Timeline and Updates

Two Named Finalists for Oklahoma Christian President

Oklahoma City, Okla., Dec. 20 - A national search to identify the best-qualified person to lead Oklahoma Christian University (OC) in the years ahead has produced two finalists. The ten-member OC Presidential Search Committee unanimously approved forwarding the names of the two finalists to the University's Board of Trustees, with a recommendation to advance the process to the next stage involving campus interaction with faculty, staff and students.

The Board of Trustees, in a special meeting Monday evening, accepted the committee's recommendation of the two finalists:

Dr. John deSteiguer, OC Senior Vice President for Advancement, and
Dr. Allison Garrett, OC Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

"We were impressed with the quality and quantity of candidates who applied for the position," said Michelle Stephens, OC graduate and chair of the OC Presidential Search Committee.

"We had a number of outstanding candidates with the leadership, academic, administrative and communication abilities to serve as president of this exceptional Christian university. After much consideration and deliberation the past six months, the committee identified two truly exceptional candidates who demonstrated great enthusiasm for OC and its future. These two candidates are well acquainted with OC, and they understand the extraordinary importance of OC's mission of educational excellence delivered in a Christian setting to help our students pursue their personal, academic and professional goals. As a committee, we are pleased to advance these two finalists, and we look forward to the next phase of the process."

The 35-member OC Board of Trustees also unanimously accepted the recommendations of the two finalists submitted by the search committee.

"Oklahoma Christian has experienced several years of solid leadership under President Mike O'Neal," said Don Millican, chair of the Board of Trustees. "As a result, Oklahoma Christian is strong today and better positioned for the future. Consequently, it is imperative we select an individual who is capable and ready to move our outstanding university forward. In this regard, we are pleased with the selection of these two finalists. We know them well. They are not only qualified from an experience standpoint, but both of them also reflect the strong Christian character we seek in the president of OC."

Millican also commended the OC Presidential Search Committee for the work they did leading the search process.

John deSteiguer was recruited to the OC campus in 2002 as part of Dr. O'Neal's new administration. At the time, deSteiguer was a senior development officer at Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah. He brought his fund-raising acumen, leadership gifts, passion for higher education and love for students to Oklahoma Christian, and over the next decade has helped the university raise gifts topping $100 million.

A highlight of deSteiguer's tenure at OC has been the $60 million Higher Learning~Higher Calling fund-raising campaign that was completed nearly two years ahead of schedule in 2007. Notable fund-raising highlights achieved during the campaign include the $7.5 million Science Facility Initiative, the new Lawson Commons, four new endowed chairs, and more than 60 new or enhanced scholarship, operating and maintenance endowments.

Previously, deSteiguer practiced law in the Dallas-based law firm of Haynes and Boone. He also served as a youth minister and campus minister in his hometown of Tahlequah, Okla.

He is a member of several civic organizations, including the Edmond Chamber of Commerce's executive committee, the Oklahoma Planned Giving Council, the Edmond Rotary Club and the Oklahoma Bar Association.

deSteiguer received his undergraduate degree at Northeastern Oklahoma State University, summa cum laude, in 1984. He was a Rotary International Scholarship recipient at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, and earned his juris doctorate from Pepperdine University, magna cum laude, in 1989.

He and his wife, Darla, also an attorney, have two teenage children, Joe and Abby. He is a frequent Bible class teacher and a deacon at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

Allison Garrett was first on the OC campus in 1982 as an undergraduate student. She graduated from OC injust two years and then earned law degrees at the University of Tulsa and Georgetown University. She is a member of both the Oklahoma and Arkansas bars, making the high score on the Arkansas bar exam.

Her professional experience includes a decade working for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in Bentonville, Ark., where she served as vice president of benefits compliance and planning, vice president and general counsel, corporate division, and assistant secretary. She oversaw large staffs and had budgetary responsibility for more than $550 million.

Her early career included time as a staff attorney for the United States Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., and as an associate attorney for Pray, Walker, Jackman, Williamson & Marlar in Tulsa, Okla.

She was named to the OC Board of Trustees in 2003, at which time she also departed the corporate world for academia as an associate professor of law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala.

Garrett came to work at OC in 2007 when she was named vice president for academic affairs. In her current role as senior vice president for academic affairs, she oversees the university's faculty, supervises three colleges and graduate studies, and related academic functions. She led a revision of the university's core curriculum, and facilitated growth in graduate programs, international recruiting and the Honors Program. She also teaches business law.

She co-chairs the board of the Dallas-based National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and is active with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board. She is a published author on a variety of international, corporate governance and pharmacy law topics.

She and her husband, Chip, also an attorney, have three children, Ethan, Tori and Noah. They attend Wilshire Church of Christ, where both teach Bible class and are involved with Leadership Training for Christ.

The Board of Trustees will conduct interviews with each nominee and will hold town hall-type gatherings for faculty, staff, students and alumni before a new president is named.

Millican said the board expects to name a new president at its February board meeting.

Presidential Search Update

October 18, 2011 - Following the conclusion of a nationwide search, the Presidential Search Committee is interviewing candidates for the presidency of Oklahoma Christian University.

"We have been blessed with many excellent candidates," said Michelle Stephens, chair of the committee.

The call for nominations and applications began in July and concluded at the end of September.

"The committee is working diligently to narrow the field and schedule interviews," said Stephens. "We remain prayerful and focused during this important phase in the process."

The search committee will present its recommendations to the Board of Trustees, and the Board ultimately will select the new president.

Dr. Mike O'Neal became OC's fifth president in 2002 and will retire in 2012.

The search committee is tasked with submitting to the Board candidates who will articulate and exemplify the mission, convictions and accomplishments of the university with leadership that will impact the compelling promotion of OC and its mission to both internal and external constituencies.

Call for Nominations

July 6, 2011 - A call for nominations for the presidency of Oklahoma Christian University is officially underway. The nationwide search began in early July with campus announcements, and the publication of an advertisement in The Christian Chronicle, an international Church of Christ newspaper with a wide circulation. Other announcements will follow in media outlets that target higher education.

The presidential search committee, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, will accept nominations and applications until the position is filled, but to assure full consideration, all candidates are asked to have required materials submitted by September 30, 2011.

The search is for OC’s sixth president and the successor to Dr. Mike O’Neal, who has served as president since 2002. To prepare for the search, the board and the committee have benefitted from the input of faculty, staff, students, alumni and others who have participated in “town hall discussions” and online surveys about the future president, his or her desired leadership attributes, as well as the hopes for the future of the university that was founded in 1950.

The committee seeks candidates who will articulate and exemplify the mission, convictions and accomplishments of the university and whose leadership will impact the following broad contexts for the compelling promotion of OC and its mission to both internal and external constituencies.

The president will lead by:

  • Serving as a spokesperson for a clear vision of the university’s mission and spiritual foundations;
  • Honoring and nurturing the relationship with Churches of Christ as an active member of the fellowship;
  • Sharing the OC story in ways that encourage and win financial support for the university’s growing endowment;
  • Championing academic excellence where it already flourishes and nurturing it across all the university’s liberal arts, sciences, and professional programs for both undergraduate and graduate degrees;
  • Leading a team of skilled professionals who excel in financial management, recruitment, retention, and academic development, and
  • Strengthening our unity by exemplifying the character, identity, history and future of the university and its community.

All nominations, letters of interest, vitae and references should be directed to: Presidential Search Committee, Oklahoma Christian University, PO Box 11000, Oklahoma City, OK 73136, or emailed topresidentialsearch@oc.edu.

PDF Presidential Prospectus (1.7 MB PDF - overview of the university)


Presidential Search Committee Formed

May 5, 2011 - A presidential search committee has been formed to conduct a national search for Oklahoma Christian University’s successor to Dr. O’Neal, who announced his intention to retire next year.

The 10-member committee was selected by groups that represent the board, faculty, staff, alumni and students.

The committee members are:

  • Lyle Campbell, Senior Network Administrator, OC
  • Dr. John Harrison, Professor of New Testament, College of Biblical Studies
  • Eugene Howland, Business Development, Wilson, A Schlumberger Company
  • Pat Jones, CFO, Petra Industries, Inc.
  • Dr. Scott LaMascus, Professor of Language & Literature and Director of the Honors Program, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Elaine Kelly, Associate Professor of Accounting, Chair of Accounting Department, College of Professional Studies
  • Blake Mullins, OC Senior
  • Mark Stansberry, Chairman and CEO, the GTD Group
  • Michelle Stephens, Attorney, Presidential Search Committee Chairperson
  • Ray Vaughn, Attorney and Oklahoma County Commissioner
  • Kerri Cunningham is serving as the board liaison as a non-voting committee member

“This group has a deep understanding of Oklahoma Christian - our mission and values, our history and our vision for the future. We are honored and humbled to help with the process in selecting our next president,” Stephens said.

She said the committee will seek input and nominations from the communities that support the university. Inquiries can be made to presidentialsearch@oc.edu.

After the application and interview process, the committee will present its top candidates to the Board of Trustees.