OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Feb. 4, 2012) – The Oklahoma Christian University Board of Trustees selected Dr. John deSteiguer as its next president, concluding a nationwide search to succeed Dr. Mike O’Neal.
OC Board Chair Don Millican said that Dr. deSteiguer, currently the university’s Senior Vice President for Advancement, will officially assume the duties and responsibilities of the president in June.
Dr. deSteiguer will be formally introduced during a Chapel ceremony on Monday, Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. in Hardeman Auditorium, with a reception following in the Garvey Center. The live stream of the ceremony can be watched online at www.oc.edu/live.
“This is an exciting day for all of us at Oklahoma Christian University,” Millican said. “Dr. deSteiguer is well-known and well-respected in the community and on our campus, giving Oklahoma Christian a visionary leader who possesses a strong appreciation and respect for Christian education and the difference it makes in the lives of our students.
“Dr. deSteiguer has a proven track record in the area of development that is critical to our future success. We look forward to working with him to advance Oklahoma Christian University as one of our country’s finest private Christian universities.”
Millican said the university was blessed to have two well-qualified and talented finalists, who were selected in December by a Presidential Search Committee. The finalists, deSteiguer and Dr. Allison Garrett, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, were interviewed this weekend by the 33-member board. Dr. deSteiguer’s selection was announced Saturday.
A native of Tahlequah, Okla., deSteiguer has spent almost two decades in higher education. He served at his alma mater, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, as a senior development officer before arriving at Oklahoma Christian in 2002 as part of President O’Neal’s new administration.
During nine years as OC’s chief advancement officer, a record $110 million was given to the university, including the successful $60 million Higher Learning~Higher Calling campaign that was completed ahead of schedule.
The campaign led to significant improvements for the campus, including the new Lawson Commons, featuring the Freede Centennial Tower and McGraw Pavilion, and the $7.5 million initiative to build the Noble Science Wing and upgrade the Mabee Laboratories at Vose Hall. The campaign also produced four new endowed chairs and more than 60 new or enhanced maintenance, operating and scholarship endowments.
“I am deeply honored and humbled by the board’s decision and confidence in me,” deSteiguer said. “OC is a one-of-a-kind university and I appreciate our board, faculty, staff and alumni. During my nine years here, I have been inspired by the personal engagement our students receive to ensure they are intellectually and spiritually ready to succeed and serve when they graduate.”
Dr. deSteiguer is a member of several civic organizations, including the Edmond Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee, the Oklahoma Planned Giving Council, the Edmond Rotary Club and the Oklahoma Bar Association.
He received his undergraduate degree at Northeastern State, summa cum laude, in 1984. He was a Rotary International Scholarship recipient at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, and earned his juris doctorate from Pepperdine University, magna cum laude, in 1989.
He and his wife, Darla, also an attorney, have two teenage children, Joe and Abby. He is a frequent Bible class teacher and a deacon at Memorial Road Church of Christ.
“On behalf of the board, we thank the entire OC community – faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters – for their prayers and encouragement during this exciting transition,” Millican said. “We are also grateful to President O’Neal for his fine leadership that has strengthened our university in many ways and positioned us for greater success in the future.”
In turn, President O’Neal congratulated the board on its decision.
“This is a great day in the life of Oklahoma Christian University. The future looks extremely bright under the future leadership of Dr. deSteiguer. I look forward to the next few months of transition and of supporting him in every way I can,” said O’Neal, who will retire as president in June.
Oklahoma Christian began in 1950 and has grown into a comprehensive Christian university serving more than 2,100 students. OC’s 200-acre campus is located in northeast Oklahoma City, and borders the city of Edmond.
OC offers 60 undergraduate majors and 30 additional areas of study, plus graduate degrees in business administration, engineering, ministry and divinity.
Both U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review annually recognize Oklahoma Christian as one of the best universities in the western region of the United States.