44 Days

Posted more than a year ago.

44 days.

That’s how long it’s been since last we talked. Shame on me; that’s a long time.

“Why the radio silence?”

There are many reasons, I suppose. With this blog I’ve wanted to give you an honest, behind-the-scenes look at Thrive. But I’ve also wanted to make every post count—to give you something meaningful to chew on each and every time you visited. Whenever I’ve found myself posting simply for the sake of an update, something deep in my bones has told me frankly: “Shut it down, Will. Shut it down.”

And that’s the pattern that’s played out time and again over the last month. You might recall me saying that you don’t want to know everything. I believe that. Your time is valuable, and I want your moments in Thrive to be well spent.

“But what of your moments at OC over the last 44 days?”

Interesting that you ask. Let me give you some of the highlights:

Day 1 (Oct 1) – Partnered with the School of Education on a $50,000 grant proposal to the Cox Connects Foundation for an Outdoor Classroom. Team selected as finalists! (Presenting today, 11/13, so prayers appreciated.) 

Day 2 – Partnered with our intrepid programmer, Jamie Scott, to launch the first ever all-digital student callout process. When you get a call, they can take your gift securely that night! (You have no idea how exciting this is.)

Day 3 – Joined gaming and animation professor, Jeff Price, on a trip to Francis Tuttle to explore 3D motion capture systems, 3D printing, and digital drawing labs. A future Thrive project, perhaps? Time will tell.

Day 5 – OC Lectureship 2014 begins!

Day 6 – Celebrated Benton and Paula Baugh and their $1,000,000 pledge to OC Engineering! Marked our second banner “complete.”

Day 7 – Completed a multi-week analysis of team operations and reported findings to our fearless leader, Kent Allen. Also redrafted a $100,000 proposal for a donor family interested in investing in our new coffee shop!

Day 9Met with a major Thrive donor to discuss the possibility of a secret, awesome project… (The secret will be unveiled Nov 14. Tomorrow!)

Day 10 – Worked with OC deans, Jeff McCormack and Jeff Simmons, on future plans for our College of Natural and Health Sciences and our College of Business Administration.

Day 12 – Research project with doctoral candidates at Pepperdine University culminated in a study on best practices for alumni storytelling using new media. Findings from this study are informing how we do Homeward 2015—also coming to you tomorrow!

Day 14* – A cross-departmental team convened to discuss the future of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) at OC. Together, we’ve built a new $1,000,000 proposal for Thrive. Expect to see more on this soon!

*This also happened to be my anniversary...and we all had the flu. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed, honey! That's a tough one to beat.

Day 16 – Our teams from events, spiritual life, marketing, and advancement met to make plans for our surprise effort on November 14. (That’s all I can say… for now.)

Day 22 – Ben Langford and I met with a group of students planning a Spring Break mission effort to Cambodia. (Very cool.) We were able to build the students custom online giving forms to use in their fundraising. This is a first! Check out oc.edu/missionnoah for an example.

Day 23 – Plans for Homeward 2015 were finalized. Tessa Wright, Stephen Bell, Kendra Ribble, and I launched into the design, copy, and web functionality for what will be a truly unique year for Homeward. (Get excited, grads.)

Day 27 – 17,200 somethings ordered for Homeward 2015. Also, first draft of the STEM team’s proposal put in play. 

Day 29 – Terry Winn hosted a facility planning meeting, during which our teams met with architects and designers for the new cafeteria! We emphasized a warm, inviting area that students could take ownership of… “home,” you might say.

Day 30 – Enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Santa Fe Depot and a tour of the Harvey House in Waynoka, OK, hosted by our dear friend, Sandie Olson.

Day 31 (Halloween) – Homeward site received storytelling functionality. What’s that mean? You’ll see soon. President deStieguer, Kent Allen, and I also built a timeline for Thrive proposals made by the end of the year.

Day 34 – Outdoor Classroom team received word that we were finalists in the Cox Connects Grant competition!

Day 36 – Homeward, Thrive surprise, AND Homecoming planning hit a fever pitch. Dozens of amazing people worked around the clock (and are still working) to take vision to reality.

Day 41 – Kris Strobeck, Wes McKinzie, Judson Copeland, and I start working in earnest on Thrive and Homeward videos. Coming soon!

Day 42 – $1,000,000 STEM proposal finalized.

Day 44 – 8,600 Homeward mailers prepped outside my door by our incredible assistant, Sharon Lindsey, and a team of hearty student workers. Across campus, our teams in marketing, events, and spiritual life prepared for Friday’s Thrive surprise. Homecoming logistics analyzed in the advancement war room (Okay, it’s just a regular conference room…but this time of year it feels more epic than that.) and final plans put in place. The fundraisers met to discuss a calendar year end appeal to the OC family and to finalize Thrive proposals for the fall. Proposals for heritage health sciences, the coffee shop, the cafeteria, fitness equipment, and STEM drafted and redrafted.

…which brings us to today, November 13. Just 24 hours away from Homecoming, Homeward, and a historical Thrive surprise. We’re busier than perhaps we’ve ever been, and it’s awesome. Plus, since we spoke last, we've partnered with over a thousand people to raise $650,000+ for Thrive and developed plans for $9 million in new proposals by January 15. (I feel a lot of blog posts coming on.)

Check back in tomorrow around 11:20am CST (that’s chapel time… hint, hint my near campus friends) for more on our Thrive surprise. It’s been a very good month and it's about to get even better. I promise.