OC Dedicates Lawson Commons


Oklahoma City - Oklahoma Christian University officially dedicated three Centennial projects in a special ceremony March 28. Governor Brad Henry took part in the dedication ceremony. Many state and local dignitaries were also in attendance.

Lawson Commons, home to the striking 100-foot Freede Centennial Tower and the spacious 8,000-square-foot Jack and Wanda McGraw Pavilion, connects OC’s student residential area on the west to the heart of the university campus. 

The new three-tiered mall area connects facilities dedicated to learning, living, athletics, and social life - student residences on the west to the Mabee Learning Center on the east, and the Gaylord University Center on the south to the Payne Athletic Center on the north.

Lawson Commons is named in honor of alumni Richard (OC ‘66) and Pat (OC ‘67) Lawson, who pledged $30 million to the university in 2004. This is the single largest gift ever made by OC alumni.

Richard Lawson is co-founder of Lawson Software, based in St. Paul, Minn., 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.

Pat Lawson is one of OC’s most effective volunteers and encouragers. She 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.

The Freede Centennial Tower at Lawson Commons is named after Mrs. Jose Freede. This clock tower stands as a focal point on campus.

A self described “perfectionist,” Freede has accomplished much in the world of volunteerism. One publication even called her the “million dollar volunteer,” referring to the money she has raised for worthy causes around the world. She has served on countless boards and continues to volunteer her time and support to non-profit organizations, including Oklahoma Christian University.

Oklahoma Christian awarded Freede an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1995 in recognition of her lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Oklahoma City, for the goodwill she has generated for Oklahoma Christian within Oklahoma City, and for her dedication to the ideals of patriotism and responsible citizenship through her involvement with Enterprise Square USA.

Jack and Wanda McGraw were a model Christian couple. They were married for more than 51 years until Jack’s passing in 2004. Successful oil and gas entrepreneurs in Midland, Texas, the McGraws were fully devoted to God, to their family and to others. A longtime university trustee, Jack was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2004.

The McGraw Pavilion offers as an outdoor space for events for students, alumni and friends of the university.

“The Lawsons, McGraws, and Mrs. Freede are great examples of the kind of people who are helping Oklahoma Christian grow and develop,” Dr. Mike O’Neal said. “Their love and dedication allows us to continue to offer our students a strong education and an ever-developing campus.”