Interest had been brewing for a Christian college in Oklahoma since 1946. A board had been established and a down payment had been made on a location in Bartlesville, but energy had not yet been generated to make the plan viable. Someone was needed who could build interest and develop confidence in the new school.
L.R. Wilson had just resigned from the presidency of Florida Christian College, a school for which he had been the founding president four years before. The board decided that since he had just experienced starting a new Christian college and was a well-known and respected preacher throughout Oklahoma and the surrounding states, Wilson would be ideal as the first president of the new school they had named Central Christian College (now Oklahoma Christian University).
On September 1, 1949, Wilson accepted the role and immediately began to rally support for the new college. His challenge was to raise the necessary funds, get a classroom building and a women’s dormitory built, employ the initial faculty and staff, and get enough students for a good beginning. He had to do this within one year, by September 1950.
Wilson’s energetic year was rewarded as the new college opened its doors to 97 students. He had led in the effort that brought the college into being and continued to serve as its chief administrator through its first four years of operation. No doubt, L.R. Wilson’s determination and hard work were a major force in getting Central Christian College off the drawing board and into full operation.