Good News http://www.oc.edu/news RSS Feed Longtime professor Elmo Hall passes away http://www.oc.edu/news/r/longtime-professor-elmo-hall-passes-away/ The Oklahoma Christian University community mourns the loss of longtime professor Dr. Elmo Hall, who passed away on May 13 with his loving family at his side.

Hall was born August 2, 1930, in Fulton County, Arkansas. He received a bachelor’s degree from Harding University in 1953, a master’s degree from Texas Christian University in 1965, and a doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 1977.

Elmo HallHis heart for teaching took him into ministry in his early 20s. He preached at congregations in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma, including a 10-year stint in Newcastle.

He worked at Fort Worth Christian College from 1959 until 1967, when his journey led Hall to Oklahoma Christian. Over the course of the next four decades, he taught English and literature classes for hundreds of OC students.

He also was integrally involved in campus life beyond the classroom. He was a longtime public address announcer for OC basketball games, frequently assisted with alumni callouts, and served as an entertaining host and performer for OC’s First Week Follies program.

Hall served as a deacon at College Church of Christ (now Memorial Road), and made a worldwide ministry impact through extensive mission work. He led OC students on annual campaigns for more than a decade, helping spread the Gospel to places like Belize and Trinidad.

“Elmo was a man of steadfast determination,” Distinguished Professor of Bible Dr. Stafford North said. “Whether playing basketball or teaching or studying the Bible, he always wanted to do his best. He loved to explore Bible topics and often would drop by my office to ask a question that would get us into discussion and study. Elmo was fully dedicated to his work, which he considered his work for the Lord – whether that work was preaching, teaching a Bible class, teaching English, or leading a group on a mission trip.”

In 1980, while Hall was in Trinidad with 17 students, they were confronted by a group of local radicals called Rastas who sat in the outdoor tent meetings to frighten people away and confronted Hall with questions. During the night, the Rastas cut tent ropes and poured gasoline on the tent and burned a large hole in it before the fire could be doused. Despite the opposition, Hall reported that 14 locals were baptized.

“The conduct of the campaigners and the local Christians made a strong impact on the townspeople. The Christians’ patience and lack of vindictiveness were a great testimony to the non-Christians. Many townspeople came and apologized for the incidents,” Hall said.

Hall was an accomplished scholar and leader. For many years, he was the OC sponsor of the OSLEP programs conducted by the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education to introduce students to the world of scholarship.

In 1979, Oklahoma Christian honored Hall with the Merrick Award, presented annually to a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding efforts in teaching the principles of free enterprise.

In 1982, Hall represented Oklahoma Christian at Rice University as the recipient of a prestigious Carnegie-Mellon Fellowship. In 1993, he received OC’s Faculty Leadership Award for distinguished leadership as a professor.

When Hall retired along with several other faculty members in 1996, Dr. Bailey McBride praised their vital roles in OC’s growth and success.

“In many cases, they have begun our traditions and unique quality,” McBride said in an interview with alumnus Bobby Ross, then with The Oklahoman. “Most of these were the pioneers who came with dreams they have carried out and made the reality of our present greatness. These are our giants.”

Hall’s giant impact continued in a part-time role with the university. In 1997, he had the winning entry in OC’s Faculty Colloquium. His paper, titled “Pierre Boulle’s Satire of the Japanese in the Planet of the Apes,” examined the satiristic comparison between the stereotype of the post-World War II Japanese and the Apes in Boulle’s novel.

In 2003, Oklahoma Christian honored Hall as a professor emeritus. In 2004, OC began presenting the Elmo Hall Award to students for essays in their C.S. Lewis studies. Dr. Hall taught courses on Lewis for many years and was a key figure in introducing several generations of students to Lewis and his texts.

“His office door always has been open for a ready conversation. Students have sought his counsel in prayer or for missions projects. He is beloved by alumni, faculty, and friends of OC,” Scott LaMascus said in announcing the award in Dr. Hall’s honor. “His steadfastness as a Christian, thinker, and lover of language is a monument to us all.”

In 2007, more than a decade after Hall’s official retirement, a student’s testimony spoke to his dedication to his students.

“Elmo Hall is an outstanding teacher. Although he is one of the elderly teachers, he has a youthful spirit and heart for God’s truth,” the student said. “He specifically makes time for each individual student by opening slots in his planning period to gives suggestions on our writing. This way, he could help me with my writing style and help me improve as a student and person.”

The university named Hall an honorary alumnus in 2011. His family ties at the university run deep. His brother, Leonard, was OC’s first baseball coach in 1960 and also taught at Oklahoma Christian. Leonard’s son, Dewayne, was OC’s athletic director from 2005 to 2008.

Elmo and his wife, Anita, married in 1951 and spent almost 62 years together before her passing in February 2013. Their children are both OC alumni; Janet Hall graduated in 1974 and Teresa Wilguess graduated in 1986.

Teresa’s husband, John, was OC’s vice president for civic affairs during a four-year stint at the university from 2002 to 2006. Their daughter, Victoria, also attended Oklahoma Christian.

“Anita and Elmo were at the center of OC for many years. When I enrolled my freshman year in World Literature, I quickly knew Dr. Hall was a lively teacher who was vocal about faith in Christ, about French epics (which I didn’t get), and about OC basketball,” said LaMascus, now OC’s vice president for academic affairs. “As an English major, and later as a colleague, I learned that he was passionate about students’ learning and would work hard to help any student or family. I have missed him on campus these past few years. He genuinely loved Christ and he made OC a better place.”

-OC-

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Wed, 14 May 2014 15:30:00 CDT a4105d73-5e8f-46f8-891f-74fa0fe07a2f
OC awards degrees at Spring Commencement http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-awards-degrees-at-spring-commencement/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will present 198 undergraduate degrees and 39 graduate degrees at its spring commencement ceremonies on April 25-26.

The undergraduate ceremony starts at 10 a.m. Friday in OC’s Payne Athletic Center. The graduate ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium.

The undergraduate degree candidates, including 21 graduates from OC’s Honors Program, come from 28 states and 11 countries. They majored in a combined 38 academic disciplines at Oklahoma Christian. 

The master’s degree candidates come from six states and seven countries, and represent 13 graduate areas of study.

Mark Brewer, senior vice president and chief information officer for Seagate Technology, LLC, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on Friday. William “Chip” Kooi, a professor of theology at Oklahoma Christian, will keynote Saturday’s graduate ceremony.

Brewer leads all of Seagate Technology’s information technology operations worldwide and is a member of the company’s Executive Council. 

His area consists of 1,600 IT professionals located in 20 different countries. His responsibilities include all business systems, factory information systems, electronic security, business continuity and collaboration services, as well as other traditional IT support services for Seagate’s 50,000 employees.

Brewer holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University. He serves as vice chairman of OC’s Board of Trustees and also is on the boards of the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank and the Missions Resource Network. He is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council for OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.

Kooi graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1981, then earned his master’s degree in New Testament from Abilene Christian University in 1990, and his doctorate in religion from Baylor University in 1999.

Kooi worked in education, pulpit ministry and inner-city ministry before returning to teach at Oklahoma Christian in 2001. An accomplished theological scholar, he has written for The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell MovementLeaven, and The Christian Chronicle.

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.

-OC-

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Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:00:00 CDT 51c455fc-77cb-4437-9b4b-10860b728de5
OC honors student killed serving in Afghanistan http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-honors-student-killed-serving-in-afghanistan/ “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

That’s what Oklahoma Christian University student Kyle Seitsinger did 10 years ago.

Serving as an Army Sergeant in Afghanistan, he died along with seven other U.S. soldiers when a weapons cache exploded. Kyle was less than a year away from graduating with a dual major in journalism and Spanish when he died.

On Wednesday, the 10-year anniversary of Kyle’s death, the OC family paused to remember Kyle during a special Chapel service.

Dr. Philip Patterson, distinguished professor of mass communication at Oklahoma Christian, delivered the Chapel message in memory of his former student. Ironically, the service also fell 40 years to the day after Patterson had been drafted with lottery number nine, which would have sent him to war if he hadn’t been in college at the time.

“I knew that someone else went in my place, that someone did have to go fill the military need in Vietnam,” Patterson said. “Today, we’re celebrating someone who did go in someone else’s place. We thought it was only fitting for you to pause for a moment and think about someone who sat exactly where you’re sitting right now who had the courage to say, ‘I’ll go if I’m called.’

“He did, and he paid the price.”

As part of the Chapel service, OC president John deSteiguer presented Kyle’s father, Dan Seitsinger, with a citation awarding a posthumous degree to Kyle, who aspired to be an international correspondent living and reporting out of South America.

Sgt. Kyle SeitsingerDuring his time at Oklahoma Christian, Kyle worked for the Talon, OC’s student newspaper, serving as an editor for two years. He also wrote part-time for The Oklahoman and the Edmond Sun.

In 2002, he was one of 16 student journalists chosen to participate in the Summer Institute in Journalism sponsored by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. His assignments included interviews with the Colombian president and with U.S. representatives Ernest Istook and J.C. Watts.

Prior to coming to OC, Kyle served in the U.S. Marines from 1993 to 2000, guarding U.S. embassies in Brasilia, Brazil, and Moscow, Russia, as well as the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kyle also was an expert marksman and rifle instructor at Camp Pendleton. He was named “Top Gun” at his embassy school graduation in Quantico, Va.

Kyle’s down-to-earth, gregarious personality attracted friends of all kinds. In Brasilia, he “adopted” two young poor girls and urged his family to send them gifts. He rarely missed a chance to practice Spanish or Portuguese with native speakers. Despite their cultural differences, Kyle always knew what to say and how to keep them talking.

He enrolled at Oklahoma Christian in the fall of 2000 and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves to help pay for college. He was called into active duty in November 2003.

When he and his fellow soldiers were killed, it represented the United States’ largest loss of life in Afghanistan at the time. Kyle was the first Oklahoman killed serving in “Operation Enduring Freedom” and is the only active student in OC’s history to be killed in the line of duty.

“That makes Kyle unique among us for that greater love,” Patterson said, invoking John 15. “Kyle stands alone.”

-OC-

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Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:22:00 CST 23d64fe6-4558-4e2b-bf5d-90663ca4116d
OC students chosen for Teach For America http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-students-chosen-for-teach-for-america/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Two Oklahoma Christian University (OC) seniors have earned selection to the competitive Teach For America program.

Katelyn Jackson is a psychology major from Jonesboro, Ark., and Hannah Ketring is an English/writing major from Nashville, Tenn. They are part of OC’s Honors Program and will both graduate this spring.

Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits professionals and recent college graduates to teach for at least two years in low-income public schools.

“Students at any age level need people in their lives to support them and tell them that they’re competent and capable so they don’t get trapped in these patterns of failure,” Ketring said. “I’m looking forward to being that voice in their lives and saying that you can be more than what other people have told you that you are. You can rise above that.”

Both Jackson and Ketring needed government assistance when they were growing up as their parents dealt with the economic challenges of pursuing school later in life. They hope their experiences help them connect with their students.

“I grew up on food stamps and welfare. That gives me an idea of what my potential students are going through,” Jackson said. “I’m excited to let them know that their situations do not determine how well they’re going to do in their lives. I want to offer opportunities and help every child know that education is their right.”

Jackson will teach secondary science at a yet-to-be-determined school in Oklahoma. Ketring will teach English for elementary school students back home in Tennessee.

They will continue a new OC tradition. Oklahoma Christian graduates Henson Adams and Wil Norton joined the program when Teach For America expanded into Oklahoma City in 2011.

Adams taught mathematics at Douglass High School while Norton taught English at Douglass Mid-High. They are now in law school at the University of Texas and Georgetown University, respectively.

Through Teach For America, approximately 11,000 corps members currently teach in 48 urban and rural regions across the country. More than 300 of those corps members now teach in Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

-OC-

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Fri, 22 Nov 2013 15:27:00 CST 22f76c73-c98e-4558-bb9c-3732b5e8a8db
Academic departments honor outstanding alumni http://www.oc.edu/news/r/academic-departments-honor-outstanding-alumni/ Oklahoma Christian University’s three academic colleges honored distinguished alumni during Homecoming weekend.

OC’s College of Arts and Sciences, led by Dean David Lowry, recognized Dr. Randel Estep (’86) – Chemistry and Physics; Jason Leger (’00) – Art and Design; Matthew Loeber (’02) – Nursing; David Jones (’94) – Communication; Dr. Travis Montgomery (’02) – Language and Literature; Leah Ries (’83) – Music; Dr. Neil Roberts (’99) – Biological Sciences; Jay Tabor (’86) – History and Political Science; and Dr. Nick Wisdom (’05) – Psychology and Family Studies.

The College of Biblical Studies, represented by Dean Alan Martin, honored Taylor Cave (’89) – Missions; Bob Herndon (’79) – Preaching/Ministry; Ryan Russell (’06) – Youth Ministry; and Ben Glover (’86) – Alumnus of the Year.

The College of Professional Studies, with Phil Lewis as dean, honored Kevin Arledge (’92) – Mathematical, Computer, and Information Sciences; Ted Norton (’84) – Business Administration; Anthony Rose (’07) – Teacher Education; Bahvahnie Smith (’00) – Mechanical Engineering; and Jim Theisen (’97) – Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dr. Estep serves as the Medical Director of Occupational Medicine at the McBride Clinic. He also is a medical consultant for the OG&E Corporation and is Oklahoma’s Delegate to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine House of Delegates.

Leger has been involved in the recording industry, news media, banking, and healthcare. He recently accepted a position with GE’s Oil and Gas division, where he is responsible for Global IT Commercial Operations.

Loeber is a charge nurse, a new hire coach, a preceptor for nursing students, and a certified ECMO technician at OU Children’s Hospital.

Jones is the Manager of Broadcast Operations and Technical Services for the Oklahoma City Thunder, overseeing gameday television broadcasts and operations.

Montgomery recently left the University of Mississippi, where he received the Lawrence “Shaky” Yates Award for Teaching Freshman Composition, for a tenure track position at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Ries teaches music in the public school system in Mankato, Minn., and serves as Artistic Director of the Mankato Children’s Chorus and director of the junior high and high school choirs.

Roberts has a private practice with the OSSO Healthcare Network as part of The Physicians Group in Oklahoma City and is Director of Endoscopy at Community Hospital in south Oklahoma City.

Tabor is a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, one of the world’s largest international law firms. He has represented General Electric in many transactions, including its $20 billion joint venture with Comcast for the ownership of NBC Universal and in GE’s recent $3.3 billion acquisition of Lufkin Industries.

Dr. Wisdom is a licensed Staff Neuropsychologist in the Mental Health Care Line at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He also is an Assistant Professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine and serves as President-Elect of the Houston Neuropsychological Society.

Cave is the Outreach Minister at Del City Church of Christ, where he preaches on Sunday nights. Herndon is a minister at South Brooke Church of Christ in Tulsa and is involved as a docent with the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Russell works with Northwest Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. Glover is the senior minister with Oakcrest Church of Christ in south Oklahoma City.

Arledge is a Solutions Consultant with the Boston-based software company Kronos, Inc. Norton has worked in various roles for MidFirst Bank, including his current job managing the bank’s Commercial Sales and Marketing group.

Rose is an Assistant Principal at Cheyenne Middle School in Edmond, and also serves as the Youth Minister at Wilshire Church of Christ.

Smith is a Senior Engineering Manager at OG&E, overseeing three groups: Maintenance Engineering, Project Engineering, and Inspection.

Theisen is the lead engineer over the F-16 Power and Controls team for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, where he was recently promoted to the title of Electrical Engineer Staff, Senior.

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.

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price. More information is available at www.oc.edu/value.

-OC-

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Mon, 11 Nov 2013 9:00:00 CST d9f57852-27af-46be-bcad-bcd139785d52
OC hosts 'An Evening with C.S. Lewis' Oct. 24 http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-hosts-an-evening-with-c-s-lewis-oct-24/ Oklahoma Christian University invites the community to spend an evening with C.S. Lewis on Oct. 24.

Professional actor David Payne will present his acclaimed one-man show based on the life of the famous apologist, poet and author. The one-night performance begins at 8 p.m. in Judd Theatre.

OC’s theater program hosted Payne four years ago, and again in 2010 for the world premiere of his show, “A Christmas with C.S. Lewis.”

Originally from Britain, Payne specializes in works that present the life and writings of Lewis. Set in 1963, the play portrays Lewis as he gives an informal talk to a group of Americans visiting England. With poignancy and humor, he recounts the people and events that shaped his life.

“As someone who has performed across the globe, David Payne embodies the commitment to excellence that professional theater demands,” said Barrett Huddleston, assistant professor of communication at Oklahoma Christian. “His shows demonstrate how people of faith can make an impact in the world through art.”

OC’s students will also benefit from Payne’s visit to campus. He will lead a performance workshop Thursday afternoon.

“Having Payne lead a workshop is very beneficial to our students,” Huddleston said. “They are strongly interested in seeing how his faith guides his performances.”  

Communication professor Phil Reagan, Huddleston’s colleague in the theater program, agreed.

“Lewis was such an influential thinker, and his works have had a profound impact on the academic world,” said Reagan. 

Admission is $10, and tickets can be ordered online at http://bit.ly.oclewis or by calling the box office at (405) 425-6310. All events are suitable for ages 10 and up.

One method students on campus are using to build awareness for Payne’s performance is through a public reading of the entire “Chronicles of Narnia.” Led by OC’s theater honor society, Alpha Psi Omega, the students began Monday at noon and expect to finish by Tuesday evening. The event takes place in room 234 in the Mabee Learning Center.

-OC-

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Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:15:00 CDT fd81e30e-c2b3-416b-a3d9-a8e448381aec
McBride celebrates 50th year on faculty http://www.oc.edu/news/r/mcbride-celebrates-50th-year-on-faculty/ When Oklahoma Christian University kicked off its 64th year on Monday, Dr. Bailey McBride began his 50th year as a faculty member at the university.

McBride was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2004. He has held many key roles at Oklahoma Christian, including Professor of English, initial chair of the Department of Language and Literature, and chief academic officer from 1975 through 1996. He also served as director of OC's Honors Program.

OC’s McBride Center for Public Humanities and its annual McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature are named in honor of Bailey and his wife Joyce. This year’s lecture, featuring Bellwether Prize-winning author Naomi Benaron, will be held on Oct. 18 at Oklahoma Christian.

This is the inscription on the plaque that hangs outside the McBride Center, located in the Mabee Learning Center on the OC campus:

In 1956, a very young alumnus of Central Christian College arrived back on campus as an English teacher. Since that time, no single person has been more loved and revered by alumni than Bailey McBride. As a friend and mentor, he is legendary. He remembers alumni by name and knows their children, careers, and concerns.

Returning to campus after doctoral studies, Bailey and his bride, Joyce Warren, settled down to raise a family, model Christian living, and teach students. Joyce’s authentic Southern charms have comforted many a homesick student, guided newlyweds, and encouraged young parents. Many adults first learned the 23rd Psalm because she has been a tireless kindergarten Bible class teacher.

Bailey’s career has included nearly every role available to faculty at Oklahoma Christian, including Professor of English, department chair, chief academic officer, and provost. He also is the leader of the Honors program and The Christian Chronicle.

Bailey’s mantra to faculty members has been to read new books in the subject matter, regardless how many times they have taught the course. His love of important books and ideas has influenced generations of Oklahoma Christian students.

The McBride Center celebrates their legacy by championing what they have loved and by nurturing Christian young people for generations.

The dedication of The Bailey and Joyce McBride Center for Faith and Literature is made possible by the generosity of many alumni, friends, and family who love these two special Christian teachers.

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 14:54:00 CDT 1d1d635e-a6a5-4ba5-8fe3-0fc70460dfb0
OC Honors grad takes the world by storm http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-honors-grad-takes-the-world-by-storm/ Ashleigh Hess, a 2009 Oklahoma Christian University Honors Program graduate, has left Oklahoma to explore the Spanish world.

Ashleigh began learning Spanish as a second language when she was 12 years old … and soon fell in love with the culture.

During her time at Oklahoma Christian, Ashleigh taught English to several Spanish-speaking staff members and helped start Spanish Chapel. She was involved in numerous educational and cultural organizations, including Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Spanish Club and programs through the Department of Language and Literature.

“I came to OC with a goal to major in teaching English, with an interest in studying Spanish, and with a desire to learn so I’d be prepared for my future,” Ashleigh said. “But my education at OC became about much more than a career. My mentors and professors in the Language and Literature department really challenged me to use my interests and passions as a way to serve my community and show the love of Christ to others.”

Ashleigh said she always dreamed of traveling to Spain after all the time she spent learning about the Spanish culture.  

“It was the most exotic, yet familiar place I could think of,” Ashleigh said. “There is a Czech proverb that says, ‘Learn a new language, get a new soul.’ For me, learning Spanish was not just a subject in school, but a connection.”

OC faculty members encouraged Ashleigh to study abroad, so she applied to the Latin American Studies Program in Costa Rica through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).

“This is something that forever marked my heart, leaving it not only in Costa Rica, but also in Panama and Nicaragua,” Ashleigh said. “It was life-changing to learn about political, religious and economic history, sustainable living, indigenous cultures and languages, as well as the day-to-day lives of the people through the eyes of another culture and the ears of another language.”

Those experiences led Ashleigh to work towards her Master of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.

“Not only did I dive into criticizing and writing about the literature of Latin America, literature became the outlet for learning about how historical happenings play out in today’s Spanish-speaking world and how Spanish speakers in Latin America, North America and Spain are connected,” she said.

Ashleigh said her time in graduate school led her to become involved in a local D.C. community of El Salvadorian adolescents, giving her an outlook on life from a multicultural perspective.

A friend introduced her to the Teaching English in Spain Program, an opportunity that would allow Ashleigh to live out her dream of traveling to Spain.

Ashleigh is now in her second year at a primary bilingual school in Madrid. She teaches English to students from all over the globe, including Columbia, Israel, Morocco, Peru and Romania. She teaches students whose first languages are Arabic, English, Hebrew, Romanian or Spanish.

“It’s been everything but easy, yet one of the most beautiful experiences,” Ashleigh said. “It’s truly a job that I connect to. Teaching in a school provides me with a learning curve unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m relearning everything that we learn in elementary school and subsequently forget.”

Ashleigh said learning is a lifelong process, and that she learns more as a teacher all the time. She said she sees the opportunity to create a successful environment for students to learn, think, understand and communicate, while giving teachers the tools to educate globally-minded citizens through diverse experiences.

“I want my life to be rooted in my faith and my love for God,” she said. “My faith is what carries me to serve multicultural and multilingual students and communities, and help them continue to grow.”

Ashleigh has the opportunity to pursue a doctorate, focusing on educational anthropology or education and cultural studies. One of her former OC professors, Dr. Scott LaMascus, has consulted Ashleigh in her application to Ph.D. programs.

LaMascus, now OC’s vice president for academic affairs, said Ashleigh’s academic history, fieldwork experience, and heart and soul make Ashleigh a great Ph.D. candidate. He also said she is a wonderful example of OC’s mission.

“I’m definitely on a journey,” Ashleigh said. “Whether that journey will lead me to pursuing a Ph.D., teaching in my hometown, or exploring more about political and economic impacts in Latin America, I’m unsure. But God is using me in all of these things to connect with people in a one-to-one level, creating relationships and relating his love.”

By Kelly Ferguson

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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:14:00 CST 87d7bf1a-dd9c-43e5-b1a9-ee790f280616
OC holds undergraduate prices for second straight year http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-holds-undergraduate-prices-for-second-straight-year/ Oklahoma Christian University (OC) officials announced today that undergraduate tuition will not increase for the 2013-14 academic year.

The cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students also stayed the same from 2011-12 to 2012-13.

“Affordability is a big deal to us because affordability is a big deal to students and their families,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “Holding our total price is the right thing to do again because we want students to get a first-rate higher education at the best value possible.”

OC’s undergraduate tuition will remain $18,800 for students taking up to 17 hours per semester. Average room and board costs also will stay the same for a total price of $24,975. Oklahoma Christian also is continuing its policy of not charging student fees.

According to the College Board, the average total price of private universities rose 4 percent last year to $39,518. OC was the only university in Oklahoma and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) that did not raise its total price in 2012-13.

“With more students being priced out of higher education, Oklahoma Christian wants to provide an affordable college home where they can discover their passion and use their talents for good,” deSteiguer said. “As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, colleges need to do their part to keep costs down. Freezing our cost of attendance for two years running is a big part of our commitment to do that.”

Factoring in scholarships and grants, OC’s average net price actually decreased in the latest reporting period for the U.S. Department of Education. More than 90 percent of Oklahoma Christian students receive financial aid, including performance and athletic scholarships, need-based financial grants, and governmental assistance.

OC’s Presidential Academic Success Scholarship rewards academic achievement tied to student performance on ACT and SAT exams. Oklahoma Christian also offers large scholarships for National Merit Scholars. OC has seven National Merit Scholars in its freshman class and 30 National Merit Finalists overall, the most per capita of all Church of Christ universities.

OC’s “no fees” approach allows students and families to better assess costs in comparison to colleges and universities that charge course fees and other significant fees on top of their tuition “sticker price.” Differential tuition will continue for students participating in nursing clinicals or taking private music lessons.

OC students can shape their costs with technology, housing, dining and other choices that best fit their budgets and needs. They also can continue to supplement their meal plans with the optional purchase of “Eagle Bucks” for tax-free dining at Alfredo’s, Chick-Fil-A, Jimmy John’s and the OC Grill.

Graduate prices will range from $400 to $495 per credit hour, with slight increases for master’s students in business and engineering. More information is available at www.oc.edu/cost and www.oc.edu/value.

OC set school records with 361 graduate students and 2,271 total students enrolled this year. The last eight years have featured OC’s eight highest total enrollments ever.

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 business, engineering, ministry, and divinity.

In addition to its Oklahoma City residential campus, OC has study abroad opportunities in Europe, Honduras and the Pacific Rim. This year, Oklahoma Christian opened a Learning Support Center in Kigali, Rwanda, allowing Rwandan students to study in OC’s online MBA program.

-OC-

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Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:15:00 CST 5a45d6c7-7ce3-4876-a993-e293b1d012f6
OC alumni compete in Syfy reality series http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-alumni-compete-in-syfy-reality-series/ The original version of this article and a video interview with Kyle Roberts appears on Look at OKC

Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts is proof that when you work hard at what you love, you’ll get noticed.

Roberts, 28, owner of Reckless Abandonment Pictures, was selected to participate in the new reality competition series “Viral Video Showdown.”

His team’s appearance on the show is scheduled to air during a marathon beginning at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on Syfy. The specific episode featuring Roberts’ team will broadcast at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“One of the producers just contacted me. They found my work through different stop motions and music videos and stuff,” said Roberts, who is also a NewsOK videographer. “They said, ‘We love your work. We’d like you to send an audition tape,’ so I had to still go through a process. They didn’t just say, ‘Come out to L.A.’”

Each episode of “Viral Video Showdown” centers on two viral video creators being given a limited budget and a handful of days to complete a video featuring the same theme. The winner receives $5,000.

Although Roberts is a Missouri native, he has lived in Oklahoma since earning a double major in broadcast journalism and corporate media at Oklahoma Christian University.

His team for “Viral Video Showdown” is named after his production company and includes about 18 crew members, all from Oklahoma. Three of his fellow crew members – editor Hal Gatewood, production assistant Jason Oser, and writer/actor Lucas Ross – also are OC alumni.

“It was a big challenge, but I think we did a good job,” Roberts said. “The fact that we had five days to do this … we incorporated live action and stop motion and fights and not superhero stuff, but video game stuff ... and it was (an) all-Oklahoma based crew. It was awesome. I think everyone’s going to enjoy it.”

Roberts’ specialties are stop-motion animation and music videos, including an approximate one-minute re-creation of the 1987 “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon introduction, complete with action figures that took three months to film. Stop-motion animation is a film technique where a series of still photos are taken that when combined make static objects appear as if they were moving.

He has just started directing the independent movie “Posthuman,” which is expected to be released online next spring as a web series in eight to 12 segments.

“Posthuman,” written by The Oklahoman’s Features Editor Matt Price and DC Comics writer Sterling Gates, is a mix of the styles of two of Roberts’ favorite filmmakers – John Hughes and J.J. Abrams.

Oklahomans have shown support for Roberts’ filmmaking in the state.

“The biggest pro is just that everyone gets so excited, which is awesome,” Roberts said. “And they should be. We’re doing cool stuff. But that’s probably the biggest pro of pro-Oklahoma filmmaking is you tell someone you’re doing a movie of any kind, and then you tell them you’re doing a teen superhero movie or whatever, and they get so passionate about it.

“Things that could cost two or three thousand dollars for a space rental for that night is either free or like maybe 500 bucks tops,” he added.

As far as professional goals go, doing what he’s passionate about is at the top.

“I’ve just been kind of making videos and doing what I love, and then I started getting a bunch of attention and quickly realized it’s not just my friends watching this; it’s people all over the world. And, it’s like, ‘OK, maybe we’ve got something here.’

“I don’t do statistics on my personal YouTube account and figure out ‘OK, this is trending, I got to do that.’ I just do what I really want to do.”

For more information, go to www.ra-pictures.com and www.syfy.com/viralvideoshowdown.

By Melissa Hayer
Copyright 2012, The Oklahoman

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Tue, 04 Dec 2012 8:50:00 CST 4e56678a-694a-4d55-9710-863c66013ca3
OC hosts Vanderzee album premiere http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-hosts-vanderzee-album-premiere/ Oklahoma Christian University will host the release party for Brett Vanderzee’s debut album, “On the Low Sky,” on Friday, Dec. 7 in the Adams Recital Hall.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the free event. CDs and t-shirts will be available for purchase afterward.

Vanderzee is a senior English major at Oklahoma Christian and a frequent performer on OC’s stages. His album of original songs began as an assignment in Dr. Rebecca Briley’s Creative Writing class and developed further as part of his Honors Program Catalyst Project.

Vanderzee used one song as the basis of a proposal for an Honors “Catalyst Grant” project for his Senior Capstone project in Honors and English.

His Catalyst Grant committee, comprised of Dr. Briley, Dr. Allison Garrett and Dr. Scott LaMascus, awarded $1,500 for the project, which Vanderzee parlayed into much more in donations and advance sales through kickstarter.com.

“Brett signed a Catalyst contract and went to work taking things to a higher level than required by our syllabi. In a great OC tradition of overachievers, Brett also took many other steps of unusual initiative,” LaMascus said. “He listens more carefully and learns better than most of us, taking suggestions from many collaborators and incorporating them productively into his own vision for these lyrics and the project. 

The album title comes from a line in T.S. Eliot’s poem “Journey of the Magi.” The album features original artwork by his wife, Laura Bowles Vanderzee, an art major and performer in many OC productions. To preview and order the album and other merchandise, go to www.brettvanderzee.com.

“It doesn’t matter if you live in post-exilic Israel or postmodern America, faith has always been a struggle. These songs are an honest look at what it means to seek God through hardship,” Brett said. “I hope we’ve made an album that will bring a fresh perspective to both people of belief and unbelief.”

A native of Tea, S.D., Brett will graduate from Oklahoma Christian in December. He recently became the worship minister at Quail Springs Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

-OC-

 

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Mon, 26 Nov 2012 16:08:00 CST 9249bcb2-444c-4bb5-b1e1-69decb6d46f6
Oklahoma Christian names LaMascus to academic post http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oklahoma-christian-names-lamascus-to-academic-post/ Dr. Scott LaMascus will become Oklahoma Christian University’s new vice president for academic affairs in January.

The 1984 Oklahoma Christian graduate chaired OC’s Department of Language and Literature from 2000 to 2006 and has directed OC’s Honors Program since 2009.

LaMascus helped establish OC’s McBride Center for Public Humanities, which brings high-profile writers and speakers to Oklahoma, and helped the university secure a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities last year.

The Hennessey, Okla., native earned OC’s Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching in 2003 and the university’s Faculty Leadership Award in 2008. He serves on the national board of the Conference on Christianity and Literature and on the board of the Oklahoma Humanities Council.

“Dr. LaMascus is a true scholar and collaborator with his colleagues. He is a fantastic teacher and mentor. He is one of our best student recruiters,” President John deSteiguer said. “He connects effectively with external supporters and friends, and he develops and moves programs forward. Scott is a strong Christian and has a wonderful family. He is OC’s ideal chief academic leader for the future.”

After graduating from Oklahoma Christian with an English degree, LaMascus earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Oklahoma. He taught at OU and Georgia Southwestern State University before returning to Oklahoma Christian as a language and literature professor.

During his tenure as chair, LaMascus helped OC’s Department of Language and Literature grow from 37 majors to 117. His leadership helped Honors Program alumni achieve a 100 percent acceptance rate to graduate schools the past three years.

OC’s Honors Program offers what the National Collegiate Honors Council calls the “most robust” model for Honors programs, with an Honors core curriculum in place of the general education core. Most OC Honors students live on campus in Honors House at Davisson Hall, which opened last year.

In addition to his faculty roles, LaMascus was staff writer of the Christian Chronicle, an international newspaper for Churches of Christ, from 1984 to 1989 and managing editor from 1999 to 2005. He and his wife, Dr. Alice Mankin, a family practice physician at Mercy, have two sons and are active members at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

A five-member committee assisted deSteiguer with the search process for OC’s new academic leader: Dr. Larry Jurney, who is serving as interim vice president for academic affairs this fall; Dr. Jim Baird, professor of Bible and philosophy; Dr. LeeAnne Paris, associate professor of library science and president of OC’s Faculty Association; Dr. Kerianne Roper, associate professor of business; and Dr. Bill Goad, executive vice president.

“I’m very humbled to have been interviewed by the advisory committee and asked by President deSteiguer to serve in this new way,” LaMascus said. “OC’s future is bright because of the amazing things done by alumni, students, faculty, staff and trustees to make the OC experience compelling. It is exciting to work with these people and to see their commitment to Christian higher education. I pray that together we can sustain and build on the legacies of great teachers and scholars who have led us in academics since 1950.”

When LaMascus assumes his new role in January, he will become the ninth full-time dean or vice president of academics in OC’s 63-year history. Oklahoma Christian has had just four chief academic leaders over the past 54 years: Dr. Stafford North (1958-1976); Dr. Bailey McBride (1976-1996); Dr. Jeanine Varner (1996-2007); and Dr. Allison Garrett (2007-2012). North and McBride are in the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

Oklahoma Christian is recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review.

The last eight years have featured OC’s eight highest enrollments ever, including a record 2,271 students this year. OC’s 2012 freshman class includes seven National Merit Finalists, including four from Oklahoma, the most in the state after OU. Oklahoma Christian currently has more than 30 National Merit Finalists enrolled.

OC is nationally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has discipline-specific accreditations from ABET (computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering), the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Accreditation, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The university offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study and graduate programs in business administration, engineering, ministry, and divinity. OC’s MBA program is offered both on-site and online.

In addition to its Oklahoma City campus, OC has study abroad opportunities in Europe, Honduras and the Pacific Rim. This year, Oklahoma Christian opened a Learning Support Center in Kigali, Rwanda, allowing Rwandan students to study in OC’s online MBA program.

-OC-

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Mon, 12 Nov 2012 21:16:00 CST 8533f226-aff1-434d-bd94-7056f01af4f0
Academic colleges honor alumni at Homecoming http://www.oc.edu/news/r/academic-colleges-honor-alumni-at-homecoming/ Oklahoma Christian University’s three colleges honored distinguished alumni on Friday.

The special ceremonies were part of OC’s annual Homecoming weekend. The honorees were:

College of Arts and Sciences

Scott Filleman (05) - Music
Amanda Gauthier (11) - Nursing
Jennifer Hill (94) - Psychology and Family Studies
Russell Hill (93) - History and Political Science
Lisa Landrum (89) - Biological Sciences
Dana McMichael (83) - Language and Literature
Brian Simmons (87) - Communication
Roy Stevens (79) - Chemistry and Physics
Megan Wilkes (09) - Art and Design

College of Biblical Studies

Chris Stinnett (87) - Alumnus of the Year
Jeremie Beller (00) - Preaching/Ministry
David Duncan (88) - Missions
Josh Yaeger (04) - Youth Ministry 

College of Professional Studies

Jeff Dimick (83) - Mathematical, Computer, and Information Science
Jeremy Edwards (97) - Business Administration
Ben Knowles (00) - Mechanical Engineering
Tessa Tefertiller (95) - Teacher Education
Mitch Warren (05) - Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Sat, 03 Nov 2012 0:46:00 CDT 3cf2b8be-4c58-4482-8ee0-ce5ba103a9ae
OC teams place first, third in state ethics contest http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-teams-place-first-third-in-state-ethics-contest/ A student team from Oklahoma Christian University won the Statewide Student Ethics Challenge in Norman.

Another OC team placed third in the contest, which featured 16 teams from 10 universities across the state.

OC’s winning team, the Aguilas, won all of its matches while its other team, the Eagles, went undefeated with one tie against a squad from the University of Oklahoma.

Both Oklahoma Christian teams advance to the Regional Ethics Bowl on Nov. 17 in San Antonio, with a chance to move on to the National Ethics Bowl in Cincinnati.

“It gives one confidence in the future when you consider that students from across our state are spending time considering the ethics involved with various situations,” said Dr. Jeff Simmons, an associate professor of business at Oklahoma Christian who coaches OC’s ethics teams. “I am proud to be able to work at OC where we have some of the best students you’ll find anywhere.”

The Statewide Student Ethics Challenge is sponsored by the Oklahoma Business Ethics Foundation, which supports initiatives promoting ethical behavior on campuses throughout the state.

The schools in the competition were OC, OU, Cameron University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma State University, Southern Nazarene University, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and the University of Tulsa.

The members of OC’s Aguilas team were Hannah Ketring, a junior English major from Flanagan, Ill.; Brandon McWaters, a senior history/pre-law major from Ponchatoula, La.; and Genesis Rodriguez, a senior political science major from San Antonio, Texas.

OC’s Eagles team members were Christian Asbill, a junior political science major from Grapevine, Texas; Chas Carter, a sophomore English/pre-law major from Allen, Texas; and Austin Hughes, a junior management major from Tuttle, Okla.

The contest cases covered a variety of topics, including employer response to employees’ personal social media sites, graffiti as free speech, student loan policy in a struggling economy, open-source citations in professor and student research, and the Family Medical Leave Act.

OC’s next ethics-focused activity is the sixth-annual J.J. Millican Ethics Symposium on Nov. 13. Former NFL and NCAA football coach Gene Stallings will be the keynote speaker for the on-campus event. More information is available at www.oc.edu/stallings.

Stallings led the University of Alabama to the 1992 national championship and also served as head coach at Texas A&M University and for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. He was a longtime assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys under head coach Tom Landry.

-OC-

 

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Thu, 18 Oct 2012 14:21:00 CDT d01cee45-5546-4925-809d-a76e2aa83242
OC welcomes Tony Award winner for McBride Lecture http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-welcomes-tony-award-winner-for-mcbride-lecture/ OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (September 18, 2012) – Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang will deliver the eighth-annual McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature at Oklahoma Christian University on Oct. 5.

The free lecture starts at 7:30 p.m. in OC’s Judd Theatre. A panel discussion and free book-signing reception will follow. Lecture seating can be reserved at www.oc.edu/mcbridecenter.

During his visit, Hwang also will participate in symposia with board members of Ecumenica, a national journal and scholars association for theater and faith.

“Hwang continuously manages to navigate the precarious boundaries of enthnography, cultural criticism, and dramatic composition with facility and tenderness,” said Carolyn Roark, editor in chief of Ecumenica. “His contributions to American and world stages serve as a credit to the McBride Center’s commitment to exploring the breadth of the human condition through the humanities.”

Hwang received a Tony Award for the 1998 production of “M Butterfly,” a drama inspired by the music of Puccini. The play starred John Lithgow and BD Wong on Broadway, with the cast later including Anthony Hopkins. The 1993 film starred Jeremy Irons.

His most recent work to be performed on Broadway is “Chinglish,” a satirical look at the use of English in business communication between Western and Chinese enterprises.

He received the prestigious Steinberg Award for American Drama this year.

“Hwang remains a durable consummate of several dramatic mediums – librettist, dramatist and children’s plays,” OC theater professor Dr. Barrett Huddleston said. “His pedigree, accolades and social consciousness elevate his work among the best of the American theatrical experience.”

The McBride Lecture will serve as the keynote address for the annual meeting of the Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature, which will bring scholars from five surrounding states to OC’s campus for panel discussions by scholars and for student research presentations.

The SWCCL program will be coordinated by program chair Dr. Ben Myers, professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University and arrangements chair Merle Gatewood, associate professor of English and French at Oklahoma Christian. 

The McBride Center is named for Dr. Bailey and Joyce McBride, who have been academic leaders in the English faculty, campus community and Oklahoma’s higher education community since the 1950s.

“At Oklahoma Christian, we aspire to transform the lives of our students, faculty and community toward greater scholarship, faith and service. This always has included a vigorous public engagement with the humanities,” said Dr. Scott LaMascus, director of OC’s McBride Center for Public Humanities. “Bailey McBride has championed the humanities as a professor, chief academic officer and community wise man. He loves people and ideas, so nothing could be more natural than honoring Bailey and Joyce with these activities.”

Endowment and operational funding for the McBride Center is made available by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Oklahoma Humanities Council, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation provided additional funding. Generous annual gifts have come from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation in New York City and the Inasmuch Foundation of Oklahoma City.

Past guests for the McBride Lecture include: bestselling novelist Kathleen Norris (2005); U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (2006); Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson (2007); best-selling religions author Dr. Charles Kimball (2008); environmentalist and bestselling author Bill McKibben (2009); past national chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and poet Dana Gioia (2010); and bestselling novelist Alice McDermott (2011).

For more information, call Frances Sawyer at (405) 425-5330 or go to www.oc.edu/mcbridecenter.

-OC-

 

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Tue, 18 Sep 2012 13:39:00 CDT c54d43ba-f1cd-412e-815f-e6c49a2615c1
Oklahoma Christian Receives $200,000 NEH Grant http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oklahoma-christian-receives-200-000-neh-grant/ Oklahoma Christian University has received a $200,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant according to senior vice president for advancement, Dr. John deSteiguer. The award was part of the $21 million in grants for 215 humanities projects across the U.S. announced recently by the NEH.

“This NEH challenge grant is a huge victory for Oklahoma Christian,” deSteiguer said. “The size of the grant, larger than some states’ total grants, speaks to the high quality of our humanities programs here at OC and the noteworthy track record of nationally prominent guest speakers brought to our campus in connection with the McBride Center for Faith and Literature. Under Dr. Scott LaMascus’ leadership our students have had seven consecutive years of McBride Center excellence.”

LaMascus said, “Being selected for such a competitive financial award is not only an acknowledgement of the quality inspired by Bailey and Joyce McBride, but also a signal that alumni and community partners invest in the McBride Center because we continue to place high value on humanities symposia which speak with excellence to the deepest matters of the mind, heart, and spirit. Christian faith has a lot to say about human experience and our guest speakers have proven that the resulting dialogues can be civil, intellectual, meaningful and bridge-building.

“In addition to my gratitude to the NEH and its Oklahoma affiliate, the Oklahoma Humanities Council,” LaMascus said, “I’m also personally indebted to all the speakers and their generosity with the McBride Lecture, as well as to the donors, alumni, foundations, faculty hosts, and staff—including Will Blanchard, an OC alumnus and amazing grant writer, and Frances Sawyer, who coordinates all the logistics for our annual events.”

“The National Endowment for the Humanities supports projects that document and explore the human endeavor in its many forms,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “Whether it is preserving a valuable historical collection, enabling the production of a film or exhibition, or providing support for scholarly exploration of important topics in the humanities, the grants awarded today ensure that the shared stories of our past are available to communities across the nation for generations to come.”
Institutions and independent scholars in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico received NEH support this award cycle.
Noting that NEH gives virtually all its money in challenges, deSteiguer said, “The university will be seeking others who share the McBrides’ commitment to excellence in the humanities and who will want to partner with us to meet the NEH challenge.” 

About the National Endowment for the Humanities:
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

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Wed, 07 Dec 2011 12:56:00 CST 9ff28b29-729c-4d02-8e0a-103ecb6d14ab
National Book Award-winning Novelist Appearing at Oklahoma Christian http://www.oc.edu/news/r/national-book-award-winning-novelist-appearing-at-oklahoma-christian/ Alice McDermott, author of six novels and winner of the National Book Award, will participate in symposia and deliver the 7th annual McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaylord University Center on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. During her visit to Oklahoma, McDermott also will meet with writing teachers and students from University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University.

“Alice McDermott is an artist whose novels are loved for many reasons, including their ability to capture the poignancy of American life – whether an alcoholic and his family in Charming Billy, or the spiritual nature of life and death in After This. She will be sharing generously with writers, teachers, and the community during her visit” said Dr. Scott LaMascus, director of the McBride Center for Faith and Literature.

McDermott is Johns Hopkins University’s Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities and author of many novels.  She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband and is the mother of two children.

While in Oklahoma City, McDermott will participate in writers’ workshops with acclaimed novelist Rilla Askew, author of award-winning novels Mercy Seat and Fire in Buelah.  Askew is writer in residence at the University of Central Oklahoma.  Dr. Terry Phelps of the Oklahoma City University writing faculty also will be presenting a workshop and bringing students to the symposia. The writing workshops will be coordinated by Dr. Rebecca Briley, professor of writing at Oklahoma Christian. 

Seating is limited but the evening lecture is free and open to the public at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaylord University Center on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University, 2501 E. Memorial Road. The lecture will be followed by a free book-signing reception, with book sales provided by Best of Books, an independent bookseller located in Kickingbird Square, Edmond.

“We are delighted to share Alice McDermott with our colleagues at UCO and OCU,” said LaMascus.

This program is the 7th in a series which has been funded by an endowment provided by McBride family members and OC alumni in Honor of Bailey and Joyce McBride.  Bailey McBride, Ph.D., has taught English at Oklahoma Christian since 1956 and was the university’s chief academic officer for more than 20 years.  He is a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
Annual support and/or endowment funding has been provided for the series and the McBride Center by funding partners including the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH); the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation of Manhattan, N.Y.; the Oklahoma City Community Foundation; the Inasmuch Foundation; and Best of Books. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily represent those of the OC or the funding partners.

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Fri, 07 Oct 2011 10:10:00 CDT 0ae33b35-abd1-4127-9d8b-02fd71e182a3
Spring Grad's Essay Chosen as Best in The Nation http://www.oc.edu/news/r/spring-grad-s-essay-chosen-as-best-in-the-nation/ Recent OC graduate Wil Norton continues to receive recognition for his work. Norton’s essay on Japanese No drama was selected as the best overall submission to any chapter publication in 2011 by Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society. Sigma Tau Delta has more than 750 active chapters located in Europe, the Caribbean and the United States. There are more than 1,000 faculty sponsors, and approximately 8,500 members inducted annually.

“Wil is very deserving of this of this great honor,” said Cami Agan, professor of language and literature. “I am so proud of him and the superb work he has done throughout his time at OC.”

Norton’s essay was also chosen for best work in the critical category. He will receive a $500 award and has been invited to present at the national convention in March in New Orleans.

Norton is currently working as one of 50 Teach for America teachers in OKC, along with OC spring graduates Henson Adams and Morgan Nash. More than 48,000 students applied to Teach America for 4,600 positions available nationwide.

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Wed, 07 Sep 2011 3:09:00 CDT 2502a385-05fc-4695-9461-d2f48b22cd25
OC Named "A Best in The West" College by The Princeton Review http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-named-a-best-in-the-west-college-by-the-princeton-review/ Oklahoma Christian University is one of the best colleges in the West according to the nationally known education services company, The Princeton Review.  It is one of 121 institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its “Best in the West” section of its website feature, “2012 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”

“We are honored to be ranked among the best universities in the West region,” said Mike O’Neal, president of Oklahoma Christian. “This is a reflection of the hard work of our dedicated faculty, staff and students.”

For this project, The Princeton Review asked students attending the schools to rate their own colleges on several issues—from the accessibility of their professors to quality of the campus food—and answer questions about themselves, their fellow students and their campus life.

“We’re pleased to recommend Oklahoma Christian to users of our site as one of the best schools to earn their degree,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s publisher. “We chose it mainly for its excellent academic programs. From several hundred schools in each region, we winnowed our list based on institutional data we collected directly from the schools, our visits to schools over the years, and the opinions of our staff, plus college counselors and advisors whose recommendations we invite. 

The Princeton Review also takes into account what students at the schools reported about their campus experiences on an 80-question student survey for this project.  Only schools that permit the group to independently survey their students are eligible to be considered for the regional “Best” lists. 

The 121 colleges that The Princeton Review chose for its “Best in the West” list are located in 15 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Collectively, the 629 colleges named “regional best” constitute about 25 percent of the nation’s 2,500 four-year colleges.

Last year The Princeton Review also named Oklahoma Christian as one of the top 50 undergraduate gaming design programs in the nation. It was the only one in Oklahoma to make the list.

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Wed, 03 Aug 2011 3:08:00 CDT 723df8be-7e88-4126-b6c6-378660a1cf35
OC Honors Program Featured in The News http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-honors-program-featured-in-the-news/ The following story about OC’s Reba-Davisson Hall, which is being remodeled as a new Honors Dorm, ran in the May 25 edition of The Oklahoman newspaper and was written by Tricia Pemberton.

OC honors students to get new dorm
Oklahoma Christian University honors students will have their own dorm this fall. A $2.3 million renovation of Reba-Davisson Hall will become Honors House for about 80 to 85 students and their resident mentors.

Honors students at Oklahoma Christian University will have their own dorm next fall.

Crews are working on a $2.3 million renovation of Reba-Davisson Hall to house about 80 to 85 students and their resident mentors. Work should be completed by July, university spokesman Joshua Watson said.

“I’m pretty excited,” sophomore Hannah Bingham, 19, said. “I think it will be pretty neat to have all of the honors students together where we can get to know each other better.”

Honors students in the past have been scattered in dorms throughout OC’s campus in north Oklahoma City.

Scott LaMascus, director of the honors program, said the university is trying to create a living and learning community for its highest achieving students.

“We’re trying to keep the dorm from being a retreat from learning but instead an extension of it,” LaMascus said. “Students spend so much more of their time in the dorms than they do in the classroom. We hope to motivate and empower them to do their best work.”

LaMascus said the National Collegiate Honors Council, of which the OC honors program is a member, is explicit in its recommendation for separate housing for honors students to help hone their focus on academics.

The average ACT score for an honors student at OC is 31, LaMascus said. About 30 percent of the students are National Merit Scholars. Students are taught in smaller classes and visit cultural events and places together on a regular basis. All honor students are required to do international study.

Having their own space to live and study, particularly in their first two years of college, is critical, LaMascus said.

“This will help keep them on track toward successfully completing the program and graduating,” he said.

There are about 110 students in the honors college, he said, but many upperclassmen will choose to live in other housing on campus.

Reba-Davisson Hall was built in the 1970s, LaMascus said. Now, the screeching of saws can be heard and sawdust is thick in the air as crews work to rebuild the interior of the building with men’s and women’s wings, commons areas, new bathrooms, a cafe and a full kitchen.

One feature of the new hall will be individual and group tutoring rooms, LaMascus said. Another feature will be suites for resident mentors — people who have been through the honors program and are either in graduate school or well-advanced in the program. They will live in the dorm to offer tutoring and other help to younger students.

Bingham said after living in an older dorm this year, she’s excited about the new space.

On a recent walk-through of the building, she stopped to examine a dorm room.

“I’m pretty excited about the size of those closets,” she said. “And the new bathrooms will be nice.”
—-
At a Glance: Oklahoma Christian University’s Honors Summer Academy

Oklahoma Christian University is accepting applications for its Honors Summer Academy, which will be July 17-23.

High school freshmen, sophomores or juniors can earn up to two hours of academic credit and receive room and board for $450 per person. For full details and applications, go to www.oc.edu/honors/summeracademy. For more information, contact Lisa Carroll at lisa.carroll@oc.edu or 425-5304.

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Thu, 26 May 2011 5:05:00 CDT 1f206283-cd98-41cf-b59b-e1d3f34c1eef
OC to Offer Honors Housing in Fall, Summer Honors Academy in July http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-to-offer-honors-housing-in-fall-summer-honors-academy-in-july/ Oklahoma Christian University will open a new housing option this fall specifically for honors students. The remodeled Honors House at Reba-Davisson Hall offers highly talented students the opportunity to live in a community dedicated to equipping Christian students for the pursuit of academic excellence.

In creating this living environment for honors students, Dr. Scott LaMascus, director of the honors program, hopes to break down the boundaries between classrooms and dormitories. The dorm will feature a hall mentor who is a Christian scholar, such as an honors alumnus or alumna, or an advanced student who would teach the orientation course for the honors program. This will integrate housing with academics, which will ensure a smooth transition to the honors curriculum and a successful first year at Oklahoma Christian. The new dorm will also feature resident mentors who are successful junior or senior honors students.

“The new Honors House at Reba Davisson will be an environment designed to provide a Christ-centered, dynamic learning environment focused on relationships for young leaders who are eager to make the most of their undergraduate experiences,” said Scott LaMascus, director of the honors program at Oklahoma Christian. “The physical renovations are going to be very nice, but the intangible value to students is really what we’re offering; a chance to spend more of their time here in an environment where iron sharpens iron.”

The east wing of the remodeled dorm will be for male students, while female students will be housed in the west wing of the building. The rules for the house and facilities will be organized in consultation with the honors advisory council to create a living-learning community for academic success. Honors students have been conducting focus groups on campus to help learn how housing might be integrated to engage and enhance students’ learning.

“In talking to both upper and underclassmen, the honors students are excited about honors housing because it offers them unique amenities such as study rooms, individualized tutoring, as well as spaces for fun and relaxation,” said Cady Haas, an English major and president of the honors advisory council. “Students gain the added benefits that will help in study, but they will not lose the fun and interactive part of dorm life on our campus.”

The honors program at Oklahoma Christian is a thriving community of academic achievers. According to LaMascus, the average ACT score for honors students is 31, and more than a quarter of these students are National Merit Scholars. Admission is highly selective, but not solely exam-based. The program, which has more than 100 students, seeks leaders and is truly interdisciplinary, with every college and department represented. The program is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, which encourages the development of honors housing.

“The Council is quite explicit in its recommendations for housing options for honors students across the nation,” LaMascus said. “These should be places where academic achievers find a community designed specifically to enhance excellence in academics and all university activities. This new space communicates Oklahoma Christian’s dynamic dedication to our many outstanding students. We are offering a new housing option that is intentional about banishing any notion that dorms are a retreat from learning.”

Oklahoma Christian will welcome two new cohorts of honors students in the fall. These will be the first students admitted into honors housing, with current honors students filling the remaining spaces. Current high school students interested in applying to the honors program and housing at Oklahoma Christian can apply online at www.oc.edu/honors.

“Student Life is excited to work with the honors advisory council to establish the criteria and expectations for this new housing format,” said Neil Arter, dean of student life at Oklahoma Christian. “It is our experience that students will hold each other to a higher standard. It’s not our goal to separate the honors students from the rest of the student body. Instead, we hope to create an environment for honors students to have an even greater impact on our campus.”

Renovations are expected to be completed over the summer, according to Jay Jones, vice president of operations at Oklahoma Christian.

“The new Honors House will receive upgrades to the mechanical system, restrooms, furniture and the hall mentor’s living space,” said Jones. “Students will enjoy an upgraded facility featuring study rooms, a seminar space for holding classes as well as a student activity room with kitchen facilities and an outdoor patio.”

About The OC Honors Program and Summer Academy
The honors program at Oklahoma Christian includes more than 100 students and continues to grow each year. Accomplished alumni have gone on to attain professional degrees in business, law and medicine, and many others have received scholarships to prestigious doctorate and postdoctorate programs across the United States. The program also operates a summer honors academy for outstanding high school students from across the nation. More information is available at www.oc.edu/honors.

The Honors Summer Academy is an annual, seven-day college experience that encourages the pursuit of excellence by gifted and talented students finishing their freshman through junior years of high school. By the end of the program, students will have developed the confidence to continue their academic trajectory of excellence, link academics to their faith and demonstrate the impact of experiential learning in academic and in service activity. Each participant may earn two hours of university credit each summer.

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Tue, 10 May 2011 9:05:00 CDT b3161ed0-bd0c-4dd3-a15e-b4c0b5d11348
OC Students Receive National and Regional Honors http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc_students_receive_national_and_regional_honors/ Whether students are drilling water wells in developing countries on the other side of the world, competing against the best language and literature scholars in the nation or receiving professional design recognition, OC’s off-campus impact is intentional and significant.

OC student Ryan Groves, co-founder and director of Wishing Well: Water For The World, has been selected as a speaker for the inaugural TEDxOKC conference in April. Patterned after the TED world conference that brings experts together from around the globe to discuss all matters technology, education and design, TEDxOKC speakers combine to spark deep discussion and share ideas worth spreading.

Groves will speak about his community-changing nonprofit organization, as well as the award-winning documentary film produced about Wishing Well’s work in Rwanda.

On Saturday, Sophomore Lauren Craighead received an ADDY Award from the OKC Ad Club for her graphic design work. ADDY Awards recognize and reward creative excellence in the art of advertising.

In addition, OC had its largest group of language and literature students ever accepted to the national convention of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society. All 15 students who submitted to the competitive application process were accepted to present papers on literary or pedagogical subjects, as well as creative works. After eight years of participating in the national convention, all OC students that applied have been accepted.

Below are the names of the students and the titles of the works they will present in March:

-Brazle, Claudia: Flor Maria, Creative Nonfiction
-Brazle, Claudia: Feminine Artistry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
-Bresee, Amy: Barely Distinguishable, Original Fiction
-Clift, Katy: I Prefer a Dimly Lit Bathroom, Original Fiction
-Eggleston, Jenna: Gertrude the Jointress: Marrying for Protection
-Frobisher, Kelsey: Anonymity in Frankenstein
-Haas, Cady: The Pregnancy Problem: Complicating Unique Femininity in Contemporary Romantic Comedies
-Hernandez, Laura: Tree Meanderings, Original Poetry
-Jordan, Amanda: Spoiled Coke, Original Fiction
-Lauer, Chelsey: On Hearts and Death: Poetry Justified, Original Poetry
-Lissolo, Ashley: Fanny’s Sense of “Self”: Identity in Mansfield Park
-Nash, Morgan: Literature in the ESL Classroom: A Focus on Developing Reading and Other Language Skills
-Norton, Wil: The Uncanny, Castration, and Sight as Perceived Remedy in Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut,” “A Clockwork Orange,” and “Full Metal Jacket” 
-Stapp, Hallie: Hal and Hotspur’s Relationship in 1 Henry IV
-White, Abigail: The Other in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis
-Wilson, Alyssa: Redefining the Homemaker: A Cultural Critique of Susan Glaspell’s Trifles

Earning national recognition is not new for the department of language an literature. OC’s literature journal, “Soundings,” won “Best Literary Journal” at the convention in 2008, and was runner up in 2009.

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Mon, 21 Feb 2011 1:02:00 CST 540a38da-cac1-48b7-84a3-f7ccca19800a
Book Translated by OC's Berlin Fang Wins Top Prize in China http://www.oc.edu/news/r/book_translated_by_ocs_berlin_fang_wins_top_prize_in_china/ One of OC’s own was responsible in part for literature news out China this week. Berlin Fang, the associate director of the North Institute for academic technology, nominated Irish-American author Colum McCann’s book, “Let The Great World Spin,” for the grand prize in the Best Foreign Novels Awards held by the Chinese Society of American Literature. The book won the “Weishanhu” prize this week. Fang was asked by the Society’s president to submit the book after translating it into Chinese for one of China’s top publishers.

Fang has translated 12 best-selling English-language books into Chinese, with many of those translations becoming best-sellers in China. He is currently translating William Faulkner’s work, “The Sound and The Fury.” According to OC literature professor Cami Agan, this is one of the most difficult and finest works of American literature.

“I am so blessed to be able to cultivate this hobby, especially with all the support I receive from OC,” Fang said. 

Just last summer, Fang received a grant to translate another book by McCann, “Songdogs,” in Ireland at the same writing center in which McCann wrote the book. Other works Fang has translated include “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith, “A Bend In The River” by Nobel prize-winner W.S. Nepal, Annie Pruh’s “That Old Ace in The Hole” and “The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde” by Peter Ackroyd. Fang is also a widely quoted and interviewed source in Chinese media based on his Chinese language blog where he discusses education and technology, faith and his experience as a Chinese American.

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Fri, 17 Dec 2010 5:12:00 CST 6b5c980f-7aed-47a6-b220-e28679deef9d
OC Faculty and Students Contribute To Scholarship in Literature and Science http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc_faculty_and_students_contribute_to_scholarship_in_literature_and_science/ Congratulations to Cami Agan, chair of the department of language and literature, on the publication of her chapter in “Teaching British Women Playwrights of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century.”  The book seeks to help professors in undergraduate and graduate programs present a fuller picture of the contributions of works that have been unavailable for many years. The book will be on display at the Modern Language Association convention in Los Angeles in January. It is available for purchase online at the MLA store.

Agan has also contributed a chapter in a book on British author J.R.R. Tolkien that will be published in the future.

In addition, two OC students who gave oral presentations at the Oklahoma Academy of Science Technical Meeting on Nov. 5 were first place winners in their sections. The winners were Thea Murray, a senior biology major, and Xuan Wang, a senior chemistry major.  Four other OC students also gave presentations at the meeting. 

Murray’s presentation in the social sciences section was titled “The Development of an Instrument to Assess Patient’s Attitudes Regarding Health Information Exchange.” Wang’s presentation in the biomedical sciences section was titled “The Effects of a Series of Ketone Compounds on Hepatic Carboxylesterase Activity in Mice.”

“We are very proud of their achievements this year,” said Bill Luttrell, chair of the department of chemistry and physics. “They are deserving of recognition.”

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Wed, 17 Nov 2010 5:11:00 CST 44c50621-1ff9-4045-a0f7-23609865f827
National Arts Executive Appearing at Oklahoma Christian http://www.oc.edu/news/r/national_arts_executive_appearing_at_oklahoma_christian/ Dana Gioia, national arts executive, poet and librettist, will participate in symposia Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 with Oklahoma leaders in the arts. He will also deliver the sixth McBride Lecture on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. in Gaylord University Center on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. The program is free and open to the public. During his visit to Oklahoma, Gioia also will meet with teachers who sponsor Oklahoma students in the national Poetry Out Loud competition.

“Dana Gioia is an artist whose contributions to American culture are broad as well as deep,” said Dr. Scott LaMascus, director of the McBride Center for Faith and Literature. “He is a poet, a musician, a devoted public servant, an accomplished executive, and much more. We are delighted to share Gioia’s visit with Oklahomans – teachers, poets, opera lovers, scholars, and all who prize creativity and excellence.”

Gioia’s poetry collection Interrogations at Noon has been recognized by the American Book Award. While Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, Gioia helped the Poetry Foundation and others begin the national Poetry Out Loud project, which organizes annual, statewide competitions in poetry recitation and end with a national competition in Washington, D.C., where state winners compete for university scholarship funds.

Gioia also is editor of many anthologies and author of two essay collections:  Can Poetry Matter? (1992) and Disappearing Ink (2004).

The statewide kick-off for Poetry Out Loud 2010-2011 will include a luncheon for teachers offered by The Oklahoma Humanities Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council. Gioia will speak to teachers at the luncheon, followed by a workshop by University of Oklahoma poet Nathan Brown. The luncheon is free with RSVP to the OHC by calling 405-235-0280 before Sept. 24. Continuing Education credit is available from the workshop.

Also trained as a musician, Gioia also is recognized for his work with opera. His opera “The Last Broadcast of Tony Caruso” was recognized as the 2007 Best New Opera by the American Opera Association.

While in Oklahoma City, Gioia will participate in a presentation of selections from the opera “Nosferatu” with insights by the librettist. The event features Regina Grimaldi, soprano; Catherine McDaniel, mezzo soprano, Frank Ragsdale, tenor and the Oklahoma Christian University Chorale, conducted by Dr. Ken Adams, professor of music at OC. Seating is limited but the event is free with RSVP, LaMascus said. To reserve a seat, call 405-425-5330. The event is Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall in Garvey Center on the OC campus.

“We are delighted to share Gioia with Oklahoma’s creativity leaders and, courtesy of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, we will be hosting arts leaders in a discussion of public funding for the arts,” said LaMascus. Arts leaders will gather for a breakfast roundtable with Gioia.

Literature scholars will gather for the Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature for their annual conference Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. As keynote speaker for this group, Gioia will deliver the sixth McBride Lecture on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. in Gaylord University Center. The lecture is free and will be followed by a free book-signing reception, with book sales provided by Best of Books.

The theme for the SWCCL program is taken from Gioia’s essay collection Disappearing Ink, in which Gioia discusses how the position of poets has been changing in American culture. The theme, “Christian Literary Values and the Changing Print Culture,” will bring scholars from surrounding states and across the nation, according to Merle Gatewood, SWCCL program chair and OC professor.

In addition to panels of scholars presenting research on topics related to literature and faith, the SWCCL program includes plenary sessions concerning the work of Ralph Wood. Long-time professor at Baylor University, Wood is being honored by alumni of the program in which he taught.

“These sessions, in particular, are drawing scholars from many states outside our region and make a marvelous contribution to the SWCCL program. All the CCL program is thanks to Merle Gatewood, 2010 SWCCL conference chair. She has worked hard on this project all summer long by leading a committee of OC faculty and staff,” LaMascus said.

This program is funded in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily represent those of the OHC or NEH.

Additional funding for the McBride Center for Faith & Literature is provided by Oklahoma Christian University and its alumni; and annual sponsorships by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; the Inasmuch Foundation; and Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Best of Books in Edmond’s Kickingbird Square is providing book sales.

“Who else but Dana Gioia to get into our quiet little poetic rooms bringing vibrant music and busting out large openings to places where the rapper Sugargang Hill, Mother Goose, Kipling, and cowboy poet Wallace McRae live together, if not quite in peace, then in a meaningful, creative tension,” LaMascus said. “Hurrah for America, for all poets, and all of us who are listening!”

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Fri, 01 Oct 2010 7:10:00 CDT 091e9bd5-480b-47b5-a0f9-4270746c31d8