News http://www.oc.edu/news RSS Feed OC expands to five colleges, appoints new deans http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-expands-to-five-academic-colleges-appoints-new-deans/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year.

OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.

“Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Dr. Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

This academic reorganization will not affect degree plans for current students, but will expand students’ opportunities for learning and connecting with experts in their chosen fields.

“Students choose Oklahoma Christian because they are drawn to OC’s vibrant community for faith and learning, led by exceptional teaching faculty who truly care about students,” President John deSteiguer said. “These five colleges will provide further focus for our learning communities as we help students discover their missions in life.”

Dr. Jeff McCormack, a 1983 Oklahoma Christian graduate, will return to his alma mater as the new dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences and the Lawson Professor of Microbiology and Immunology.

Dr. McCormack has been on the Lipscomb University faculty since 1999 and is currently associate provost. He also has served as an elder at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Brentwood, Tenn.

He is the son of OC professor emeritus Joe McCormack and his wife, Lottie. Jeff and his wife Tina, also a 1983 OC graduate, have four children: Daniel, an OC alumnus working on his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin; Katie, a Lipscomb graduate and a nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Michael, a graduate of Pepperdine University who is in medical school at the University of Tennessee; and Sarah, a sophomore at Lipscomb.

“Dr. McCormack will be a key leader for our revitalization and reorganization,” LaMascus said. “We are poised to build and expand on OC’s legacy of rigorous science education and excellent placement of our graduates in medical schools, graduate studies, and health and science careers.”

Dr. Byron Newberry will serve as dean of OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Newberry is a professor of mechanical engineering and chairs OC’s Graduate School of Engineering.

After graduating from Oklahoma Christian in 1991 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Newberry went on to earn his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Michigan. He also has served as a senior research engineer and consultant at Shell International Exploration and Production.

Newberry and his wife Tammy have two children, Isaac and Olivia. They worship at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

“Dr. Newberry’s leadership at the helm of our graduate engineering programs has been exceptional, and we know he will be equally successful leading OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science,” said Don Drew, associate vice president for academics. “He has worked closely with Tinker Air Force Base to ensure we are responding to needs in the aerospace industry and advanced engineering education.”

Oklahoma Christian will name a dean for the College of Business Administration later this year. Dr. Alan Martin and Dr. David Lowry will continue as deans of OC’s College of Biblical Studies and College of Liberal Arts (formerly the College of Arts and Sciences), respectively.

“Drs. Lowry and Martin are excellent leaders who have helped us make great strides in adding and developing programs that support OC’s mission,” LaMascus said. “Our programs in the liberal arts, fine arts, humanities and biblical studies have outstanding placement and student success records. All of our programs seek to be best-in-class among Christian universities, and no university is exceptional without valuing all of these learning communities.”

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.

The last nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students this year.

-OC-

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Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:30:00 CDT 6d714f1a-bb24-4bdc-8972-68ca08e436e6
OC hosts noted authors for intergerational faith event http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-hosts-noted-authors-for-intergerational-faith-event/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Two leading experts in spiritual development will be the featured speakers at the third-annual Intergenerational Faith Center Dialogues at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) on April 1.

John Westerhoff, author of the classic book, Will Our Children Have Faith?, and Holly Allen, author of Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship, will share their insights at this special event, which is free and open to the public.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in OC’s Judd Theatre. Free tickets can be ordered online at www.oc.edu/ifc or by calling (405) 425-5370.

“This will be a unique opportunity to hear one of Christian education’s original voices in spiritual formation and a fresh new voice in intergenerational spiritual formation,” said IFC co-director Dudley Chancey, a professor of youth and family ministry at Oklahoma Christian. “Dr. Westerhoff and Dr. Allen both will give past, present, and future perspectives on the age-old question, ‘Will our children have faith?’”

Westerhoff is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University. He taught at Harvard before serving as a professor at the Duke University Divinity School for 20 years. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1974, and most recently served as priest associate, resident theologian, and teacher at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Ga.

He has authored or co-authored 35 books. Will Our Children Have Faith? has been used extensively in college and seminary religious education classes since it was originally published in 1976. In this book, Westerhoff advocates experiential faith formation within families, churches, and schools rather than relegating religious education to Sunday morning classes.

Allen is a professor of biblical studies and director of the Child and Family Studies Program at John Brown University. She holds degrees from Harding University, the University of Iowa, and Talbot School of Theology.

She is noted for her research on spiritual development in children, and is frequently sought by parents, the educational establishment, social workers, and churches to speak on children’s spirituality.

OC’s Intergenerational Faith Center assists and equips families and faith-based institutions in spiritual formation. The IFC provides strategies and advises ministers, church leaders and other groups in developing intergenerational programming and practices.

Previous speakers for the IFC Dialogues include best-selling authors David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, and Gabe Lyons, founder of Q Ideas and Catalyst.

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.

The last nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students this year.

-OC-

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Wed, 26 Mar 2014 09:15:00 CDT 52824a0f-402b-42ab-8e33-95bac0187e23
Renowned scholar N.T. Wright to speak at OC http://www.oc.edu/news/r/renowned-scholar-nt-wright-to-speak-at-oc/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – One of the world’s premier theologians will speak at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) March 24-25. 

N.T. Wright is a best-selling, award-winning author and professor who holds dual doctorates from Oxford University. He will lead a panel discussion on March 25 titled “Paul and the Faithfulness of God.” The event begins at 10 a.m. in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium. 

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.oc.edu/ntwright.

Wright is research professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland. He holds a doctorate in divinity and a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University. 

He has written more than 60 books, including his best-selling “Simply Christian,” “Simply Jesus” and “How God Became King.” He also is known for his multi-volume work “Christian Origins and the Question of God,” of which volume four, “Paul and the Faithfulness of God,” has recently been released. 
 
In addition to the panel discussion, Wright will speak the night before to a sold-out crowd of 2,700 on the topic of “The Strange Challenge of Truth.”

John Harrison, professor of New Testament and Ministry at Oklahoma Christian, said hosting Wright for the university’s latest McGaw Lecture is a significant honor.

“N.T. Wright is our generation’s foremost expert on New Testament studies, especially in regard to postmodernity and the reliability of the Biblical narrative,” Harrison said. “He combines scholarship and applied insights in an understandable way that resonates with audiences, as evidenced by his sold-out public lecture.”
 
Those interested in hearing Wright can still attend the panel discussion the next day.
 
“Fortunately, the panel discussion presents another opportunity to hear from this distinguished scholar,” Harrison said. “In addition, Wright will be joined by three scholars in the study of Paul who will critique Wright's new book on Paul. This is truly a rare and unique opportunity to hear from established New Testament scholars.”
 
Accomplished professors Richard Hays, Jerry Sumney and James Thompson will join Wright for the panel discussion. 

Hays is the dean of Duke University’s Divinity School and the George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament. Sumney teaches New Testament at Lexington Theological Seminary and is the chair for the Pauline Epistles and Literature section of the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. Thompson is Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University and the editor of Restoration Quarterly.

In conjunction with Wright’s lecture, all OC students, faculty and staff members received a free copy of “Simply Christian,” and the book has been integrated into the curriculum of a number of classes. 

This outreach builds on the university’s commitment to spiritual growth. Earlier this semester, OC launched “WORD: OC’s 60-Day New Testament Plan” through the Edmond-based YouVersion Bible app, which is used on more than 100 million devices around the world.

OC’s McGaw Lectures exist to increase national awareness of three of America’s founding core values: faith in God, constitutional government and private enterprise. The lectures are made possible by an endowment fund created by the late Mary and Foster McGaw. Just last month, OC hosted two members of the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Walls LaNier and Terrence Roberts, for the university’s most recent McGaw Lecture.
 
About Oklahoma Christian University
Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies. The last nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students this year.

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Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:30:00 CST aaa75764-a626-476e-b937-0ec85aa1b4a2
OC Olympic Connections http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-olympic-connections/ Oklahoma Christian University is a destination point for students from all over the world who seek a quality education. In fact, students from 57 countries are currently enrolled at OC.

Below is a list of the nations that competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics that have students at OC, along with the medal count for those nations.

And while you're in the Olympic spirit, check out features about OC alumni Jennifer Ma and Jeff Bennett. Ma was a chief designer of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Bennett was the United States’ top decathlete in the 1972 Summer Olympics, placing fourth overall.

Country

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Russia

13

11

9

33

United States

9

7

12

28

Canada

10

10

5

25

Germany

8

6

5

19

Austria

4

8

5

17

France

4

4

7

15

China

3

4

2

9

South Korea

3

3

2

8

Czech Republic

2

4

2

8

Japan

1

4

3

8

Great Britain

1

1

2

4

Australia

0

2

1

3

Belgium

0

0

0

0

British Virgin Islands

0

0

0

0

Israel

0

0

0

0

Mexico

0

0

0

0

Moldova

0

0

0

0

Morocco

0

0

0

0

Nepal

0

0

0

0

Pakistan

0

0

0

0

Paraguay

0

0

0

0

Peru

0

0

0

0

Philippines

0

0

0

0

Portugal

0

0

0

0

Spain

0

0

0

0

Thailand

0

0

0

0

Togo

0

0

0

0

Turkey

0

0

0

0

Venezuela

0

0

0

0

In addition to this year's competing Winter Olympic nations, Oklahoma Christian currently has students from Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. Click here for more information on OC's International Programs.

-OC-

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Sun, 23 Feb 2014 13:00:00 CST b2832dfe-a4f5-4ea4-928a-0cdc6bb09d94
OC maintains affordability with 2014-15 pricing http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-maintains-affordability-with-2014-15-pricing/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – After keeping undergraduate prices flat for three years, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) has announced a small increase for 2014-15.

OC’s cost of attendance will move to $25,790 per year (including tuition, room and board). That will represent a 3.26 percent increase over 2011-12, the last time Oklahoma Christian raised prices.

Oklahoma Christian’s approach contrasts with the nationwide trend; according to the College Board, the average cost of attendance at private colleges rose 7.9 percent during OC’s multi-year price freeze, including an increase of almost 4 percent this year. Total charges at private schools averaged $40,917 this year while public schools cost an average of $31,701 for out-of-state students.

“Our commitment to affordability makes OC a tremendous value for students seeking premier academic programs in a supportive Christian environment,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “We’re dedicated to holding prices down, even as we’re faced with higher operating expenses like rising healthcare costs. We know students and families will appreciate that OC is bucking the trend of the large price increases seen at many colleges nationwide.”

Oklahoma Christian is continuing its policy of not charging undergraduate student fees. This allows students and families to better compare Oklahoma Christian with schools that charge numerous fees on top of their tuition “sticker price.” Differential tuition will continue for students participating in nursing clinicals or taking private music lessons.

OC students can take up to 17 hours per semester for the base tuition price, and can further shape their costs with on-campus housing choices that best fit their budgets and needs.

More than 90 percent of OC’s undergraduate students receive financial aid, including performance and athletic scholarships, need-based financial grants, and governmental assistance.

OC’s Presidential Academic Success Scholarship rewards academic achievement tied to student performance on ACT and SAT exams. Oklahoma Christian also offers significant scholarships for National Merit Scholars. OC has 37 National Merit Finalists in its student body, the third-most per capita in the state of Oklahoma and the most per capita among all Church of Christ universities.

On the graduate level, OC’s tuition will remain flat for all students in the Graduate School of Theology ($400 per credit hour) and Graduate School of Engineering ($495/hour), and for returning students in the Graduate School of Business ($470/hour). New graduate business students who enroll this fall will pay $484 per credit hour.

Complete pricing information is available at www.oc.edu/costs.

“We’re able to make a first-rate education affordable at Oklahoma Christian through our location in Oklahoma City, which boasts one of the nation’s strongest economies, and through the enthusiastic support of our alumni and donors,” deSteiguer said.

An unprecedented 1,479 Oklahoma Christian graduates gave to their alma mater last year, helping OC’s alumni participation rate (13.6 percent) eclipse the national average (11.2 percent).

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 offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.

OC’s 200-acre campus is located in northeast Oklahoma City and borders the city of Edmond. The last nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students this year.

-OC-

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Fri, 14 Feb 2014 08:00:00 CST 902a492f-af5b-4d64-b027-8493471e44cf
Oklahoma Christian hosts pioneers of integration http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oklahoma-christian-hosts-pioneers-of-integration/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will host two members of the “Little Rock Nine” for a special event that is free and open to the public on Feb. 24.

Carlotta Walls LaNier and Terrence Roberts were two of the nine teenagers who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 25, 1957. They were confronted by a hostile crowd and escorted by the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division on that historic day.

“In the midst of one of the most turbulent times in this country’s history, it’s amazing that we found strength in the unlikeliest of places – in a group of nine kids,” said Gary Jones, OC’s Multicultural and Service Learning Coordinator. “Even in the face of injustice, prejudice and inequality, their story of perseverance will live forever. The Little Rock Nine helped lead the charge of equality in education and opportunity for education in America.”

At age 14 in 1957, LaNier was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. She went on to graduate from Central High School in 1960 and earned her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State College, now known as the University of Northern Colorado.

She worked for the YWCA as a program administrator before beginning a successful career as a real estate broker. She continues to operate LaNier and Company, the firm she founded in 1977.

She serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation and speaks across the country about her experiences as a pioneer of school integration. Her memoir, A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice of Little Rock Central High School, offers an inside look at this significant civil rights battle.

Roberts was a 15-year-old junior when he entered Little Rock Central High School. He completed his junior year, then moved to California and graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1959.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University at Los Angeles in 1967, a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1970, and a doctorate in psychology from Southern Illinois University in 1976.

He now serves as chief executive officer of Terrence J. Roberts & Associates, a management consultant firm. He also maintains a private psychology practice and speaks on a wide variety of topics across the country. His memoir, Lessons from Little Rock, came out in 2009.

Both LaNier and Roberts have been honored with the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal.

History Speaks: Little Rock Nine starts at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium, Though admission is free, pre-registration is required at www.oc.edu/littlerock9.

The event is part of Oklahoma Christian’s McGaw Lecture Series.

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 offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.


-OC-

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Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:25:00 CST d14ba800-ebc6-4fd1-b93d-8198d06a5303
OC partners with YouVersion for Bible reading plan http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-partners-with-youversion-for-bible-reading-plan/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) unveiled a new Bible reading plan on YouVersion this week.

The plan allows anybody with access to the YouVersion app or online site (bible.com) to read through the entire New Testament by the end of the spring semester.

Along with a daily Bible reading, OC’s plan features devotional thoughts written by Oklahoma Christian students, faculty and staff members.

“We are so thankful to YouVersion for their willingness to partner with us,” Campus Minister Summer Lashley said. “I believe that great things can happen when a community commits to reading God’s word together. I hope that others are blessed by reading alongside our campus community.”

The plan is titled “WORD: OC’s 60-Day New Testament Plan.” Readers can search for and subscribe to the plan for free in YouVersion online or on their smartphones or tablets. More information is available at oc.edu/youversion.

“This is a great opportunity to share a common goal to read the New Testament this semester. We hope this becomes a yearly endeavor that encourages our campus to read the Bible daily,” Associate Dean of Spiritual Life Chance Vanover said. “One of the difficulties of trying to start a new habit of reading our Bible is knowing when and where to begin. That is why we are excited to partner with YouVersion, which has made this project so accessible for anyone interested in joining the journey with us.”

YouVersion is the No. 1 Bible app in the world, used on more than 100 million devices around the globe. The free app, created by LifeChurch.tv, offers the Bible in hundreds of translations and in almost 150 languages. 

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.

-OC-

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Tue, 07 Jan 2014 10:32:00 CST dbfec219-ef09-4f65-9051-2121c5c49063
OC's South Africans reflect on Mandela's passing http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-s-south-africans-reflect-on-mandela-s-passing/ By Bobby Ross
The Christian Chronicle

Bullets came flying at Alan Martin as he stepped off a Cape Town, South Africa, bus after a Wednesday night Bible study.

Martin, now dean of the College of Biblical Studies at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, grew up in a segregated church and faced violence and oppression during the apartheid era.

Apartheid - an Afrikaans word meaning “the state of being apart” - was a government policy of segregation and racial and economic discrimination against non-whites.

“When I became a teenager, I became aware of apartheid. I just saw the discrimination, and I saw the unfairness,” Martin said as he reflected on anti-apartheid champion Nelson Mandela, whose Dec. 5 death at age 95 drew tears and condolences worldwide.

Like admirers around the globe, the roughly 30,000 members of Churches of Christ in South Africa celebrated the legacy of Mandela, who served as the nation’s first black president from 1994 to 1999.

In today’s South Africa, Christians of all races — including blacks, whites and “coloreds,” as those of mixed races are known — can worship together freely. That’s just one legacy of the life of Mandela, who had Methodist roots and wrote in a 1975 letter, “Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps trying.”

Click here to read the full story from The Christian Chronicle, which also includes reflections from Nduduzo Collen Ngaleka, another native of South Africa who is currently a student in OC’s Graduate School of Theology.

Click here to read a feature about Dr. Martin and his background helping African refugees.

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Wed, 18 Dec 2013 15:04:00 CST f8773fd5-6ffc-4efc-b059-01bea5d474a1
OC awards degrees at Winter Commencement http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oklahoma-christian-awards-degrees-at-winter-commencement/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will present 87 undergraduate degrees and 85 graduate degrees at its winter commencement ceremonies on Dec. 13-14.

The undergraduate degree candidates come from 16 states and seven countries, and majored in a combined 36 academic disciplines at Oklahoma Christian. The master’s degree candidates come from six states and 10 countries, and represent 14 graduate areas of study.

Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on Friday. Byron Newberry, chair of OC’s Graduate School of Engineering, will keynote Saturday’s graduate ceremony.

In addition to his director’s role with the Honors Program, Baird is a professor of Bible and philosophy at Oklahoma Christian. He also has served as the preaching minister at Wilshire Church of Christ since 2000. His father, James O. Baird, was Oklahoma Christian’s second president.

Jim Baird graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in Bible and English, received his theology degree from the Harding Graduate School of Religion in 1982, and earned his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University in 1992.

He has taught in OC’s College of Biblical Studies since 1992. He won the 2001 Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching, which recognizes teaching excellence, innovation and effectiveness in working with OC students in and out of the classroom.

His Honors Program course with Professor of Physics Len Feuerhelm, “The Bible, Science and Human Values,” won a $10,000 prize from the John Templeton Foundation.

Newberry serves as a professor of mechanical engineering at Oklahoma Christian. He also uses his expertise to teach high school students taking engineering courses in OC’s Honors Summer Academy.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma Christian in 1991 before going to the University of Michigan, where he earned his master of science in engineering degree and doctorate.

He teaches Bible classes and helps with the missions and media ministries at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

“It’s a great thrill to have two of our finest professors sharing their wisdom and experience with these outstanding graduates,” OC president John deSteiguer said.

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price. More information is available at www.oc.edu/value.

-OC-

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Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:32:00 CST 134c7527-36da-4e15-a8eb-e6d5d21d4325
OC mourns passing of Charles Branch http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-mourns-passing-of-charles-branch/ Dr. Charles Branch, Sr., one of the most cherished members of the Oklahoma Christian University family, passed away Friday, Dec. 6 at age 87.

He and his wife Sylvia recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. She and other members of the Branch family were with Charles when God called him home.

The memorial service will be held at MacArthur Park Church of Christ in San Antonio at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Memorials may be sent to Oklahoma Christian University, in care of The Charles and Sylvia Branch Family Scholarship Fund (email: kent.allen@oc.edu), or to IHCF African Christian Hospitals, in care of The Charles and Sylvia Branch Emergency Center at Nigerian Christian Hospital (email: tom.ihcf@sbcglobal.net).

“Charles was a wonderful man who exemplified Christ in his life,” the family said in a statement. “He was a man of faith dedicated to his God, beloved wife Sylvia of over 60 years, his family, and the many others he helped and served throughout his life. Our family is thankful to all of you and who have been praying for Dad during his illness and encouraging Mom in her steadfast dedication to his care.”

Dr. Branch was the patriarch of a family that is in its fifth decade of leadership and involvement with Oklahoma Christian.

Branch family at 2010 Alumni BanquetThe Branch children – Charlie (77), Warren (77), Dan (80), Alfred (84), and Cynthia Branch Adams (86) – all attended OC and have gone on to remarkable careers of their own while actively supporting their alma mater. Alfred was a longtime executive vice president at Oklahoma Christian and served as OC’s fifth president.

Four of Charles and Sylvia’s grandchildren – Daniel Branch (05), Henson Adams (11), Meagan Branch Lytton (11), and Lee Branch (an OC senior) – have called Oklahoma Christian home.

There are many more potential OC students in this and future generations of the Branch family. The Branches received the university’s inaugural “Legacy Award” in 2010.

“Dr. Charles Branch is an Oklahoma Christian hero,” President John deSteiguer said. “A longtime trustee and generous supporter, Dr. Branch made OC his university. He was always encouraging us and always championing us. Charles and Sylvia are inspiring examples of faithful, committed Christians. The entire OC community mourns with Sylvia and the family over Charles’ passing. I will miss this great man whom I loved and admired.”

Dr. Branch served on the university’s Board of Trustees for 20 years before becoming a Life Trustee. He was an active member of MacArthur Park Church of Christ, where he served as a Sunday school teacher, deacon, medical missionary and elder for more than 43 years.

Born Aug. 9, 1926, in Bells, Tenn., he later moved with his family to Jackson, Tenn. He honorably served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II.

After the war, he attended David Lipscomb College in Nashville, known today as Lipscomb University, and graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1949 and Vanderbilt University Medical School in 1953. He completed a neurosurgical residency at the University of Chicago and while there received a fellowship to McGill University.

Dr. Branch became a prominent and distinguished neurosurgeon, whose expertise in the field was demonstrated in his practice, his teaching, and his numerous published works on a host of neurological and neurosurgical topics.

He was a clinical professor at McGill University Medical School and at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and a distinguished guest lecturer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

He also was a vocational minister in Montreal, Canada, for 15 years and annually served as a medical missionary to African Christian Hospital for many years.

He received the 2004 AANS Humanitarian Award for his medical mission work in Nigeria, Haiti and Guyana. In 2010, the renowned Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas in Dallas honored him by creating the Charles L. Branch Award to recognize the nation’s leading neuroscientists.

“My grandfather lived a wonderful life that was full of great accomplishments by earthly standards. He changed the lives of so many people through his skilled hands as a neurosurgeon and left his mark in the medical field,” said Henson Adams, a former OC Student Government Association president who earned one of OC’s Distinguished Young Alumni awards in 2012. “However, his greatest gifts to this world were the countless people he influenced spiritually and the vast many people he lent a helping hand to when they were in need. He was a humble servant of the Lord and a steward of the gifts that God has given to him.”

Charlie and Lesa Williams Branch gave a $1.5 million gift to Oklahoma Christian in 2004 for the Williams-Branch Center for Biblical Studies, named for Charles and Sylvia and for Lesa’s parents, Charles and Joyce Williams.

“Oklahoma Christian University is a special place. The university stands for the real value of Christian principles and the value of Christian family,” Charlie said at the building’s dedication. “So many entities in today’s society are tearing down the family, and we hope that, in some way, holding up our parents will remind all of us how valuable and important the family is. This institution, and what it stands for and what it’s doing, is very special to our parents. It’s almost natural that we could honor them and bless other people at the same time.”

Click here to read a Vision magazine feature on the Branch family from 2010, when they were honored with OC’s inaugural Legacy Award.

Click here to read Lynn McMillon’s interview with Dr. Branch from a 2010 edition of The Christian Chronicle.

-OC-

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Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:00:00 CST 24503131-8518-4080-8d07-02b22df48bf7
OC names Baird and Driskill to Registrar leadership roles http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-names-baird-and-driskill-to-registrar-leadership-roles/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Stephanie Baird will become Oklahoma Christian University’s new Registrar and Karen Driskill will become OC’s Associate Registrar on Jan. 1.

Baird will fill the post vacated by Mickey Banister, who is retiring after a distinguished career in education, including the last 19 years at Oklahoma Christian.

Baird is completing a dissertation in higher education at Oklahoma State University on the topic of retention and graduation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts/communication from Flagler College and a master’s degree in higher education/student affairs from Iowa State University.

She served as Oklahoma Christian’s graduate programs development manager before becoming the graduate engineering program director in 2011, leading all business aspects of OC’s Graduate School of Engineering. She previously held leadership roles at Pepperdine University and Oklahoma City Community College and taught at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“We are so pleased that Stephanie has agreed to serve as our Registrar and help lead us into a new era of fully integrated and student-oriented enrollment services,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott LaMascus said. “Her advanced studies and her experience with graduate programs will be among her strengths as she works with OC students, faculty and programs.”

Driskill has worked in the Registrar’s Office since 1997, most recently as the registration coordinator for administrative services. She earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA degree in leadership and organizational management from Oklahoma Christian.

“Karen’s experience in our registration, enrollment and advisement systems is invaluable,” LaMascus said. “She also has provided leadership in the area of advisement and advisor training, empowering faculty to play a powerful role in mentoring students and helping them with their degree plans.”

LaMascus said Oklahoma Christian will form a task force in 2014 to begin shaping the university’s new “One Stop” enrollment services plan.

“Both of these leaders will be invaluable in that process,” LaMascus said.

-OC-

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Thu, 21 Nov 2013 10:25:00 CST 52dbb9ed-5e68-407b-b9ad-96fc2feebe82
Former OC president, alumnus lead Philippines relief efforts http://www.oc.edu/news/r/former-oc-president-alumnus-lead-philippines-relief-efforts/

Oklahoma Christian University alumnus Salvador Cariaga is helping lead the efforts to provide relief to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda hit on Nov. 8, claiming as many as 10,000 lives.

Cariaga is the executive director of ministries for Shepherd's Hill International and Oklahoma Christian president emeritus Mike O'Neal is on the ministry's board of trustees.

In the accompanying video, Cariaga appears on The Weather Channel to discuss the devastation and relief efforts in the Philippines.

You can help by donating through Shepherd's Hill International and Christian Relief Fund.

More from The Christian Chronicle:

Most of the buildings — and goats — at Arapal Christian Camp are gone, says Salvador Cariaga, a Church of Christ missionary who oversees the camp on the island of Cebu in the Philippines.

Typhoon Yolanda, a Category 5 storm with winds approaching 200 miles per hour, ripped across the northern tip of the island on Nov. 8. The storm, one of the strongest in recorded history, may have claimed as many as 10,000 lives, CNN reports.

The storm destroyed much of Arapal camp, a church-supported demonstration farm where Christians practice sustainable agriculture and livelihood projects. Shepherd's Hill International, also known as Give A Goat, contributes to the work, as do other church-supported nonprofits, including the Christian Relief Fund. Nearly 50 people who huddled in one of the camp's concrete structures survived the storm.

"Lost all our buildings in Arapal, but glad no lives were lost — just goats, but not the dreams" Cariaga reports via Facebook. Currently in Texas raising funds for the work, the missionary is in contact with a team of volunteers surveying the damage.

In March, a team of students from Southwest Christian School in Fort Worth, Texas, worked at the camp to build a new home for Bebe, a recovering alcoholic who lives on the camp's property. (Read the story of Bebe's transformation.)

That home is now a mass of broken limbs and tarp, Cariaga says.

"We will reach out and give relief," he adds, "rebuild and restore, renew and revive."

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Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:42:00 CST 3c550741-600d-4b07-8409-98fc0f2b7bb6
Academic departments honor outstanding alumni http://www.oc.edu/news/r/academic-departments-honor-outstanding-alumni/ Oklahoma Christian University’s three academic colleges honored distinguished alumni during Homecoming weekend.

OC’s College of Arts and Sciences, led by Dean David Lowry, recognized Dr. Randel Estep (’86) – Chemistry and Physics; Jason Leger (’00) – Art and Design; Matthew Loeber (’02) – Nursing; David Jones (’94) – Communication; Dr. Travis Montgomery (’02) – Language and Literature; Leah Ries (’83) – Music; Dr. Neil Roberts (’99) – Biological Sciences; Jay Tabor (’86) – History and Political Science; and Dr. Nick Wisdom (’05) – Psychology and Family Studies.

The College of Biblical Studies, represented by Dean Alan Martin, honored Taylor Cave (’89) – Missions; Bob Herndon (’79) – Preaching/Ministry; Ryan Russell (’06) – Youth Ministry; and Ben Glover (’86) – Alumnus of the Year.

The College of Professional Studies, with Phil Lewis as dean, honored Kevin Arledge (’92) – Mathematical, Computer, and Information Sciences; Ted Norton (’84) – Business Administration; Anthony Rose (’07) – Teacher Education; Bahvahnie Smith (’00) – Mechanical Engineering; and Jim Theisen (’97) – Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dr. Estep serves as the Medical Director of Occupational Medicine at the McBride Clinic. He also is a medical consultant for the OG&E Corporation and is Oklahoma’s Delegate to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine House of Delegates.

Leger has been involved in the recording industry, news media, banking, and healthcare. He recently accepted a position with GE’s Oil and Gas division, where he is responsible for Global IT Commercial Operations.

Loeber is a charge nurse, a new hire coach, a preceptor for nursing students, and a certified ECMO technician at OU Children’s Hospital.

Jones is the Manager of Broadcast Operations and Technical Services for the Oklahoma City Thunder, overseeing gameday television broadcasts and operations.

Montgomery recently left the University of Mississippi, where he received the Lawrence “Shaky” Yates Award for Teaching Freshman Composition, for a tenure track position at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Ries teaches music in the public school system in Mankato, Minn., and serves as Artistic Director of the Mankato Children’s Chorus and director of the junior high and high school choirs.

Roberts has a private practice with the OSSO Healthcare Network as part of The Physicians Group in Oklahoma City and is Director of Endoscopy at Community Hospital in south Oklahoma City.

Tabor is a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, one of the world’s largest international law firms. He has represented General Electric in many transactions, including its $20 billion joint venture with Comcast for the ownership of NBC Universal and in GE’s recent $3.3 billion acquisition of Lufkin Industries.

Dr. Wisdom is a licensed Staff Neuropsychologist in the Mental Health Care Line at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He also is an Assistant Professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine and serves as President-Elect of the Houston Neuropsychological Society.

Cave is the Outreach Minister at Del City Church of Christ, where he preaches on Sunday nights. Herndon is a minister at South Brooke Church of Christ in Tulsa and is involved as a docent with the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Russell works with Northwest Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. Glover is the senior minister with Oakcrest Church of Christ in south Oklahoma City.

Arledge is a Solutions Consultant with the Boston-based software company Kronos, Inc. Norton has worked in various roles for MidFirst Bank, including his current job managing the bank’s Commercial Sales and Marketing group.

Rose is an Assistant Principal at Cheyenne Middle School in Edmond, and also serves as the Youth Minister at Wilshire Church of Christ.

Smith is a Senior Engineering Manager at OG&E, overseeing three groups: Maintenance Engineering, Project Engineering, and Inspection.

Theisen is the lead engineer over the F-16 Power and Controls team for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, where he was recently promoted to the title of Electrical Engineer Staff, Senior.

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price. More information is available at www.oc.edu/value.

-OC-

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Mon, 11 Nov 2013 09:00:00 CST d9f57852-27af-46be-bcad-bcd139785d52
OC hosts 'An Evening with C.S. Lewis' Oct. 24 http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-hosts-an-evening-with-c-s-lewis-oct-24/ Oklahoma Christian University invites the community to spend an evening with C.S. Lewis on Oct. 24.

Professional actor David Payne will present his acclaimed one-man show based on the life of the famous apologist, poet and author. The one-night performance begins at 8 p.m. in Judd Theatre.

OC’s theater program hosted Payne four years ago, and again in 2010 for the world premiere of his show, “A Christmas with C.S. Lewis.”

Originally from Britain, Payne specializes in works that present the life and writings of Lewis. Set in 1963, the play portrays Lewis as he gives an informal talk to a group of Americans visiting England. With poignancy and humor, he recounts the people and events that shaped his life.

“As someone who has performed across the globe, David Payne embodies the commitment to excellence that professional theater demands,” said Barrett Huddleston, assistant professor of communication at Oklahoma Christian. “His shows demonstrate how people of faith can make an impact in the world through art.”

OC’s students will also benefit from Payne’s visit to campus. He will lead a performance workshop Thursday afternoon.

“Having Payne lead a workshop is very beneficial to our students,” Huddleston said. “They are strongly interested in seeing how his faith guides his performances.”  

Communication professor Phil Reagan, Huddleston’s colleague in the theater program, agreed.

“Lewis was such an influential thinker, and his works have had a profound impact on the academic world,” said Reagan. 

Admission is $10, and tickets can be ordered online at http://bit.ly.oclewis or by calling the box office at (405) 425-6310. All events are suitable for ages 10 and up.

One method students on campus are using to build awareness for Payne’s performance is through a public reading of the entire “Chronicles of Narnia.” Led by OC’s theater honor society, Alpha Psi Omega, the students began Monday at noon and expect to finish by Tuesday evening. The event takes place in room 234 in the Mabee Learning Center.

-OC-

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Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:15:00 CDT fd81e30e-c2b3-416b-a3d9-a8e448381aec
'Walk With Honduras' hits Eagle Trail http://www.oc.edu/news/r/walk-with-honduras-hits-eagle-trail/ The seventh-annual Walk With Honduras will be held this Sunday on the Eagle Trail at Oklahoma Christian University.

New features of the walk, benefitting the Predisan medical mission in Catacamas, Honduras, include a 6 p.m. start time, commemorative flip flops and “prayer stations” that share the stories of patients.

The event also features a name change, switching “Walk For Honduras” to “Walk With Honduras.”

“It’s a subtle change of a preposition, but the meaning reflects that we are not just giving money to a great cause, but we are partnering with a ministry to make a difference in the lives of Hondurans who don’t enjoy the same advantages as we do,” event coordinator Mike Osburn said.

The one-mile walk will feature six stations (known as “puestos” in Honduras), where participants will stop to read stories that represent the lives of those who will benefit from the fundraiser.

One story features “Silvia,” a 13-year-old Honduran girl who walks a three-mile round trip to fetch water from a creek that is polluted.

Many OC students, members from several local churches and other friends of Predisan will participate in the walk to raise money for the non-profit organization.

“It is beautiful to see the commitment and compassion so many folks have for Predisan,” Osburn said. “It is a medical ministry in a mountain community another continent away, but we are still neighbors. And in Oklahoma, our world gets bigger when we can walk a mile in their shoes.”

The walk is getting some publicity help this year from a new event planning class at Oklahoma Christian.

“What better way to learn about event planning than to get in there and help with one, especially an event that helps others,” instructor Dawn Shelton said. “The students have jumped right in with super ideas for promotion. They are blitzing social media – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Vine - and are telling their friends and professors to join us. We will also be in on the not-so-glamorous work of meetings that includes seeing to details, some heavy-lifting of décor and equipment and clean up.” 

Registration for the Walk With Honduras is online at predisan.org.

-OC-

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Mon, 21 Oct 2013 10:06:00 CDT a418ca5d-3d98-488c-afa4-9efd50bf5208
OC hosts World Mission Workshop http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-hosts-world-mission-workshop/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University will host the 53rd World Mission Workshop on Oct. 24-26.

The workshop annually gathers students of missions, missionaries, and professors of missions with a passion for sharing the Gospel.

This is the seventh time Oklahoma Christian has hosted the event. Bob Carpenter, professor of ministry and missions, Kent Hartman, missionary-in-residence at Oklahoma Christian, and Ben Langford, director of OC’s Center for Global Missions, are organizing the workshop. This year’s theme is “Renewal.”

In addition to keynote sessions and classes on missions and ministry, one of the workshop’s highlights will be an excursion to the Oklahoma City-based headquarters of Feed the Children, an international non-profit organization.

Students will participate in a service project after walking through Feed the Children’s interactive “Story of Hope” exhibit, which simulates the conditions of a slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

“You walk through this and experience the sights the sounds the smells of what it’s like to live in those kind of conditions,” Langford said. “After that experience, students will have the chance to go and serve and pack boxes and feed children around the world.”

The featured speakers for the World Mission Workshop include Fielden Allison, Eric Brandell, Josh Hensal, Kerry Holton, Charles Rix and Chris Rosser.

Allison has been a missionary in Africa for more than 40 years while Brandell has served in Vanuatu since 2005.

Hensal, an Oklahoma Christian graduate, spent six years as a missionary in Vienna, Austria, the hub of OC’s European Studies program. Holton, another OC alumnus, plants communities of faith in Chicago.

Rix is an associate professor of Bible at Oklahoma Christian with a diverse background in ministry, philosophy, academia and international business.

Rosser, who owns undergraduate and graduate degrees from Oklahoma Christian, is OC’s theological librarian. He was a missionary in Japan from 2000 to 2006.

For more information, go to www.oc.edu/wmw.

-OC-

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Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:23:00 CDT ef888cb5-6f54-4f8b-88fb-18525d3ea465
Alum wins national award from Religion Newswriters Association http://www.oc.edu/news/r/alum-wins-national-award-from-religion-newswriters-association/ By Erik Tryggestad
Courtesy of The Christian Chronicle

Bobby Ross, a 1990 OC graduate, won first place in the magazine reporting category in the Religion Newswriters Association's 2013 national awards contest.

Winners were announced Sept. 28 at the association's annual conference in Austin, Texas. 

Ross is the managing editor of The Christian Chronicle. He joined the Chronicle's staff in 2005.

His portfolio for the contest included:

Illegal immigration pits law vs. mercy: One minister's passion for aliens.

A rocky road for Mexico missions: Amid violence south of the U.S. border, many churches rethink travel plans. But safety concerns fail to deter some.

Black, white and Gray: Civil rights attorney who once challenged Lipscomb University in court receives the Christian university’s highest honor.

Ross also was a finalist — alongside journalists for publications including The Washington Post — for the association's Supple Religion Feature Writer of the Year Award.

"I am so blessed by the opportunity to combine my love for journalism with the ministry of the Chronicle to inform, inspire and unite Churches of Christ," Ross said.

Earlier this year, the Chronicle was named top national/international newspaper in the Associated Church Press "Best of the Christian Press" contest.

Since 2007, the Chronicle has received 47 national awards from the Associated Church Press and 39 awards from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists.

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Wed, 02 Oct 2013 14:30:00 CDT 2a748f19-fc0f-4d7c-8a7e-e44e2843560f
OC’s McBride Lecture welcomes Bellwether winner http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-s-mcbride-lecture-welcomes-bellwether-winner/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Award-winning novelist Naomi Benaron will deliver the ninth-annual McBride Lecture for Faith and Literature on Oct. 18 at Oklahoma Christian University (OC).

The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in OC’s Hardeman Auditorium. A panel discussion and free book-signing reception will follow. Lecture seating is free, but should be reserved at www.oc.edu/mcbridecenter.

Benaron received the Bellwether Prize for social justice in fiction in 2010. Her bestselling novel, Running the Rift, tells the coming-of-age story of a young athlete named Jean Patrick during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

“Naomi Benaron’s story takes readers along on a boy’s journey from innocence to experience during a time of unspeakable violence, so readers who take this journey with Jean Patrick grow, too, as many of us did the first time we read The Diary of Anne Frank,” said Scott LaMascus, OC’s vice president for academic affairs. “This journey makes me determined to be part of a better way.”

During her visit, Benaron will join in discussions with OC’s Rwandan Presidential Scholars, promote critical thinking about social justice themes, and conduct a workshop for fiction and nonfiction writers.

“Attendees of the McBride Lecture will certainly experience and possibly come to share Benaron’s deep respect and appreciation for Rwanda’s culture and people,” Associate Professor of English Gail Nash said. 

Beyond the McBride Lecture, Oklahoma Christian provided Running the Rift free as an e-book to each incoming first-year student and will use it throughout the academic year as OC’s “freshman book.” Campus book groups will discuss the novel, and professors will use it in various courses, including the Symposium class in OC’s Honors Program.

Hannah Bingham, a senior English major from Edmond, was selected as the McBride Center’s undergraduate fellow to coordinate book discussion groups, panel discussions and other events throughout the year.

"By giving Running the Rift to all new freshmen, OC offers students a unique opening to their time here, because the novel provides a look into another culture and gives students insight into some of their peers they might not have understood before,” Bingham said.

Top students from Rwanda are selected each year to study at Oklahoma Christian in the prestigious Presidential Scholars Program. This program was established in partnership with the Rwandan government to provide educational opportunities in science and technology for qualified citizens of Rwanda to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees at Oklahoma Christian.

The McBride Center is named for Bailey and Joyce McBride, who have been academic leaders in OC’s campus community and Oklahoma’s higher education community since the 1950s. Bailey McBride is a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

Endowment and operational funding for the McBride Center is made available by the National Endowment for the Humanities through its matching grants. Additional support for the center’s endowment and programs comes from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, the Oklahoma Humanities Council, the Inasmuch Foundation, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Past guests for the McBride Lecture include: bestselling novelist Kathleen Norris (2005); U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (2006); Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson (2007); best-selling religions author Dr. Charles Kimball (2008); environmentalist and bestselling author Bill McKibben (2009); past national chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and poet Dana Gioia (2010); bestselling novelist Alice McDermott (2011); and Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang (2012).

For more information about the McBride Lecture, call (405) 425-5330 or go to www.oc.edu/mcbridecenter.

-OC-

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Tue, 01 Oct 2013 15:54:00 CDT 00216082-27ac-45da-8d8e-4e4583344921
Oklahoma Christian shatters enrollment record http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oklahoma-christian-shatters-enrollment-record/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University set a new school record this fall, with 2,424 students making OC their college home.

That represents a jump of almost 7 percent over the previous high, set last year with 2,271 students enrolled. The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest enrollments ever.

OC’s graduate enrollment is up 26 percent over last year. The 455 graduate students enrolled also sets a new school record. All four master’s programs – business administration, engineering, ministry, and divinity – have record enrollment this fall. Oklahoma Christian will add a master of accountancy degree program in January.

Undergraduate enrollment stands at 1,969 students, an increase of 3 percent over last year. OC’s 676 new undergraduates compose the second-largest class of new students in school history.

“Our professors are first-rate. They’re dedicated to helping students grow inside and outside the classroom. Their teaching is leading to successful outcomes that make an OC education more and more valuable. Students see what’s happening here and they want that,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “I applaud the work of our Student Life and Admissions offices. They connected with students and supported them in ways that improved retention and boosted new student enrollment. We’re also seeing the benefits of our commitment to affordability for students and families.”

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price.

Oklahoma Christian is ranked as one of the best universities in the western region of the United States by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review. The university offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study and an undergraduate Honors Program in addition to its graduate programs in accountancy, business, engineering, ministry, and divinity.

-OC-

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Thu, 12 Sep 2013 11:41:00 CDT 0ad57bd4-e9fa-48cb-a346-d22dbdf24e17
U.S. News & World Report ranks OC among west's best http://www.oc.edu/news/r/u-s-news-world-report-ranks-oc-among-west-s-best/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University rose in U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings of the best universities in the western United States, published Tuesday.

Oklahoma Christian is 42nd in the region and second among Oklahoma schools in the “Best Regional Universities” category.

This is the 15th straight year U.S. News & World Report has honored Oklahoma Christian. Last month, the Princeton Review again recognized Oklahoma Christian on its “Best in the West” list.

“OC’s reputation as a first-rate university is well-established, but it’s gratifying to be recognized for the great things happening here, especially as we make a high-quality Christian education affordable for talented students,” President John deSteiguer said.

Institutions that appear in the “Best Regional Universities” category provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs. These universities are ranked against peer institutions in one of four geographic regions because they generally draw students most heavily from the surrounding states.

Almost 60 percent of OC’s student body comes from Oklahoma or from neighboring Texas, with significant numbers of students also coming from Kansas, Colorado, California and the Pacific Northwest. Overall, Oklahoma Christian attracts students from all 50 states and almost 50 countries.

The last nine years have featured OC’s nine highest enrollments ever, including a record 2,424 students this fall. Oklahoma Christian has more than 30 National Merit Finalists enrolled, the most per capita of all Church of Christ universities.

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price.

The U.S. News & World Report rankings assess seven broad categories: undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rates.

Oklahoma Christian offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business, engineering, ministry, and divinity.

The Princeton Review and PC Gamer recently ranked OC’s game design program among the top 30 in the nation. OC’s chapter of the National History Honor Society has earned national top chapter honors for 17 straight years.

OC’s academic reputation is further seen in placement rates at or near 100 percent for accounting, communication design, history, interior design, language and literature, nursing, and political science graduates seeking jobs or acceptance into graduate school and law school.

OC biology graduates have a 95 percent medical and graduate school acceptance rate, and 100 percent of OC Honors Program graduates have been accepted to graduate school the past four years.

Oklahoma Christian is one of just two members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities with ABET accreditation for three engineering programs. OC boasts the second-highest state education certification exam pass rate in Oklahoma, and is on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

-OC-

 

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Tue, 10 Sep 2013 17:05:00 CDT 8a7795b5-b859-4aa8-9aa0-2be25caab689
OC among top colleges for future service members http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-among-top-colleges-for-future-service-members/ OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The College Database has recognized Oklahoma Christian University as a top college in Oklahoma for students interested in military service.

Oklahoma Christian ranks in the top five schools for future service members in the state of Oklahoma. Each college or university on the list offers at least two ROTC programs to active students, as well as in-state tuition below $20,000 per year.

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price.

OC’s undergraduate tuition is $18,800 per year, with charges for the typical student (including room and board) totaling $24,975. That price is far below the national private-school average of $38,589, and is further reduced by financial aid that makes OC’s nationally-recognized education competitive with many state-supported institutions.

“With the cost of college a concern for many families, it’s important for students to find an affordable post-secondary option with demonstrated academic excellence,” said Matt Davis, managing director of communication and partnerships for The College Database. “It’s equally important that students interested in service have the opportunity to explore military programs while working toward a degree. Oklahoma Christian is a fantastic education option for future service members.”

The College Database is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to provide free information about educational options both nationally and locally to students, parents, and other interested parties.

“Everyone talks about service members using their GI Bill to go back to school, but rarely do people discuss current students using college to join the service,” said Wes Ricketts, vice president and general manager of The College Database. “Colleges with ROTC programs give students a great opportunity, not only to explore military service, but to gain valuable leadership skills coveted by employers.”

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business, engineering, ministry, and divinity.
 
-OC-

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:37:00 CDT 210c3483-703c-4a72-a179-55f2c708cd9d
OC hosts new monastic leader for lecture http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-hosts-new-monastic-leader-for-lecture/ OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma Christian University will host distinguished spiritual writer Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove for a free lecture on Thursday, Sept. 12.

Wilson-Hartgrove has authored several books on New Monasticism and Christian spirituality, including his latest book, The Awakening of Hope, and Becoming the Answer to Our Prayer, which he co-wrote with fellow New Monastic leader Shane Claiborne.

Wilson-Hartgrove’s lecture at Oklahoma Christian will draw on themes from his book, The Wisdom of Stability. He will speak on the Christian mission to cultivate stability by rooting yourself more deliberately in the place where you live, truly engage with the people you are with, slow down and participate in simpler rhythms of life, and live in ways that speak to the deeper yearnings of the human heart.

The event, part of OC’s McGaw Lecture Series, begins at 7 p.m. in OC’s Judd Theatre. A question-and-answer session and a book signing will follow. For more information, call (405) 425-6300 or email events@oc.edu.

“I am thrilled to have Jonathan on OC’s campus. His writings and, more importantly, his life have inspired many to join God’s mission in the world, especially to those at the margins of society,” said Ben Langford, director of OC’s Center for Global Missions. “My goal is that Jonathan will be a conversation partner with OC students and churches in the community as we continue to seek God’s will and discover what it means to be His people in the world. He will challenge us and point us in a direction that will allow us to live more fully in the story God is telling in the world.”

Wilson-Hartgrove literally wrote the book on New Monasticism, the 2008 release, New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today’s Church. In 2003, he and his wife Leah founded the Rutba House, a house of hospitality where the formerly homeless are welcomed into a community that eats, prays and shares life together.

He also directs the School for Conversion, which pursues community with children through classes in prisons and in community-based education around the country. He also is an associate minister at the historically black St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, N.C.

During his Oklahoma visit, Wilson-Hartgrove also will be the guest speaker for OC’s third-annual GO Retreat, sponsored by the university’s Center for Global Missions and Outreach student missions group. The retreat is for OC students who have participated in previous mission projects or who are interested in future mission work.

-OC-

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:00:00 CDT f978d1b7-3a2b-425f-a416-b65a4d916519
Dvorak, Paris named associate deans http://www.oc.edu/news/r/dvorak-paris-named-associate-deans/ OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – In preparation for the 64th year in Oklahoma Christian University (OC) history, the school announced two appointments to strengthen its academic leadership team.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott LaMascus said that Jim Dvorak will serve Oklahoma Christian as associate dean for teaching and learning while Lee Anne Paris will serve as associate dean for academics.

“I’m excited to have these two talented individuals working to help ensure OC remains ‘best in class’ for excellence in teaching,” LaMascus said. “They have proven to be exceptional leaders in the latest technology and teaching strategies, with a strong emphasis on students’ learning. With their experience, they can help us understand what works and help our high-quality outcomes for alumni grow even stronger in the future.”

In 10 years at Oklahoma Christian, Dvorak has taught in OC’s College of Biblical Studies and Graduate School of Theology in addition to his role as director of the North Institute for Teaching and Learning.
 
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1995, a master of divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2001, and a master’s degree in education and human development from George Washington University in 2004.
 
In 2012, he earned a Ph.D. in Christian theology from McMaster Divinity College, where he studied under renowned scholar Stanley E. Porter.
 
“Dr. Dvorak is a scholar in biblical studies and has proven himself to be an innovative teacher whose work contributes to the well-being of the church,” LaMascus said. “He not only understands current technologies, but sees what is on the cutting edge and helps OC adopt the best practices that enhance our bedrock values of faith, learning and leadership.”
 
Paris came to Oklahoma Christian in 1998. She has served as president of OC’s Faculty Association in addition to her role as associate professor of library science. Her responsibilities include reference, bibliographic instruction, collection development, and maintenance of the library’s website.
 
As the daughter of missionaries, Paris spent most of her childhood in Campinas, Brazil. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Portuguese from Vanderbilt University, her master of library and information science degree from the University of Oklahoma, and her doctorate in information and library science from the University of North Carolina.

“Dr. Paris has been a leader in OC’s library and instruction for many years,” LaMascus said. “Through her leadership in the Faculty Association, she has shown a vision for how to help us understand our academic policies and practices, our assessment of programs, and the evolving world of national accreditation.”

Oklahoma Christian is ranked as one of the best universities in the western region by U.S. News and World Report. Last week, The Princeton Review again listed Oklahoma Christian among the best colleges in the west, a distinction that places the university among the top 25 percent of all four-year schools nationwide.

OC opens the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 26.

-OC-

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Thu, 15 Aug 2013 00:44:00 CDT bedcfe77-b96a-489f-ab76-9d99bb0354f4
OC named one of region's top colleges http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-named-one-of-region-s-top-colleges/ Oklahoma Christian University (OC) is one of just six schools in Oklahoma to be named one of the best colleges in the western United States by The Princeton Review.

The 124 best western colleges are located in 15 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The listing places Oklahoma Christian among the top 25 percent of all four-year colleges nationwide.

“We’re honored to earn this distinction from The Princeton Review again this year,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “Our students, faculty and staff make Oklahoma Christian one of the best colleges in the country. Rankings and recommendations like this show that OC is a great place to call home.”

Other Oklahoma universities on the list were the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oral Roberts University, and the University of Tulsa.

“We’re pleased to recommend these colleges to users of our site as the best schools to earn their undergrad degrees,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher. “We chose these as our ‘regional best’ colleges mainly for their excellent academic programs.”

The schools in The Princeton Review’s “2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region” website section are determined through institutional data, campus visits, college counselor recommendations, and independent student surveys.

In their responses, students praised Oklahoma Christian for being a college home with a strong focus on God, a family atmosphere, accessible professors, and an attractive location in metropolitan Oklahoma City and adjacent to suburban Edmond.

The Princeton Review’s full list is available at www.princetonreview.com/best-regional-colleges.aspx.

Earlier this year, The Princeton Review honored OC as one of the top 30 undergraduate schools in the U.S. and Canada to study video game design. Oklahoma Christian was the state’s only university and one of just two undergraduate schools in the southwestern United States to be honored.

Oklahoma Christian also is recognized as a “Best University – Master’s” in U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”

Oklahoma Christian University offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, ministry, and divinity.

The last eight years have featured OC’s eight highest total enrollments ever, including a record 2,271 students in 2012-13.

Oklahoma Christian is the only university in Oklahoma and the only school in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities to hold the cost of attendance, which includes tuition and room and board, steady for two straight years.

-OC-

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Tue, 06 Aug 2013 16:48:00 CDT 51b5faa8-1bae-4d45-99de-9ac61600e5a4
OC hosts ELE Rwanda Entrepreneurship Summit http://www.oc.edu/news/r/oc-hosts-ele-rwanda-entrepreneurship-summit/ OKLAHOMA CITY – Rwandan ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana and Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb are among the dignitaries appearing at an innovation and entrepreneurship conference at Oklahoma Christian University Aug. 2-3.

The second-annual Entrepreneurship Summit, organized by the Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs of Rwanda (ELE Rwanda), provides an opportunity for more than 200 college students, entrepreneurs, investors and leaders from the U.S. and abroad to connect and network.

Scheduled speakers include Michael Fairbanks, chief executive officer of Seven Fund, Dale Dawson, founder and CEO of Bridge2Rwanda, and TEDx speakers such as David Burkus, Nathan Mellor and Ken Parker. Parker, a 1983 OC graduate and member of OC’s Board of Trustees, is the CEO of NextThought, a collaborative educational technology company.

The conference will feature panel discussions, a symposium on innovation, interactive workshops by creativity experts, presentations by contestants in the ELE Rwanda Business Plan Competition, and exhibits showcasing innovative initiatives.

There also will be a cultural show with traditional dancing and performances by renowned Rwandan artists.

“The Summit is a converging point for young students and the Oklahoma community to engage in topics of creativity and innovation and how it can spur development,” said Timothy Kaboya, chief operating officer of ELE Rwanda.

Rwandan students at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) began ELE Rwanda in 2011 to improve youth innovation and entrepreneurship.

ELE Rwanda’s vision connects to the goal of the partnership between Rwanda and Oklahoma, which started in 2006 when Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Oklahoma Christian worked together to create OC’s Rwandan Presidential Scholars program.

Since that time, more than 100 of Rwanda’s brightest students have come to Oklahoma to pursue their undergraduate and graduate degrees at Oklahoma Christian.

“The participation of the Oklahoma community in the ELE Rwanda Summit will make a significant difference in the future of Rwanda,” said OC president emeritus Mike O’Neal.

ELE Rwanda has received numerous honors, including the 2012 Oklahoma Innovation Prize from Creative Oklahoma and Sandridge Energy and the Journal Record’s 2012 Creativity Award.

“Creative Oklahoma is so pleased to partner with ELE Rwanda on a wide spectrum of projects that encourage and advance creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in both Oklahoma and Rwanda,” said Susan McCalmont, president of Creative Oklahoma. “The ELE Rwanda Entrepreneurship Summit is an important initiative bringing some of the most entrepreneurial minds together from both regions to learn how to generate ideas of value that can be translated into economic generators for the regions.”

Registration is open at http://www.elerwanda.com/about-10-register. Student discounts and corporate table sponsorships are available.

For more information, go to elerwanda.com.

-OC-

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Fri, 02 Aug 2013 08:15:00 CDT 53312b7e-f76a-42aa-a25c-ee310ee6aae4