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.