The mission of the Center is to engage and inspire OC students, faculty, and community in outstanding programs which explore the interrelatedness of Christian faith and literature.
Relationship to Oklahoma Christian University's Mission
Through cutting-edge programs, initiatives to support students and faculty, and the involvement of our broader community in these endeavors, the Center serves the University's mission by promoting excellence and the expression of the Christian worldviews in literature.
The Initiatives of the Center
Each of the following initiatives has been shaped and reaffirmed during the Center's first years as alumni, faculty, students, and community have collaborated with the McBride family to seek projects with outstanding promise for fulfilling the center's mission.
I. The McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature
The McBride Lecture series has been underwritten to bring nationally-recognized speakers to OC. Respecting the mission of the University and honoring the McBrides' many years of service among Churches of Christ, the lectures will provide students and faculty with speakers from a variety of religious perspectives whose work illustrates to OC students and to our communities the power of literature to explore faith themes, attract readership, and, at its best, also reinvigorate faith and understanding of biblical literature.
The range of speakers hosted on campus recently illustrates these principles in practice: Jeff Berryman (Christian dramatist and author of Leaving Ruin); Diane Glancy (author of Dancing with the Bear and Stone Heart); and Walt McDonald (celebrated poet and long-time leader in Lubbock congregations of Churches of Christ).
McBride Lecturers have included Kathleen Norris (a Roman Catholic writer known for her many books as well as the Foreword to a popular edition of C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity); Robert Pinsky (former U.S. Poet Laureate of Jewish heritage, translator of Dante and poet Czeslaw Milosz, and author of a 2005 study of King David); and Marilynne Robinson (author of Gilead, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2005).
OC alumni have returned to campus to introduce each speaker. These leaders in the fellowship of Churches of Christ each have sought to articulate important connections between the lecturer's work and the OC community's history, values, and interests.
In discussions about the center's first activities, the McBrides reminisced about the Gala Week celebrations of the 1980s, which inspired the OC community by bringing national leaders to campus in a variety of fields. Dr. McBride was the University's chief academic officer during that era.
The McBride Lecture series was selected as the Center's first initiative partly because of their memories about the power of making an early, positive impact on Christian students as they arrive on campus each fall. Funding for speakers also was a priority identified during 2000-2001 strategic planning sessions by faculty in the Department of Language and Literature.
II. The McBride Center Roaring Lambs Undergraduate Fellowship
The Roaring Lambs Undergraduate Fellowship seeks to build the capacity of young, Christian professionals to influence the world of ideas by funding internships and practicum experiences in professional editing and publishing. The students who receive these fellowships will be required to submit papers describing the way in which their experiences were influenced by the Christian worldview.
Inspired by Bob Briner's book, Roaring Lambs, and funded by a friend of the university from Houston, this annual prize inspires OC students to seek regional and national internships or other pre-professional training in publishing and editing.
Bailey and Joyce have been known as encouragers of students- not only of the brightest and highest academic performers, but also of those of deep Christian character and potential for unique service to the Kingdom of Christ. The Roaring Lambs Fellowship is one expression of this interest in enriching students' experiences and providing funding for experiences of critical importance as students seek to influence culture for Christ.
III. Future Initiatives
The Center seeks funding for The McBride Visiting Faculty Fellows program, which would underwrite a program to bring to the Oklahoma City campus outstanding Christian teacher/scholars who will inspire students to use their God-given gifts and Christian faith in the pursuit of literature-related vocations.
Bailey and Joyce long have dreamed of a McBride Faculty Fellows program as an expression of their appreciation for the impact of exchange faculty on the OC campus. For example, during Bailey's tenure as chief academic officer, the exchange of faculty between Ibaraki Christian University and OC yielded excellent experiences and high values for students on both campuses.
Additional, future initiatives will explore ways to implement the Center's mission in support of what Linda King has called the "commingled loves" of the McBrides - Christian faith and literature.
Approved by Administration, Language & Literature Faculty, and Center Leadership
August 17, 2007