Walter Judd will always be remembered for his stirring keynote address at the National Republican Convention in Miami in 1960. It was the year Richard M. Nixon was nominated to run for president against John F. Kennedy. Judd was a member of the House of Representatives, and some political pundits thought he might be named on the ticket as Nixon’s vice-presidential running mate. Fate turned its head in another direction, and Dr. Judd finished out his distinguished career in the House a few years later.
A medical doctor and former missionary to China, Judd was a man of immense principle. He was an avowed conservative in his political and economic orientation, yet he had a heart of compassion and avoided being cast as an unsympathetic reactionary. Audiences young and old were mesmerized by his mastery of the national and international political scene. He rarely spoke anywhere without a standing ovation. Dr. Judd was to the 1900s what Daniel Webster had been to the 1800s.
In the late 1960s, Dr. Judd began speaking on behalf of Oklahoma Christian’s citizenship education programs. He was a contemporary of Dr. George Benson and shared with him both a political point of view and the years each had spent on the mission field in China. Through this acquaintance, he became involved with Oklahoma Christian College.
Dr. Judd addressed thousands of high school students and their teachers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, St. Louis, Dallas and other cities where Freedom Forums and workshops were held. Many who had never heard of Oklahoma Christian came to know it through their having been in the audience where Dr. Judd spoke. He also gathered support from patrons for OC’s American Citizenship Center and eventually for its on-campus academic programs.
Among those who became friends of Oklahoma Christian because of Dr. Judd were Stanley and Dorothy Kresge. In 1978, when the Garvey Center was first opened, the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan, and the Kresges personally provided major grants for the new construction. The new theatre was named for their dear friend, Walter H. Judd.