KIGALI, Rwanda – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) held its first-ever international commencement ceremony Saturday, presenting 38 Rwandan students with Masters in Business Administration degrees.
The top two students, Willy Niyonteze and Fabrice Kayihura, were admitted into Delta Mu Delta, an international honor society that recognizes and rewards superior scholarly achievement of students in business administration.
OC’s MBA program in Rwanda started two years ago as the latest step in a fruitful relationship between Oklahoma Christian and Rwanda.
OC president John deSteiguer gave Saturday’s commencement address, praising the rebirth of Rwanda after the 1994 genocide and the dedication of OC’s newest MBA graduates.
“There’s no question about the lessons that can be learned and the benefits we all can enjoy through the cultivation of a global perspective. International education has the power to enrich you in unique ways,” deSteiguer told the graduates. “Your interaction with American professors at OC has helped prepare you for success. Just as their interaction with you has deepened their knowledge and perspectives.”
Rwandan dignitaries in attendance included: Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi; Minister of Education Vincent Biruta; Minister of Infrastructure Silas Lwakabamaba; Minister of Local Government James Masoni; and Vice Mayor of Kigali Hope Tumukunde.
Other dignitaries in attendance included: Clare Akamanzi, chief operating officer of the Rwanda Development Board; Dr. Ivan Twagirashema, chairman of the Rwanda Chamber of Industry; Dr. Philip Cotton, principal of the College of Medicine at the University of Rwanda; and Dr. Nelson Ijumba, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Rwanda.
U.S. representatives at the ceremony included: Dale Dawson, founder and chief executive officer of Bridge to Rwanda; Tom Allen, country director for Bridge to Rwanda; Terry Neese, founder of Peace Through Business; and staff members from the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda.
OC alumni Tim Kaboya, Yves Iradakuna, Brett and Kelly Shreck, and Rusty Linden also attended the ceremony along with former OC staff members Bryan and Holly Hixson, who now work and minister in Rwanda.
OC’s delegation was led by President deSteiguer, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Don Drew, MBA Director Ken Johnson, and Director of International Programs John Osborne. Graduate Engineering Chair Byron Newberry, MBA Program Coordinator Angela Kopy, International Admissions Counselor Kelsey Herndon, Director of Creative Marketing Judson Copeland, Videographer/Editor Kris Strobeck, and student Abby deSteiguer also were on the trip.
The OC delegation’s trip also included a meeting with the president of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame. President Kagame visited the OC campus in Oklahoma City in 2006 and 2010, giving the spring commencement speech during his second trip to OC.
In 2006, Oklahoma Christian began the Rwandan Presidential Scholars Program, which gives Rwanda’s top students an opportunity to pursue a first-rate education in important fields such as engineering and business. Between 10 to 20 Rwandan students have attended Oklahoma Christian every year since, pursuing degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Students can earn their MBA degree from Oklahoma Christian in a variety of ways: by attending class two nights a week for one year or one night a week for two years; by taking all courses online; or by choosing a hybrid method with some classes in person and some online.
Students can pursue a general MBA degree or focus on one of these specialty tracks: accounting, finance, health services management, leadership and organizational development, project management, or marketing. More information is available at www.oc.edu/mba.
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, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.
The last nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students this year.