We call Thrive the Complete Campaign because we aim to move several very visible, very important OC projects from “in progress” to “complete” over the next three years. I’m very excited to tell you that today we had the pleasure of marking our first Thrive effort, DAH Auditorium, as complete from stem to stern.
Plus we got to surprise an OC legend in the process.
Introducing James Cail Auditorium! Current and future home to many, many potent spirits and minds. And since not all of you will be able to read the tiny print on the plaque above, here’s a transcript of Dr. Cail’s story and his powerful and humorous influence at Oklahoma Christian:
“Oklahoma Christian University is blessed with a storied history of servant-hearted heroes who led this campus and our OC family to bigger, better, and brighter things in both academic and Kingdom work. One of those heroes is the legendary Dr. James Cail.
A renaissance man, Dr. Cail was a powerful force for thought, for God, and for belly laughs across two of our campuses and across many chapters of his life.
Beginning his impact as a student in Bartlesville in 1956, Cail was a character to watch from day one. A talent to be reckoned with on the debate stage, Cail took home two Junior College Tournament titles for Oklahoma Christian. He had a regular presence on the theater stage, too, performing in and writing for OC’s original show, Songs America Sings.
Cail’s second chapter at Oklahoma Christian began in 1963 when he assumed leadership of the admissions team. For most of the 60s, hundreds of students would get their first taste of that special OC “something” through Cail’s passion, heart, and humor. He kept writing and performing, too. Few from that era are unfamiliar with his guitar or his silky vocals, which were fixtures at First Week Follies.
But Cail’s third and most beloved chapter began in 1972, when he joined the OC faculty as a professor of psychology. He held court in this auditorium for 31 years. Students loved his seminars in family studies, psychology, spirituality, and more – not simply because he brought academic depth to the subjects, but because he made them wonderfully human. (And speaking with him now, you’d find he still does.)
Throughout every chapter, Cail made his home here. It’s on this campus that he met his wife, Judy (’67), and it’s here they raised their three children: Trey (’92), Mindy (’96), and Liz (’05). And the Cails welcomed a large extended family of seekers and fun-lovers from the student body for decades, too. Their family continues to make a difference on this campus daily, and we expect they will for many years to come.
For being a tireless performer, teacher, advocate, comedian, scholar, and family man, Cail has been honored many times – as the Gaylord Distinguished Chair, as an outstanding alumnus, and as a professor emeritus. Today, however, thanks to the generous gifts of his students and family, and prompted by the exuberant love of thousands of Eagles, we’re thrilled to give our friend, Dr. Cail, his greatest honor yet, as we remake this legendary auditorium and officially make it his.
Many of us learned at his feet. We’re thrilled to know that generations more will learn in his seats. It’s with great pride, and a whole lot of love, that we dedicate Cail Auditorium.
May all who learn here see Jesus in the world and humor in the air.
September 19, 2014”
What else can we say, Dr. Cail? Words don’t do you justice. Thank you.