OC reaches $5.6M goal for new café, coffee shop

Artists’ renderings of Oklahoma Christian University’s new campus café and coffee shop.
Artists’ renderings of Oklahoma Christian University’s new campus café and coffee shop.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Last year, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) students had more than a quarter of a million dollars in their hands to support a campus fundraising project. The students’ pick, a new campus café, is now fully funded through $5.6 million pledged toward OC’s student dining facilities.

In addition to the $275,000 student-directed gift, OC reached the fundraising goal thanks to a $1 million donation by food service provider U Dining, a $1 million grant from the Mabee Foundation and more than $3 million in additional support from the Gaylord Foundation and individual donors.

“This was the ideal fundraising project. Our students wanted an enhanced dining experience and comfortable, caffeinated friendship space, and our donors generously invested to make it happen,” President John deSteiguer said. “The new dining facility and coffee shop will make our park-like campus even more like home for our students, faculty, staff and guests.”

OC officials have identified the northwest corner of the Gaylord University Center as the location for the new campus café. The 15,872-square-foot facility will feature modern food stations and diverse seating options for students in a scenic, open space that looks out on Lawson Commons, the McGraw Pavilion and the Freede Centennial Tower.

The project will allow Oklahoma Christian to preserve its existing banquet hall, which hosts special events for the university and the surrounding community throughout the year.

Located in the second floor atrium of OC’s Mabee Learning Center, the coffee shop will feature a relaxing gathering area and collaborative study rooms. Construction timelines for both projects will be announced at a later date.

“We are so grateful to our donors for making this project a reality,” Vice President for Advancement Kent Allen said. “This is a game changer for our campus community.”

Eleven projects have been fully funded through OC’s Thrive campaign since its launch in June 2014. More than 6,000 donors have given almost $22 million overall toward this student-focused endeavor, which emphasizes building projects and programmatic efforts that quickly and directly impact OC’s campus experience and spiritual environment.

An anonymous $2 million gift is helping fund multiple Thrive projects, including the launch of OC’s Ethos spiritual life initiative. A $1 million commitment by Benton and Paula Baugh of Houston, Texas, provided strategic initiative funds for OC’s reorganized College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Funding also is complete for: Das Millicanhaus, OC’s living-learning facility in Vienna, Austria; the renovation of Cail Auditorium in OC’s Davisson American Heritage Building; strategic initiative funds for OC’s new College of Natural and Health Sciences; an overhaul of campus fitness equipment, including “The Dub,” a modernized fitness center in the Payne Athletic Center; renovation of select student apartments; high-definition projection systems in Hardeman Auditorium and Judd Theatre; the 2014-15 general scholarship fund; and a strategic planning fund.

“As students, we’re very excited for the many opportunities being made available to us through the Thrive projects,” student body president Zekariah McNeal said. “Students know that projects such as the new café and coffee shop will help make our campus culture even better in future years. We’re thankful and excited for what is to come.”

More information about donating toward Thrive initiatives is available at oc.edu/thrive.

Oklahoma Christian is ranked as one of the best universities in the western United States by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. A recent study rated Oklahoma Christian as one of the best higher education values in Oklahoma, citing the university’s low net price combined with OC graduates’ high starting salaries.

OC offers undergraduate programs in more than 80 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.