College president, Google manager, missionaries, civic leaders among Homecoming honorees

College president, Google manager, missionaries, civic leaders among Homecoming honorees

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will honor accomplished graduates at its annual Alumni Banquet on Nov. 14.

The award winners include Harold and Sally Shank (Distinguished Alumni), Andrew Silvestri (Distinguished Young Alum), OC missionaries to Brazil (Missions Award), and Richard and Mo Anderson (Honorary Alumni).

The banquet, a highlight of OC’s Homecoming Weekend, will start at 6 p.m. in the Gaylord University Center. Banquet tickets cost $25 and can be purchased by calling (405) 425-5110, emailing or registering online at Discounted prices are available with the purchase of a table for eight.

The Shanks have epitomized OC values since graduating in the early 70s. In 1976, they planted a church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and served there for 10 years. They then moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where Harold preached at Highland Church of Christ for more than 20 years and launched several urban ministries.

He returned to Oklahoma Christian as a Professor of Old Testament in 2006 before becoming president of Ohio Valley University in Vienna, West Virginia, in 2011. Sally, OVU’s first lady, is also an adjunct professor, and serves alongside Harold in spreading the gospel and reaching out to the poor and vulnerable.

“Harold and Sally Shank are two of the most remarkable godly people my wife Joy and I have ever known,” said distinguished professor of Bible Lynn McMillon, OC’s 2012 Distinguished Alumnus. “As powerhouse student leaders, they revolutionized OC’s mission emphasis. They have long had a heart for underprivileged people. Pointing the way to Jesus and serving in His name is the hallmark of their lives.”

Silvestri, a 2007 OC graduate, will be honored as OC’s distinguished young alumnus. In the past seven years, Silvestri has earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, worked at Chesapeake Energy and in Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s office, and recently accepted a job as Google’s public policy and government relations manager.

Oklahoma Christian will present its Missions Award to a collective group of Eagles who have served as missionaries in Brazil. For more than 50 years, families with OC connections have planted churches in Brazil and helped spread the gospel. Brazil now has more than 250 churches of Christ with a collective 11,000 members.

The Andersons, graduates of the University of Oklahoma, will receive OC’s Honorary Alumni award. Their granddaughter, Andee Wayne Gower, attended OC on a basketball scholarship and graduated earlier this year.

In 2012, Richard and Mo gave $1 million to establish the Anderson Endowment for Academic Excellence in Athletics, which provides academic advisors to student-athletes in OC’s 12 varsity sports, as well as podcasts of classes during athletic-related travel.

“Our honorees for this year’s Alumni Banquet are, once again, outstanding representatives of what Oklahoma Christian is all about,” Executive Director of Alumni Relations Bob Lashley said. “There are so many of our alumni who are worthy of such an honor, and we’re proud to have the chance to recognize this slate of OC alumni and friends at Homecoming.”

Homecoming weekend also features OC’s musical production of “Little Women,” scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday in Hardeman Auditorium. Tickets cost $15, with discounts available for senior citizens, groups and OC students, faculty and staff. They can be purchased online at and on weekdays at the OC Box Office or by calling (405) 425-5540.

OC’s Homecoming Chapel will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the Homecoming Parade and Homecoming Carnival and Lunch. Homecoming Chapel will feature an OC Chorale performance, a devotional and a special recognition of OC’s 50-year class of 1964.

OC’s 2014-15 basketball season tips off Saturday afternoon in the Payne Athletic Center. The women’s team hosts York College at 1 p.m., followed by coronation ceremony for the 2014 Homecoming King and Queen, and the men’s basketball game against Dallas Christian at approximately 3 p.m.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, the “Back to the Barn Bash” will celebrate 1990s-era alumni in the Dave Smith Athletic Center.

A complete schedule of all Homecoming activities, including numerous class and club reunions, is available at