$1 million sets table for cafeteria remodel

Kurt and Debbie Hermanson with OC president John deSteiguer
Kurt and Debbie Hermanson with OC president John deSteiguer

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University’s Thrive campaign continues to pay big dividends with another seven-figure financial commitment to OC. Food service provider U Dining has given $1 million toward the university’s “Campus Café Reboot.”

Possible renovations with this project, which will require $3 million in Thrive donations, could include the addition of fixed seating and modern food stations to enhance students’ campus dining experience. The project also could also remove exterior walls from OC’s dining area, opening it up to natural light and expanding the entry into the food service area.

“This is really, really big. We are going to dramatically upgrade our dining experience for our students, and they’ll be excited as they see things roll out in this renovation,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “U Dining has been a great partner for years, and we’re already blessed to have food options that rank among the best of any school our size. This commitment sets the table for the exciting next chapter in our relationship.”

Since succeeding Sodexo as OC’s food service provider in 2009, U Dining has donated more than $85,000 to OC student missions, organizations and events in addition to $70,000 in food donations. U Dining vice president Kurt Hermanson is entering his 26th year working at Oklahoma Christian and is an honorary alumnus of the university.

“After we saw this project on the Thrive menu, we wanted to plant the seed and spark interest in this venture that is near and dear to us,” Hermanson said. “We believe in OC’s administration and the direction the university is going. This commitment shows our faith in Oklahoma Christian. As OC grows, it helps our growth and enables us to give more back to the school.”

Bolstered by the $1 million from U Dining, OC officials hope to have the Campus Café Reboot funded during this academic year in order to begin renovations next summer. Information about donating to the project can be found at oc.edu/thrive.

Oklahoma Christian announced a separate seven-figure Thrive gift earlier this month. A $1 million donation by Benton and Paula Baugh of Houston, Texas, provided the startup capital for OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. OC reorganized those programs into their own college because of their strength and popularity.

Oklahoma Christian opened its 65th academic year Monday with what is expected to be another record-setting student body when enrollment is certified in September. The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest total enrollments ever, including a record 2,424 students in 2013-14.

Recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, OC offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.