Lawsons give $30 million gift


Oklahoma Christian University announced a gift valued at almost $30 million from alumni H. Richard and Pat Lawson of Dallas. The gift is one of the largest single gifts ever made to the university.

“We made these gifts in appreciation for the excellent academic and spiritual training we received at Oklahoma Christian and in hopes that it will encourage other alumni and friends to provide resources to help assure that Oklahoma Christian University strengthens its position as one of the finest private Christian universities in the country,” Richard Lawson said.

The unrestricted Lawson gift is among a number of major gifts Oklahoma Christian has received in recent years. Along with the late Edward L. Gaylord, chairman and publisher of The Oklahoma Publishing Company, the Lawsons have ensured the university’s financial strength and vitality for the 21st century. In 2000, Mr. Gaylord presented Oklahoma Christian with a gift of $40 million, being distributed in $2 million increments over 20 years. The majority of these two landmark gifts are being invested as part of the university’s permanent endowment.

“Oklahoma Christian University is richly blessed to have alumni such as Richard and Pat Lawson who are willing through their generosity to make it possible for thousands of young people to enjoy the same excellent experience they received as students at the university,” OC president Dr. Mike E. O’Neal said. “We thank God for giving the Lawsons such generous and caring hearts, and for instilling in them a passion for Christian higher education.”

Richard Lawson co-founded Lawson Software, Inc., in 1975, nine years after he graduated from Oklahoma Christian with a degree in computer science. He now serves as the company’s chairman of the board. Pat Lawson has served both Lawson Software and numerous charitable causes since her graduation from Oklahoma Christian in 1967 with a degree in elementary education.

In the past 29 years, Lawson Software has grown into a company with annual revenue of $344 million by providing business software to large and mid-sized organizations in healthcare, retail, professional services, public sector, financial services and other strategic markets. Most of the company’s customers are Fortune 2000 companies. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., Lawson Software has offices and affiliates serving North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, and employs approximately 1,600 professionals worldwide.

Computer World magazine recognized Lawson Software in 1996 as the first enterprise software company to provide business applications for the World Wide Web. In 2002, Deloitte & Touche named Lawson Software to the Minnesota Technology Fast 50, an award that recognized companies that achieved the most rapid revenue growth between 1997 and 2001.

Richard Lawson joined the OC Board of Trustees in 1994. He was named an Outstanding Alumnus from OC’s College of Science and Engineering in 1998. Purdue University, from which he earned a master’s degree in computer science in 1968, named him a School of Science Distinguished Alum in 2002.

“Richard and Pat Lawson continue to demonstrate the qualities of servant leadership through their gifts of time, resource and counsel to Oklahoma Christian,” said Don Millican, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We are thankful for their wonderful spirit and blessed by their support of Christian education on this campus.”