Some of those who have contributed most to the development of Oklahoma Christian University have been those who are products of Christian education themselves. Deryl L. Gotcher was reared in Texas and attended Abilene Christian College. He pursued his legal education at the University of Oklahoma, where he graduated and immediately began plying his new professional skills. He established a very successful trial law practice in Tulsa and was elected president of the Oklahoma Bar Association in the mid-1970s.
The Central Christian Board retained Mr. Gotcher to do some legal work as early as 1950, and he served as counsel for the college from that time forward. In 1968, he was added to the board of trustees. He became chairman of the board in 1979 and served 18 years, longer than any other person. Sixteen of those years were during President J. Terry Johnson’s administration. The two of them enjoyed a close working relationship in their respective roles of leadership.
Mr. Gotcher occupied a high visibility role for the college in Tulsa. He and his wife, Nadine, hosted many development and student recruitment functions, and he served as chairman for an array of operational fundraising campaigns. When the new Bible building was built in 1986, Mr. Gotcher led the campaign to secure its funding. On many occasions, he joined with Oklahoma Christian presidents to open the door for funding with his friends at the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundations. Mrs. Gotcher was active with the Tulsa chapter of Oklahoma Christian Women’s Association.
In 1973, Oklahoma Christian founded a subsidiary corporation known as the Oklahoma Christian Investment Corporation. It developed and acquired real estate properties to use as endowment for the college. Mr. Gotcher was a founding member of that organization’s board and became its second chairman. He also served as a member of the National Council for The Christian Chronicle, a newspaper owned and published by the university for the benefit of members of the churches of Christ.
An ardent Bible school teacher, Mr. Gotcher served as an elder for three congregations in Tulsa: 15th and Delaware, 29th and Yale, and Park Plaza