Edward King Gaylord was the pivotal person in Central Christian College’s move to Oklahoma City. A friend and admirer of George S. Benson, Mr. Gaylord was president and publisher of the state’s largest newspapers, the Daily Oklahomanand the Oklahoma City Times.
When Dr. Benson informed him that the college might move to a metropolitan base, Mr. Gaylord energized civic support for Oklahoma City’s winning bid. He was even instrumental in locating the 200-acre site that became the new campus in 1958.
Mr. Gaylord led Oklahoma Christian’s first fundraising campaign in the Oklahoma City corporate and civic communities. It was an effort to help pay for the move and to acquire the new campus. The campaign, launched in 1956, was for $200,000. Beginning in 1960 and every five years thereafter, a similar campaign has been conducted among this group to provide funds to build the campus buildings and support the infrastructure. Oklahoma Publishing Company has always provided the linchpin gift in these campaigns and has been equally important in attracting other corporate donors to support Oklahoma Christian.
Mr. Gaylord, though slight in stature, was a giant among his peers. He had business and political clout and was highly regarded by all who visited Oklahoma. Education was a special interest of his. He helped organize the Frontiers of Science program in Oklahoma and provided college scholarships for many of his newspaper carriers. His interest in Oklahoma Christian was born of his belief that the mission of this college was different from most. He liked the emphasis on character building, the conservative values espoused by the administration and the pioneering efforts of the college in the area of instructional technology.
On the new campus, the arts classroom building was soon named for E.K. Gaylord and the original science building for his friend and banker, C.A. Vose. Both agreed to serve with a prestigious group of business leaders, known as the Board of Governors, to assist the college with its local and national public relations.
Both E.K. Gaylord and his wife, Inez Gaylord, died in 1974. Mr. Gaylord, 101 years old, had attended civic meetings for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the day he died. His funeral was held in Oklahoma Christian’s Hardeman Auditorium. President James O. Baird flew home from a mission trip to Vietnam in order to officiate the services. Over the next 15 years, charitable lead trusts, administered by E.K. Gaylord’s son, Edward L. Gaylord, provided major endowments to the university.