It would be hard to imagine someone who took his role as trustee more seriously than did Vernon Newell. Attracted to the college by Dr. George Benson and Dr. James Baird, who espoused a “no nonsense” approach to Christian education, Vernon was proud of Oklahoma Christian and the values that shaped the institution. He was eager for others to share his conviction on these matters.
For many years, Vernon Newell served as chairman of the trustees’ building and grounds committee. He worked closely with Dr. Stafford North to ensure the very best quality of construction on all campus buildings at a reasonable and fair price. His own professional career as owner of a roofing and sheet metal company enabled him to know many contractors and architects. On each campus project, Vernon would work closely with the winning contractors to see that value was delivered to the job.
Vernon and his wife, Rowena, were both generous contributors to the college. They helped to underwrite the expenses for athletic programs, Oklahoma Christian Women’s Association projects and a variety of other funding campaigns undertaken by the college. Many times, the Newells provided scholarship assistance to help with the education of those who could not otherwise afford to attend.
Vernon served as chairman for a few fundraising campaigns and solicited gifts on many others. He and fellow trustee Ralph Owens traveled to all corners of the state on behalf of the college. They raised money, recruited students and created goodwill wherever they went. More than once, they had to talk themselves out of speeding tickets by pleading with a highway patrolman that they were on a “mission of mercy” for the college.