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Lawson Commons boosts campus appearance, use

In March, Governor Brad Henry and many other state and local dignitaries dedicated Lawson Commons, which features the 100-foot Jose Freede Centennial Tower, the 8,000-square-foot Jack & Wanda McGraw Pavilion and extensive landscaping.

The new three-tiered mall area connects facilities dedicated to learning, living, athletics, and social life - student residences on the west to the Mabee Learning Center on the east, and the Gaylord University Center on the south to the Payne Athletic Center on the north.

The entire development is an official Oklahoma Centennial Project and has greatly enhanced the students' living environment. Lawson Commons is named after two distinguished OC graduates, Richard (66) and Pat Lawson (67), who pledged $30 million to the university in 2004, the largest alumni gift in OC’s history.

The Lawsons applied what they learned at Oklahoma Christian to build a leading software company with global reach. More importantly, they recognized the value of their Christian-based education and have generously given back so future generations can enjoy the benefits of a superb education from Oklahoma Christian.

The Freede Centennial Tower at Lawson Commons, which now serves as a focal point on campus and the surrounding area, is named after Mrs. Jose Freede. Freede is a well-known Oklahoma City philanthropist and has raised millions of dollars for worthy causes around the world. She continues to volunteer her time and support to non-profit organizations, including Oklahoma Christian.

The McGraw Pavilion, named in honor of Jack and Wanda McGraw, serves as an outdoor space for events for students, alumni and friends of the university. Jack, a West Texas oil man from Midland, was a church elder for almost 30 years and served both as a director for the Midland Christian School and an Oklahoma Christian trustee.

He and his wife, Wanda, literally blessed thousands - missionaries, students, educators and the less fortunate - with their time, love and resources. Jack's own words say it well, "The Bible says you are blessed to be a blessing to others. I love Christian education because it blesses so many people."

"The Lawsons, McGraws, and Mrs. Freede are great examples of people who are helping Oklahoma Christian grow and prosper," President Mike O'Neal said. "Their love and dedication allow us to continue to offer our students a strong education and more inviting campus."