When Richard Lawson graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1966 with a degree in math, he discovered something remarkable. The academic skills he acquired allowed him to win a fellowship to Purdue University and work at a high level as he earned a master’s degree in computer science.
“I found out while at Purdue that my OC education gave me the background I needed to compete with others coming from larger and more prestigious universities,” Lawson said.
His Oklahoma Christian experience also helped prepare him for success in life. What he began as a small software company in his garage grew into a respected worldwide enterprise, Lawson Software. He was honored by Ernst and Young as Entrepreneur of the Year and recently sold his company for $2 billion.
In 2004, Richard and his wife, Pat, a 1967 Oklahoma Christian alumna, gave their alma mater a gift worth almost $30 million. It was one of the largest single gifts ever made to the university. In 2008, Oklahoma Christian honored them by dedicating Lawson Commons, which features the McGraw Pavilion and 100-foot Freede Centennial Tower in addition to beautiful landscaping.
“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, OC board chair. “We are thankful for their wonderful spirit and blessed by their support of Christian education on this campus.”
Richard has served on the Board of Trustees since 1993 and chairs the Campus Life Committee. He was honored in 1998 as Outstanding Alumnus from the College of Science and Engineering.
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.
Both of their sons, Rick and Lance, and a daughter-in-law, Gaylene, attended Oklahoma Christian.
“OC gave me a Christian wife and two sons, as well as many friends who I stay in contact with because of church and school,” Richard said. “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.”