“The land! The land!” Thousands of Oklahoma Christian University students can instantly recognize those words as the words of their favorite teacher, Dr. Jim Wilson. They may or may not share his exuberance concerning the American frontier, but they remember the words because they are the words of a person who made a difference in their college years.
Jim came to OC in 1969 and quickly made his mark as an excellent teacher as well as one of the most beloved teachers at OC. Students loved his classes because they knew he loved students. Even in his largest sections of American history, he learned their names. He remembered their names. He attended their basketball and soccer games, their concerts, their plays. They knew he cared.
In 1973, he completed his Ph.D. in history at the University of Oklahoma, and taught large sections of freshman courses in American history and government for more than 30 years. For many years, he served as Chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, fondly known as the BASS Department, perhaps in recognition of the department chair’s passion for fishing. In 1997, Jim was named Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
Although he had a major influence on the university in his administrative roles, Jim’s greatest influence was as a teacher. His enthusiasm for history was contagious; thousands of students caught his love for the subject. They also caught his love for God and for family. Jim, his wife, Anna, and his daughter, Jimieanne, have served students as a powerful example of what a Christian family should be.
Jim’s kindness and his love and concern for students and colleagues truly made the campus community a much better place to live and to learn.