark campaign early, but it exceeded its target by over $4 million—no small feat in any economic environment. Over the five and a half years of the campaign, the university raised $64.3 million from more than 7,000 supporters.
“This is the largest campaign in Oklahoma Christian’s 59 year history and has had a transformational impact on the university,” said John deSteiguer, vice president for advancement. “As a direct result of this campaign, our students are enjoying additional scholarships, enriched academic and extracurricular programs and a vastly enhanced campus.”
The Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign was officially launched on January 1, 2004. Despite the campaign’s significant monetary goal, less than 10 percent of pledged dollars to the campaign are still outstanding, a major accomplishment in today’s economic atmosphere, deSteiguer said. Because donors have been so proactive in fulfilling their pledges, the university has been able to put these funds more immediately to work growing endowment and filling pressing student and campus needs.
“Generations of OC students will benefit from the statement of faith in the university’s future by these alumni and friends who made this effort an overwhelming success,” said Dr. Mike O’Neal, president. “The vision embraced by the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and administration is for Oklahoma Christian to become the premier Christian university in this region of the country, and the successful Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign is propelling the university toward that vision. Our students and alumni are making a difference in the world and the success of this campaign will make quality higher education in a Christian environment even more accessible.”
Several significant campaign gifts have been announced previously. Support from alumni, friends, corporations, and foundations like Richard and Pat Lawson, the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, Jose Freede, Dr. Charles and Lesa Branch, Don and Donna Millican, Loyce Youngblood, Edna McNally, Mark and Susie Jackson, Harry and Brenda Patterson, Jack and Barbara Rowe, Jack and Wanda McGraw, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the J. E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation, Inc., OG&E, and literally thousands of others have made funded important permanent endowments and made possible critical bricks and mortar projects.
More than $35 million was added to the university’s endowment during the Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign, growing it to its most robust level in the school’s history. As part of this important growth, campaign proceeds have also funded:
* 50 new or substantially increased endowed scholarships
* 4 endowed faculty chairs – JJ Millican Chair in Accounting, Pat Lawson Chair in Arts and Sciences, Richard Lawson Chair in Professional Studies and an anonymous chair in Biblical Studies
* 3 endowed centers – McBride Center for Faith and Literature, Fletcher Center for Music, and Gaither Center for Biology
* Numerous Academic and Administrative endowment funds –
Major capital projects funded by the campaign include:
* The Lawson Commons, an official Oklahoma Centennial Project, including the Jack and Wanda McGraw Pavilion and the 100 foot Jose Freede Centennial Tower
* The Science Facility Initiative which dramatically upgraded all the University’s science facilities and will include an additional 13,000 foot wing
* The multi-purpose Jackson intramural fields
* The new intercollegiate baseball facility, Dobson Field
“Oklahoma Christian University is unique in higher education today. It truly educates both the mind and spirit of the students,” said Richard Lawson, who served with his wife, Pat, as national co-chairs of the campaign. “OC’s impact in Oklahoma City and beyond is significant and far-reaching, and we are proud to have been a part of this important campaign.”
The completion of the Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign marks the finish of the university’s most ambitious and intensive fundraising effort to date. The campaign’s overwhelming success is due to the incredible generosity and collaboration of the university’s alumni, friends and partners, and is a testament to the strength and vitality of this growing university, deSteiguer said.
Energized by the momentum set by the Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign, deSteiguer added that Oklahoma Christian would be launching a new campaign, “Remember OC,” later this year. This campaign, headed by Dr. Stephen Eck, director of planned giving, will seek to identify $16 million in planned gifts, including wills, trusts, and gift annuities over a two-year period.
The Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation has awarded a grant of $100,000 to Oklahoma Christian University to be paid over four years. The grant will be applied to the university’s Science Facility Initiative to complete the third and final phase of the project – a new wing housing classroom and office space on the north side of Herold Science Hall. Phase one included the renovation of the science laboratories in the first floor of Herold Science Hall in the summer of 2006. Phase two featured the renovation of Vose Hall, completed in the fall of 2008. Altogether, this three-phase project has been in excess of $6 million.
“We sincerely appreciate the Rapp Foundation’s commitment to higher education as evidenced by this generous gift,” said Dr. Mike O’Neal, president of Oklahoma Christian. “The expansion and enhancement of our science buildings will help ensure that our students have an outstanding science facility.”
The Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation strives to make a difference in the lives of students and has supported OC in the past with a $50,000 endowed music scholarship in 2005. Robert Glenn Rapp established the foundation that bears his name in 1951 to focus on education with an emphasis on building programs and supporting endowments and professorships. The foundation was granted charitable status in April 1953.
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc. has committed a matching gift of $723,000 to Oklahoma Christian University to complete the university’s Science Facility Initiative. The funds will be used to complete the third and final phase of the project – a new wing housing classroom and office space on the north side of Herold Science Hall. Phase one included the renovation of the science laboratories in the first floor of Herold Science Hall in the summer of 2006. Phase two featured the renovation of Vose Hall, completed in the fall of 2008. Altogether, this three-phase project has been in excess of $6 million.
“We are deeply indebted to the Mabee Foundation for this generous gift which we consider an investment in the future of Oklahoma,” said Dr. Mike O’Neal, president of Oklahoma Christian. “The expansion and enhancement of our science facilities has been our top academic capital project and this gift will help ensure that our students have an outstanding science facility. The addition of classrooms and faculty offices and storage space will take pressure off of other academic facilities and will enhance the ability of our outstanding science faculty to do what they do extraordinarily well—teach, mentor and research—all with excellence and from a Christian worldview. Our science students have an exceptional record of achievement in competition with other universities and our graduates enjoy a 90 percent plus acceptance rate into medical and graduate schools.”
The Herold Science Hall project, which began in May 2006, includes the complete modernization of the existing facility and the addition of about 14,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space.
O’Neal said the university is finalizing plans and seeking cost estimates and that construction is expected to commence by June 1 with an expected completion date during the summer of 2010.
The Mabee Foundation, formed in 1948 by Mr. John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee, aids Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, institutions of higher learning, hospitals and other organizations of a charitable nature. Since its founding, the Mabee Foundation has contributed more than $840 million to those organizations.
Earlier this month University administrators were excited to receive word that the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation would be sponsoring the 2008 McBride Lecture and guest speaker, Bill McKibben. The Foundation, based in New York, has generously granted $5,000 to the McBride Center for Faith & Literature to cover program expenses and spur growth in the program’s endowment. Director of the McBride Center, Dr. Scott LaMascus, who has been working long and hard planning the 2008 Lecture, is thrilled at the opportunity to partner with the Delmas Foundation.
“When I spoke with Shirley Lockwood at the Delmas Foundation, it was such a pleasure to hear of their knowledge of McKibben’s writings about the environment and their interest in building humanities programs across the nation,” said LaMascus. “We could not build the McBride Center as a permanent resource for the humanities without the help of foundations who share our vision — a clear sense of how powerful it is to bring out the very best artists, poets, and thinkers for cutting-edge programs.”
Of course, there is more to the foundation/university relationship than our dependence on their help until we get an endowment sufficient to our needs, LaMascus continued. “Whether providing operational funds, challenge gifts, or endowment gifts, I hope these foundation leaders understand how important they are to the process of building humanities programs,” he said.
“Often, as happened in my conversation with Ms. Lockwood, the conversation turns from the mechanics of funding to their questions about our proposed program. Finally, the conversations seem to turn to important humanities themes we share and which inspired the McBride Center in the first place. Whether the foundation is able to fund us or not, I enjoy having such conversations about shared values — in our case, the value of the humanities and the writers we are bringing to the University, city, and state,” LaMascus said.
“So it may sound corny, but every one of those conversations inspires me a little more and builds my enthusiasm for what we’re doing together,” he said.
McKibben is best-selling author of The Deep Economy, a 2008 book about creating a “durable future” for human civilizations. His other books have included Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age (2004), which deals with genetic engineering, and Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation (2005), which explores a biblical foundation for stewardship principles. Mr. McKibben has received the Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He is scholar in residence at Middlebury College and resides in Vermont with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter, Sophie. He is a member of the Methodist church.
Mr. McKibben will deliver the 4th Annual McBride Lecture for Faith & Literature at 7:00pm on October 3 in Oklahoma Christian’s Gaylord University Center. Previous McBride Lecture speakers have been Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota; U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky; and Marilynn Robinson, whose novel Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize.
In addition to the immediate effects of these visitors on our campus and state, OC faculty and alumni are beginning to see long-term benefits of the McBride Center programs. For example, Pinsky agreed to guest-judge the University’s literary arts magazine, Soundings, which is written and edited by OC students. The journal recently was selected as the nation’s best in 2007.
For faculty, these visitors also generate opportunities for scholarship such as a 2008 panel at the Modern Language Association which will focus on the work of 2007 guest Robinson. LaMascus will chair that panel, which includes an OC alumnus from North Carolina, as well as co-edit a special issue of Christianity & Literature on Robinson’s work. McKibben’s visit is connected to ecology, engineering, and theology courses, so LaMascus expects the benefits of the 2008 program to accrue to different disciplines across the campus and different communities around the nation.
About the Foundation:
Established by Gladys Krieble Delmas in 1976, the Delmas Foundation’s mission is to “promote the advancement and perpetuation of humanistic inquiry and artistic creativity by encouraging excellence in scholarship and in the performing arts, and by supporting research libraries and other institutions which transmit our cultural heritage.” To learn more about the Foundation and its programs, please visit www.delmas.org.