OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A photograph of Christian college students from 1929 is vying to be one of the “Top Ten Most Endangered Artifacts” in a program sponsored by the Oklahoma Cultural Heritage Trust.
The 25 finalists were announced at the State Capitol on May 1 during the “May Day: Saving Oklahoma Treasures” event.
The program is a campaign to raise awareness of Oklahoma’s collecting organizations that hold important items in need of preservation and care.
Until June 1, Oklahoma Christian will seek the “People’s Choice” designation through online voting at www.culturalheritagetrust.org.
If OC’s picture is selected by the fan vote, it will be named one of Oklahoma “Top Ten Most Endangered Artifacts,” and efforts will be made to raise funds for its care.
During the May 1 ceremony, Oklahoma Christian also was presented with a Cultural Heritage Stewardship Award signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, Rep. Randy Grau and Sen. Clark Jolley. The award recognizes OC’s commitment to the preservation of Oklahoma’s rich culture and heritage.
OC’s photograph has historical significance for several reasons, said Archivist J.J. Compton. The time period of the photo, 1929, is right before the Dust Bowl and Great Depression that crippled the state agriculturally and financially and forced the school to close again in 1931.
The fragile picture shows a group of male and females in higher education during a pivotal time in our state and nation’s history.
“The college the photo is associated with has a unique history. It began as Cordell Christian College in 1907 at the same time Oklahoma gained statehood, and then closed in 1918 after World War I divided many of the faculty and supporters on the issue of pacifism,” Compton said. “It surfaced again as Western Oklahoma Christian College in 1921 and was renamed Oklahoma Christian College in 1925, to symbolize statewide support for the institution.”
Following in the Cordell institution’s footsteps, the school that would eventually become Oklahoma Christian University opened in Bartlesville as Central Christian College in 1950. It moved to Oklahoma City in 1958 and became known as Oklahoma Christian.
Now 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 University offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in business, engineering, ministry, and divinity.
Oklahoma Christian 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.