AT&T Oklahoma awarded $15,000 to Oklahoma Christian University to help fund the Bridge Program, which provides academic and emotional support for underprepared freshman students.
The gift was made during a ceremony Monday afternoon on the OC campus. AT&T made a previous donation of $15,000 to OC’s Bridge Program in 2011.
“We are incredibly appreciative of AT&T’s continued generosity to our Bridge students,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “We want every student to succeed, and this gift helps ensure they have the tools to do so.”
At the ceremony, student Karissa Wheeler spoke of the positive difference the Bridge Program has made in her college experience. Wheeler will graduate in December with a degree in family studies/child development. She came to OC from Chicago and began as a student in the Bridge Program. She is now a mentor for other students in the program.
“My high school advisor told me I would never make it in college. It only took a few weeks for me to fall behind in algebra. I remember going to see (Bridge Program assistant) Lannea Pemberton and telling her my advisor had been right. Thankfully, she never gave up on me, even when I didn't believe in myself,” Wheeler said. “I have also had the privilege to become a mentor with the Bridge Program and work with students who struggle like I did. Watching my students succeed is one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had.”
The university’s Bridge Program helps students whose secondary education has not fully prepared them for college. It provides students with special tutoring, developmental classes, instruction in time management and study skills, career counseling, guidance and mentoring. Many of the students are the first generation of their families to attend college, and others often come from low-income families.
The program began in 2006 with 13 students and has more than 100 students today. Just a few years ago, OC was one of only two colleges in the state recognized in the Center for Student Opportunity’s College Access and Opportunity Guide, which highlights supportive college environments for low-income, first generation students.
Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study and an undergraduate Honors Program, plus graduate programs in business, engineering, ministry, and divinity.
In addition to its Oklahoma City campus, OC has study abroad opportunities in Europe, Honduras and the Pacific Rim. This year, the university opened a Learning Support Center in Kigali, Rwanda, allowing Rwandan students to study in OC's online MBA program.