$2 million gift helps fund OC 'spiritual life reboot'

$2 million gift helps fund OC 'spiritual life reboot'

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Thanks in part to a $2 million gift, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) students have a new way to build their “life resume” this fall.

Ethos, OC’s new spiritual life program, provides multiple ways for students to grow in faith, serve others and worship God. OC students can fulfill their Spiritual Life requirements through daily Chapel services, mission trips, service projects, Bible studies and other options.

About a quarter of the anonymous $2 million gift is funding the launch of the Ethos initiative. In total, 11 givers have donated almost $600,000 toward Ethos since OC’s Thrive fundraising campaign launched in June.

“Ethos is valuable for OC students because it will help them build a resume of the whole person they’re becoming – not just academically, but in their service, leadership, community and spiritual dimensions, too,” Director of Ethos Summer Lashley said. “This is about more than helping students get jobs after graduation. It’s about students living a full life so they can become who God wants them to be.”

Ethos is rooted in Mark 12:30-31, where Jesus identified the greatest commands: to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The program encourages OC students to pursue their interests and use their talents in five dimensions: Community, Discipleship, Discovery, Servanthood and Worship.

Most of OC’s student body is already involved in service and ministry opportunities, many of which now count toward students’ Spiritual Life requirements through Ethos’ Servanthood component. The Worship component includes daily Chapel, an important OC tradition since the university began in 1950.

“Spiritual Life is at the core of the OC experience. OC students are known for actively living out their faith and reaching out to help others in community,” President John deSteiguer said. “But Ethos can be a game changer in the way it helps our students practice spiritual disciplines and become intentional about their spiritual lives.”

OC’s ultimate goal for full implementation of Ethos is $1 million. Meeting that goal will start a fund to help students, faculty and staff members go on mission campaigns, provide leadership training and development for students, fund technical support and updates for the Ethos mobile application, and furnish on-campus venues for Bible studies and other gatherings. Information about donating toward Ethos can be found at oc.edu/thrive.

“Ethos represents a meaningful and relevant paradigm shift for our OC family,” Director of Advancement Operations Will Blanchard said. “We will be intentional in cultivating a campus where the Spirit lives and breathes, where students and employees serve alongside one another to meet the needs of our community, and where groups of Eagles regularly and personally worship and grow together.”

More information about this unique spiritual life initiative is available at oc.edu/ethos.

University friends have donated three separate seven-figure gifts to Oklahoma Christian 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. Food service provider U Dining gave $1 million toward the renovation of OC’s dining hall.

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.

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