$1 million gift to fund endowment for academic program for OC athletics

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 1, 2012) – The grandparents of a current Oklahoma Christian basketball player have given $1 million to the university to fund an endowment for an academic program that will assist OC student-athletes.

Mo and Richard Anderson of Austin, Texas, presented the gift to fund what will be known as the Anderson Endowment for Academic Excellence in Athletics. 

The endowment will provide OC student-athletes in the university’s 16 varsity sports with an athletic academic advisor who will monitor in-class grades and arrange for tutoring if necessary. It also will enable the podcasting of classes for all excused absences for athletic-related travel, which will increase as OC applies for NCAA Division II membership and joins the Heartland Conference, which has member universities in Kansas, Arkansas and Texas as well as Oklahoma.

“This is something that will impact every student-athlete that Oklahoma Christian has,” OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz said. “One of the things I wanted to do when I started as athletic director was develop some kind of leadership training program for athletics. That has kind of evolved into this. This will be great for us as we move into the Heartland Conference.”

Mo Anderson is the vice chairman of the board for Keller Williams Realty Inc. The Andersons’ granddaughter is Andee Wayne of Norman, who just finished her sophomore season with the Lady Eagles.

“Our granddaughter, Andee Wayne, received a basketball scholarship to OC and she is loving her experience and thriving at a high level,” Richard Anderson said. “She will be a junior this fall and is receiving a great education as a pre-med major. We have enjoyed our interaction with the school and faculty. It has been such a positive experience for our entire family that we wanted to show our appreciation and to add value to the students’ education.”

Janz said the Andersons “are really, really good and generous people. Both of them are very intelligent, college-educated and really understand the importance of higher education.”

The program will be led by a director of academic excellence in athletics. Half of the salary for that person will come from money generated by the endowment, with the other half coming from the university. Janz said he hopes to hire someone for the position in time for the start of the 2012-13 academic year.

As the program develops in the coming years, life-skills training and leadership components will be added, Janz said.

“We have some really good people in the leadership fields on this campus,” Janz said. “Eventually we will have them help us develop a curriculum for athletes in leadership areas that will be taught through this program.”