Six-figure gift revitalizes OC fitness center, equipment

Valari and Greg Wedel
Valari and Greg Wedel

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A six-figure gift from an alum and trustee will provide Oklahoma Christian University (OC) students with a renovated fitness center and new fitness equipment all over campus.

Greg and Valari Wedel’s donation is the anchor gift for the campus-wide fitness equipment overhaul, one of the projects in OC’s Thrive campaign. It also will fund an extensive renovation of the university’s primary fitness center, now known as “The Dub.”

Valari Wedel is a 1982 OC graduate with a degree in computer science. Her husband Greg joined OC’s Board of Trustees in 2009. In 2012, they gave the lead gift for OC’s Eagle Trail in honor of their parents, Tom and Judy Boker and Mack and Sue Wedel.

“Greg and I firmly believe we are just stewards of God’s money, challenging ourselves to satisfy God’s desires for us,” Valari Wedel said. “We were excited about this opportunity to help fund a new workout facility and equipment. It allows us to serve our Lord, support the school we love, and provide for the well-being of young adults for years to come. For us, it was a perfect fit.”

Construction on the fitness center renovation will begin after OC’s spring semester and will be completed this summer. The Dub, plus all the fitness centers in student housing, will feature new treadmills by SportsArt, new strength equipment by Hoist, and ellipticals by Octane Fitness.

This project is the latest initiative of TeamOC, which began 10 years ago as a group of OC alumni and staff members participating in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

Since then, TeamOC has grown exponentially. At more than 500 strong, Oklahoma Christian regularly has the largest group of participants in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

TeamOC sponsors multiple running events each year and offers classes in kickboxing, water aerobics, yoga, Zumba, and strength and flexibility training through Body and Soul. TeamOC also provides nutritional training and weight-loss programs.

Earlier this year, the statewide organization Shape Your Future awarded Oklahoma Christian with Certified Healthy Campus status for actively creating a safe and healthy environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors.

“Without the Wedels’ support, TeamOC initiatives would not be possible. They were with us from the beginning of TeamOC and have continued to offer support and encouragement on a consistent basis,” Director of Wellness Darci Thompson said. “They also have been great examples of making fitness a priority in our lives. It’s incredibly important for a college campus to provide opportunities for their students, faculty and staff that support and encourage healthy lifestyles. It helps bring us together and create camaraderie in our community.”

To date, 3,724 donors have combined to give almost $10.5 million and have fully funded eight projects – including the campus-wide fitness equipment overhaul – in OC’s Thrive campaign.

Funding also is complete for: the launch of OC’s reorganized College of Engineering and Computer Science; Das Millicanhaus, OC’s living-learning facility in Vienna, Austria; the renovation of Cail Auditorium in OC’s Davisson American Heritage Building; renovation of select student apartment suites; high-definition projection systems in Hardeman Auditorium and Judd Theatre; the 2014-15 general scholarship fund; and a strategic planning fund.

“OC is so blessed to have the involvement of the Wedel family. The Wedels not only support our students financially; they continue to be loving mentors and examples for our young people as they graduate into working individuals,” Major Gifts Officer Gary Mason said. “The Wedels are an important part of OC’s success producing skilled students with hearts for service.”

Recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, Oklahoma Christian set a school record this year. Overall, the last decade has featured OC’s 10 highest enrollments ever.

The university 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.