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President John deSteiguer will continue to lead as Board opts for early contract renewal

John desteiguer 08 20 4

The Oklahoma Christian University Board of Trustees announced today an early five-year extension to President John deSteiguer’s term. The Board’s decision demonstrates support for deSteiguer’s vision and confidence in the University’s direction under his leadership.

“The Board restated our support and commitment for our President and trust the future is bright for OC,” OC Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Brewer said. “Higher education is facing challenges on numerous fronts capped by the season of the pandemic. However, we believe that the President and the leadership team at OC as well as the faculty and staff have made the tough, courageous and compassionate decisions to get us to where we are today. Renewing President deSteiguer’s contract was the right move.”

deSteiguer was appointed president of OC in 2012, and during his tenure the University has successfully restructured its academic colleges adding high-demand programs like Criminal Justice and Sports Management. The University boasted strong accreditation reviews from the Higher Learning Commission and implemented the Student Success Center, Student Advocacy Center and Ethos spiritual life programs to promote academic and experiential excellence. The extension comes as Oklahoma Christian launches innovative programs to deliver education to underserved student populations and offer practical approaches to solving real problems. New programs will address statewide teacher and nursing shortages by lowering certification barriers to individuals with classroom and patient care experience.

President John deSteiguer presides over OC's first outdoor graduation ceremony on November 19, 2020.
"I believe our best years are ahead as we aggressively pursue innovative programs to serve new student populations and remain committed to making the Christ-centered, traditional OC experience the best it can be,” deSteiguer said. “Working with OC's Trustees - men and women who generously give their time, talent and treasure to this University - is a gift. I am humbled and grateful that they would ask Darla and me to continue serving this place we love. It’s a blessing to get to work with OC’s dedicated faculty and staff and connect with our outstanding students."

Since the start of deSteiguer’s term, Oklahoma Christian’s record $70 million advancement and fundraising efforts have spurred new and improved campus facilities projects such as the awarding-winning dining facility, The Branch, new softball and soccer complexes, baseball field improvements, The Brew coffee shop, Hartman Place and North Crossing, and the purchase of study abroad facilities in Vienna, Austria, Das MillicanHaus. Academic facilities have also benefited from investments in technology and learning spaces including the Ellis Clinical Skills Lab and Simulation Center, the Citizens Bank Finance Lab, three new labs dedicated to Gaming and Animation and extensive renovations in the Davisson American Heritage building, Judd Theater and classrooms and office spaces throughout campus.

Oklahoma Christian has also expanded athletic and non-academic programs such as swimming, bowling and beloved speaker series including the McBride Center, History Speaks and the McGaw Lectures. An acclaimed University-wide rebranding initiative was also unveiled.

OC's new award-winning cafeteria, The Branch, opened January 6, 2020. Students gave five star reviews! Photo taken pre-covid.
“The Board of Trustees is thrilled to have John and Darla deSteiguer at the helm of Oklahoma Christian University as our president and first lady for the next five years, OC Trustee and Former University President Alfred Branch said. “There is no one better to lead OC into the future than John. John communicates and connects with our stakeholders, students, faculty, staff and the Oklahoma City community positively and respectfully. We’re lucky to have him as our President.”

Oklahoma Christian leadership navigated challenges brought on by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and maintained in-person learning and campus community experience with scientifically supported protocol and strong communication.

In light of the pandemic-related economic slowdown, which left many students and families facing financial hardship, deSteiguer announced student tuition costs would remain flat for the 2021-2022 school year. He cites Matthew 25 as a driving focus for decision making in the coming years; aiming to wisely prepare the university for success, faithfully encourage others to use their talents and serve people and OC with love.

The OC Board of Trustees extended deSteiguer’s contract through May 2026.