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Climbing Higher

Greg Wedel and his wife Valari (Boker 82) have logged countless miles on OC’s new Eagle Trail, the three-mile course that winds around campus.

Greg might even have the most sweat equity among all of the OC board members, as he helps Valari train for her mountain climbing adventures.

A seasoned climber, Valari has scaled Cho Oyu in the Himalayas and Mount McKinley in Alaska. She recently returned from her quest to climb Mount Everest.

It takes stamina and joy for the journey, and the Wedels model that so well. They gave the lead gift to establish the Eagle Trail in honor of their parents, Tom and Judy Boker and Mack and Sue Wedel.

The trail is in constant use by the OC family and neighbors from the surrounding community.

Greg and Valari are parents of three grown daughters and are active members at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

Greg joined OC’s Board of Trustees four years ago. He is a managing partner of the accounting firm, Wedel, Rahill and Associates in Oklahoma City.

Greg serves on the board’s Resources Committee, overseeing capital projects and maintenance of existing structures, such as the trail and the new administrative offices in Benson Hall.

He says the university looks great - aesthetically and financially - and is in a sound position to weather the changing times of higher education.

He is encouraged that the board recognizes that the current cost-model of higher education is not without flaws.

“As I tell my staff, ‘What got us here, won’t keep us here,’” he said, saying that the university must continue to innovate while keeping true to its mission it has held dear for more than 60 years.

Greg notes that Oklahoma Christian hasn’t raised tuition in two years, and has been able to keep costs down while still delivering high-quality education.

“I can’t say enough about (board chair) Don Millican and his leadership. It is not uncommon for him to stop us during a meeting in order to pray for guidance,” he said.

That practice of prayer and the fellowship OC’s trustees share is uncommon compared to the other boards and groups that Greg serves on in banking, real estate and private equity.

Although not an OC alumnus himself, Greg feels a sense of pride when he runs across OC accounting graduates doing well in the business world.

He also is proud of Valari, his partner in life and in fitness. While Valari had to return home from Everest before she reached the summit, her indomitable spirit will keep her climbing and encouraging all of us to pursue our dreams.

“I love that connection with God in creation,” Valari said. “It’s nothing you’ll ever see in normal life ever. It’s indescribable, the stars and up above the mountains and the clouds and the colors, the sunsets and the sunrises. To me, that is just a very personal intense realization of why I’m here and who created this place.”

By Dawn Shelton (90)