Faith is central to the Christian life at OC, and one of our foundational verses tells us that God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine. We want to share with the OC family an announcement that shows God doing just that on our campus.
In March, OC celebrated 18 former students – including Mr. Robert Edison – who participated in a sit-in in Benson Hall. Dubbed "OC's 18," the students stood up for civil rights for students of color at then Oklahoma Christian College. This year, seven of those students and their families visited the OC community and helped us initiate healing and restoration.
The conversations in the days following revealed a desire for more understanding of African American studies in our Liberal Arts classes. Four student leaders and more than 170 OC students requested that OC provide additional academic offerings to more deeply explore African American studies. At the same time, one of the members of OC's 18 indicated a willingness to reconnect with OC by inspiring students in the classroom. According to Dr. Tina Winn, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, it became clear that God had prepared Edison for such a time as this at OC.
“We have long recognized the need to add African American Studies courses to our offerings,” said Winn. “We are truly blessed that an award-winning historian and leader such as Robert Edison will bring his personal and professional experiences with civil rights history to OC’s College of Liberal Arts."
We are honored to announce that Edison will serve part-time with OC as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of American Studies in Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the College of Liberal Arts. Edison's first project will be to develop and teach a new African American Studies course, which will begin in January and culminate in OC’s annual civil rights tour during spring break.
Edison recently retired as the Director of Social Studies for the Dallas Independent School District, the second-largest school district in Texas and the 16th-largest in the nation. He has also served as:
- Director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston
- Curator of the Dallas ISD African American Cultural Heritage Center
- Assistant Director of Research and Public Programs for the Dallas Historical Society.
Edison has received numerous awards, grants, and honors for teaching, including three National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and a Fulbright Fellowship with the American University in Cairo, Egypt.
Mr. Edison, who has one master’s degree in history and another master’s degree in civic affairs, is so excited that you will see him on campus this fall! He wants to start preparing his class now, and he literally cannot wait to interact with our students. We believe this is just the beginning of God doing even more than we can imagine this year.