OC Announces Lawson Commons, endowed chairs


Oklahoma Christian University announced the construction of new campus facilities and the establishment of two new endowed chairs in honor of two alumni.

Lawson Commons, named for alumni Richard and Pat Lawson, will encompass the entire student residential area in the western half of the OC campus, along with the three-tiered mall area stretching from the new University House on the west to the Mabee Learning Center on the east.

In addition to the existing student housing that is being substantially upgraded and increased, two new structures will be added to Lawson Commons. A new 80’ x 100’ covered pavilion for university events and student activities, along with a 100-foot signature clock tower, will be located on two tiers of the large Lawson Commons mall. The pavilion and clock tower will be connected with a planned water feature, and the entire mall area will be improved with new hardscape, trees and other landscaping.

The Lawsons have donated stock valued at almost $30 million to OC over the last several years. Richard Lawson is co-founder of St. Paul, Minn.-based Lawson Software and has served on the OC board of trustees since 1994. He was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus from OC’s College of Science and Engineering in 1998.

President Mike O’Neal described Pat Lawson as one of OC’s most effective volunteers and encouragers. Pat is a central figure in the success of the North Texas Alumni Chapter.

“Her love for OC and its students is demonstrated regularly by her personal involvement in connecting North Texas alumni, students and prospective students with Oklahoma Christian,” O’Neal said.

According to O’Neal, “the recent transformation of the student residential areas and the strengthening of the university’s financial structure is largely due to the generosity of Richard and Pat Lawsons. OC will be ever indebted to them for this transformative gift. The recognition we are announcing today is a mere token of the esteem and appreciation we have for these great benefactors.”

Construction will begin after the first of the year and is expected to take 18-24 months to complete. The project is being designed by TAP Architecture of Oklahoma City.

Also announced were the establishment of the Richard Lawson Endowed Chair in Professional Studies and the Pat Lawson Endowed Chair in Arts and Sciences. The chairs will be used to support academic areas special to the Lawsons.