World Leaders

George H. W. Bush

In March 1992, as presidential elections were drawing near and candidates were appearing at rallies across the nation, Oklahoma Christian was honored as the chosen host for a campaign stop by President George H. W. Bush.

The rally, planned by the Bush/Quayle '92 Primary Committee, was held in the Thelma Gaylord Forum. Festivities included concession stands, campaign signs and performances by the OC Jazz Band, Concert Band, and Chorale. Students were encouraged to wear OC attire to promote unity for Oklahoma Christian. Student Senate President Jeanetta Davis presented Bush with an OC baseball jersey and hat in a private session Friday morning. President Bush arrived at the rally about 9 a.m. on Friday, March 6.

The campus was buzzing with excitement in the days of preparation before the president was scheduled to arrive; “How often does a university have a chance to play the role of host to the President of the United States?”

Security had to be top of the line to guarantee the president’s safety. Everyone involved in law enforcement in the area worked with the Secret Service to establish a “safety zone” within the campus. One thousand feet of barricade fencing was put up on the outer perimeter extending from the north sidewalk of the student center to the field house over to the learning center to Gaylord Hall extending to the east side of Gaylord back south to the mass communication building. Four metal detectors were set up to examine the crowds.

In preparation for the White House press corps, three rooms in the Biblical Studies Center were converted into a media filing center. During the president’s speech, the White House press corps was located directly in front of the stage area, while other media personnel occupied an area further back.

President George H.W. Bush speaks at OC in 1992

George W. Bush

On the occasion of official ceremonies celebrating Oklahoma Christian's move to university status, George W. Bush gave an address on campus on March 28, 1990. The future Governor of Texas and President of the United States was general partner of the Texas Rangers at the time. In his comments, Bush said universities throughout the nation must teach the Bible’s fundamental values and that universities must support fundamental rights such as economic freedom, political freedom, and religious freedom. As part of the day’s activities, OC President J. Terry Johnson and Board of Trustees Chair Deryl Gotcher bestowed honorary doctorates on Bush and longtime supporter Edward C. Joullian III.

Terry Johnson, George W. Bush, Edward Joullian, Deryl Gotcher

Paul Kagame

In 2006, Oklahoma Christian embarked on a special relationship with the East African nation of Rwanda. The country was seeking partnerships to assist the country’s VISION 2020 recovery from its tragic 1994 genocide. Through a business connection with OC board member and alumnus Richard Lawson, and his wife, Pat, OC President Mike O’Neal was introduced to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. From that relationship, OC began partnering with Rwanda in a variety of ways, highlighted by the Rwandan Presidential Scholars Program, which brings 10 to 20 of the brightest young men and women from Rwanda to OC each year.

In April 2010, when the first 10 Presidential Scholars graduated, President Kagame made his second visit to OC to deliver the commencement address. He said he appreciated Oklahoma Christian’s approach of “putting values at the center of education ... Oklahoma has become home to so many of our people and the traction that has occurred as a result means that our lives are now intertwined and that lasting relationships have been forged. Our students in the Presidential Scholars program have courage and the unique responsibility of being Rwanda’s first ambassadors to Oklahoma. They will be Oklahoma ambassadors to Rwanda when they return home. We know that they have done us proud and that they will put to good use the knowledge and the skills they have acquired from here when they go back to Rwanda. I’d like to thank you most sincerely for welcoming them and, by extension, all of us Rwandans into your community, and assure you that we are always ready to reciprocate.”

Dr. Mike O'Neal and Rwanda president Paul Kagame greet a Rwandan Presidential Scholar at graduation.

King Abdullah II

Students participating in Four Star Leadership with General Tommy Franks, hosted by Oklahoma Christian, had multiple opportunities to meet King Abdullah II of Jordan. The king hosted students and OC staff members during the program's trip to Jordan in 2010. The following year, he spoke to Four Star students during an excursion to Hobart, emphasizing the importance of education and leadership.

Mike O'Neal with Gen. Tommy Franks and King Abdullah II of Jordan