From the start of the college in Bartlesville in 1950, the school’s work had been accredited. The University of Oklahoma had sent a visitation team at the end of the first year of operation and had declared that it would accept the school’s work in transfer. This meant that other schools would do the same. So from the beginning, Central Christian College’s students were able to have their work accepted at other colleges and universities.
Yet, the goal of accreditation by the North Central Association was a very important one from the start. Even while the school was in Bartlesville, it had begun the process of self-study, a first step toward accreditation. Dr. E.T. Dunlap, who later became Chancellor of Higher Education in Oklahoma, served as a consultant to help the faculty learn about doing a self-study.
After the college moved to Oklahoma City and had much more to offer, the process of seeking “candidacy” began. This meant that the school could achieve the first level of approval and would know, as result of a formal visit from the North Central, those things that would need to be improved before full accreditation could be granted.
Application for “candidacy” was made as a two-year school, but before that step could be complete, the decision was made to move to four-year status. The administrators asked themselves what they should do with the application. They decided to withdraw it and make a later application as a four-year institution. After the next application, candidacy was approved.
Then came the big step of seeking full accreditation. The application was a large book of data and an explanation of all phases of the college’s development. After the application was submitted and a visitation team came to campus, school officials appeared before a review panel. President James O. Baird and Academic Dean Stafford North went to Chicago by train to appear.
The final decision about which institutions would be accredited in a particular year was made at the meeting of the North Central Board at the time of the regular North Central Convention. Drs. Baird and North attended the meeting to make a show of interest. Dr. E. T. Dunlap, who had become a good friend of the school before and during his tenure as chancellor, also made a special effort to attend since he was a member of the board and could wield good influence.
As the board met, Baird and North anxiously awaited word. They first received it from President Hollingsworth of Langston University who, when the decision was made, slipped out of the room to bring the good news. After their return, Baird and North led the campus in a special celebration for this outstanding achievement.