Joe McCormack left the cotton fields of southwest Oklahoma in 1957 to attend Central Christian College in Bartlesville. Along with being a student the final year in Bartlesville and the first year in Oklahoma City, Joe Eddie (as he was known then) claims to have been part of the very foundation of the new location by helping dig the ditches on the Oklahoma City campus.
McCormack returned to Oklahoma Christian University in 1967 to teach in the Language and Literature Department. Although he is beloved as a professor who inspired countless English majors to research and think for themselves, his work in establishing the university’s international programs took the school to a new level in recognition and in efforts to provide students with a higher-quality educational experience.
McCormack’s relationship with Ibaraki Christian College has been an enduring one. As the driving force through the 25 years of Oklahoma Christian’s exchange program with Ibaraki Christian, he has served as both the sponsor for the American students and host for the Japanese. He has implemented several changes designed to give both American and Japanese students a richer experience.
His leadership in the Japan program evolved into the role of Director of International Studies. For more than two decades, he has built the university’s programs in the Pacific Rim, Vienna, Latin America and England.
In more ways than one, McCormack changed the face of Oklahoma Christian University. In the late 1970s, he developed a degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), making Oklahoma Christian one of only a handful of colleges in the entire nation offering an undergraduate degree in TEFL. As a result, numerous graduates have gone out to teach in language programs around the country and overseas, in many cases to become self-supporting missionaries.
McCormack has been recognized repeatedly by the university and his peers for excellence in teaching and leadership. He has received both the Merrick Teaching Award (‘87) and the Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching (‘93). His wife, Lottie, has been heavily involved in hosting and sponsoring groups of students, and all four of their children attended Oklahoma Christian.