Counting blessings: Trustee thankful for OC's impact on family Trustee treasures OC

Not all members of OC’s Board of Trustees are alumni, but Phil Roe is a graduate who has served on OC’s governing board for the last eight years. 

And if you ask him, he’ll do anything for the team, even let us feature him in Vision. 

Instead of talking about himself, he’d rather give a good word about his mentor Dr. Howard Leftwich, who is being honored as an honorary alumnus at Homecoming this year. 

Or high-five fellow alumni like Jeff Bingham (88), who worked for Phil back in the day when they both were with the accounting firm, Ernst & Young. Jeff is now OC’s chief financial officer, making his first boss proud.

Phil Roe also would rather talk about his father-in-law Bailey McBride (54), or Phil’s bride of 27 years, Melissa (82), or their children: daughter Jennifer (07) Thurman and her husband Joe (07), son Luke (09) and daughter Savannah. 

He’ll talk about health care, fine points of accounting strategies and strategic plans. He’ll share about how important and special it has been for their family to take mission trips together to Honduras. 

He’ll brag about OC and encourage you to do the same.

If you have a conversation with him on any of those topics, you get a sense of who Phil Roe is … and personal details come out along the way.

A native of Burleson, Texas, Phil graduated from OC in 1982 with an accounting degree and worked for a decade in public accounting at Ernst & Young (Ernst & Whinney at the time). 

He then moved to the health care industry. Since 1997, he has been the executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Vanguard Health Systems in Nashville, Tenn.

He met Melissa on a mission trip to Brazil in 1982. They married a year later. Now, as empty nesters, they are enjoying time together as a couple, but also miss the daily interaction and focus of raising a family. 

Phil and Melissa come to Oklahoma City several times a year for board meetings and to visit family. 

Phil was named to OC’s board in 2003. He predicts the next 10-15 years in Christian higher education will be pivotal and praises the board leadership and administration for their vision and strategic planning to prepare the future.

He also asks alumni to remember to be stakeholders. There’s no end, he says, to the compelling stories of those in business, ministry, missions, education and other careers who live out a mission of faith, scholarship and service. And we all came from OC.

“I would encourage all alumni to stop and honestly reflect on how our time at OC prepared us for our lives,” he said. “If we give an honest assessment of the investment that donors, faculty and staff made for us, we have to come away with a feeling of indebtedness. And that indebtedness calls for a response.”

Our response could be financial support, showing our pride for OC and praying for our alma mater.

“I feel indebted for the education and relationships I received and for how they continue 30 years after leaving,” Phil said. “I would like to find a way as a trustee and an alum to help students develop pride and fully appreciate the value of their OC education.”

By Dawn Shelton (89)