Branch, Mitchell, Simmons join Oklahoma Christian board

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma Christian University announced Friday that one of its former presidents, a leader in the medical field, and a distinguished California scholar will join its Board of Trustees.

The appointment of Alfred Branch, Dr. Lynn Mitchell and Dwayne Simmons gives OC’s board 35 active members in addition to 14 life trustees.

"To say that these three are highly-talented additions to the board would be an obvious understatement," OC board chair Don Millican said. "We continue to strive to add trustees to the board who bring passion for the university's distinctive Christian mission, relevant knowledge and experience, and differing perspectives, which will enable the board to more effectively guide OC in the coming years."

Alfred BranchBranch, a 1984 graduate of Oklahoma Christian, is the president and chief executive officer of Moriah Real Estate Company, which he co-founded in 2008.

MREC and its affiliate, Moriah Realty Partners, owns interests in two million square feet of high-rise offices, 5,600 multi-family and university housing units, 429 suburban hotel rooms, retail shopping centers and approximately 200 acres of commercial and residential land for development. These properties are in markets throughout Texas, Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina, and in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.

Branch served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Oklahoma Christian from 1999 to 2008, and served as its acting president from 2001 to 2002. He oversaw the development of more than $48 million in student housing, multi-family housing, campus renovation and retail projects.

Branch serves on the board of the YMCA of Oklahoma City and as a deacon and ministry director at Memorial Road Church of Christ in Edmond. He and his wife Judy (Lovejoy), a 1985 OC graduate, have been married for 26 years. They have two children: Meagan Lytton, a 2011 OC graduate, and Lee, a junior at Oklahoma Christian. All of Alfred Branch’s siblings – Charlie, Warren, Dan and Cynthia – also attended Oklahoma Christian. Their father, Charles, is an OC Life Trustee and their mother Sylvia is a trustee of the Christian Chronicle.

Lynn MitchellMitchell, a 1976 Oklahoma Christian graduate, is the chief medical officer of OU Physicians and associate dean for clinical affairs for the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. She is integrally involved with quality improvement, peer review and credentialing, and works directly with the more than 700 providers that deliver clinical care as part of OU Physicians.

Prior to her current role, Mitchell was the Oklahoma Department of Health’s chief medical officer and deputy commissioner for prevention and preparedness services. She served as state Medicaid director from 2000 to 2010 and as medical director for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority from 1995 to 2000. She has also served on the National Advisory Committee for the Center for Health Care Strategies.

From 1989 to 1995, Mitchell was a member of the OU College of Medicine faculty and held an adjunct appointment in the OU College of Public Health. She taught Biology, Anatomy and Physiology at Oklahoma Christian from 2005 to 2010.

Mitchell and her husband Barry attend Memorial Road Church of Christ in Edmond. All three of their children have attended Oklahoma Christian. Braden (2009) and Barrie Jo (2010) are graduates and Brennan is a sophomore at OC. Lynn’s father, the late Ray Vaughn, Sr., was a legendary athletic director and coach at Oklahoma Christian. Her mother, Sue, taught speech at OC. Her brother, Ray Vaughn, Jr., is a 1970 OC graduate and also serves on the OC board.

Dwayne SimmonsSimmons is a professor in neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, he serves as director of the Minority Access to Research Careers Program, the Bridges to Baccalaureate Program, and the Diversity for Neuroscience Education and Outreach Program in the university’s Brain Research Institute.

He also has served on the faculties at Pepperdine University and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

He has earned many honors, including the Independent Scientist Award from the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders, the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in Biology from UCLA, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pepperdine University.

Simmons earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Pepperdine in 1980 and earned his doctorate in medical sciences from Harvard University. An accomplished researcher, he has authored many articles and textbook chapters and presented at conferences and seminars in the U.S. and abroad.

He and his wife D’Nisa (Hoover), a 1985 Oklahoma Christian graduate, attend Culver Palms Church of Christ in Los Angeles, where they both teach classes and D’Nisa helps organize Vacation Bible School and other ministries. They have two children: Dillon and Danae.