Alumni honored for strengthening OC-IC bond

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Feb. 27, 2004 - As part of festivities surrounding the 30th anniversary of the association between Ibaraki Christian University and Oklahoma Christian University, two alumni were honored for strengthening the relationship between the two universities.

Joe McCormack, retired associate professor of English, and Jim Batten, a 1971 graduate, received the recognition during a dinner on the OC campus that commemorated the relationship between the two schools.

McCormack was the first exchange professor from Oklahoma Christian to Ibaraki Christian. In 1979, he and his wife Lottie, along with three of their four children, worked on the IC campus for a year. When he returned to the U.S. in 1980, he became OC's Director of International Studies. In that capacity for 20 years, he developed and strengthened the exchange program. He did, perhaps, more than anyone else on the OC campus to nurture this most important relationship with Ibaraki Christian.

In 1997, McCormack was the faculty sponsor for the very first Pacific Rim program, in which OC students spend five weeks on the Ibaraki campus each year. Joe personally led the Japan exchange students to Ibaraki five times.

In 1971, Jim Batten was one of the teachers that Howard Horton, a missionary teaching at Ibaraki Christian at the time, recruited to teach at the college. Four decades later, Batten remains in Ibaraki and stands as a strong pillar supporting the bridge of international exchange and friendship between Ibaraki Christian and Oklahoma Christian.

Batten has led the Ibaraki student group to the OC campus countless times and has taught the OC students at Ibaraki virtually every year of this exchange relationship.

Since the beginning, Batten has demonstrated a servant's heart and willingness to do whatever he can to help the OC students and faculty. It's difficult for us to know everything he has done on behalf of Oklahoma Christian University.

The dinner itself drew more than 200 guests, many of them alumni who had participated over the years in the OC-IC exchange program, mission trips or in the Pacific Rim semester program. Several alumni from the 1999 Pacific Rim group attended the dinner with their trip sponsors, Dr. Bailey and Joyce McBride.

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