Mike O'Neal takes office as OC's fifth president


Oklahoma Christian welcomed to campus its fifth president, Dr. Mike E. O’Neal, and his wife, Nancy on June 17, 2002. Dr. O’Neal was appointed to the position in January by the board of trustees.

Oklahoma Christian’s faculty and staff, along with alumni and university friends, shared a special time of prayer for the university and Dr. O’Neal’s leadership on his first day in office.

“There is no better way to begin my time at this wonderful institution than in prayer, thanking God for the opportunity to offer Christian education to young people and asking for His wisdom, His grace and His direction,” Dr. O’Neal said. “Nancy and I have looked forward so much to working alongside the faculty, staff and the board of trustees, as well as the university’s alumni and friends in churches and communities throughout this region, all of whom have been so important in the growth here over the past 40-plus years.”

Among early priorities for Dr. O’Neal’s administration were preparing the campus for the opening of the fall semester on August 26 and establishing new relationships with the university’s constituencies, including alumni, churches, students and parents, and longtime friends of Oklahoma Christian among the local business community.

“It is important in this time of transition to reach out to all those both within and outside the campus community who contribute so much to the extraordinary educational experience Oklahoma Christian provides to its students,” Dr. O’Neal said. “During the coming months, we will be inviting many friends and alumni to the campus and will be speaking to congregations and civic groups throughout the region. It is a good time to renew our commitment to and reinvigorate the strengths that have enabled Oklahoma Christian to excel in the past - excellence in academics, devotion to the spiritual mission, focus on the worth and dignity of the individual student, and a firm commitment to the principles of liberty and American free enterprise. We covet the prayers and the friendship of all who share those values.”

Dr. O’Neal came to Oklahoma Christian from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where he served in a variety of roles over 26 years, most recently as vice chancellor. He was selected as OC’s president after a nationwide search that resulted in 60 nominations or applicants for the position.

A native of Antlers, Oklahoma, O’Neal attended Oklahoma Christian for two years (1964-66) before transferring to Harding University to finish his undergraduate degree in accounting and business in 1968. He earned his juris doctorate from Stanford University with a concentration in business and tax law in 1974.

O’Neal brings to his new role extensive experience in Christian higher education serving in broad leadership roles. He served as general counsel and vice president for finance and administration at Pepperdine before being named vice chancellor in 1991.

He also served on the faculty of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, from 1974 to 1976 as an assistant professor of business administration. He also was a planned giving officer.

A CPA, he also has worked with the accounting firms of Coopers and Lybrand, Touche, Ross and Co., and Ernst and Ernst.

A lifelong member of the Church of Christ, O’Neal has served as an elder, Bible class teacher, songleader, preacher, and ministry leader. He chaired a building committee for the Malibu Church of Christ.