From the President

Dear Alumni and Friends:

As Nancy and I begin our 10th and final year in this role, we hope our alumni and friends will join us for a most exciting Homecoming 2011. 

If you have not been back on campus in recent years, you will be pleased by the many physical improvements, the substantial strengthening of our academic offerings, and more effective integration of faith throughout the university. 

In many ways, the current environment for Christian higher education is as difficult as ever. There is much criticism of higher education in the media and political circles these days, much of it focusing on affordability and effective career preparation. 

Public support for institutions and for students in need is declining substantially. Most higher education institutions have responded with substantial increases in tuition and fees. 

OC has taken the road less traveled with seven primary strategies. We have: (a) eliminated or reduced unnecessary costs; (b) moderated tuition and fee increases to remain in the lowest quartile of quality private baccalaureate institutions; (c) applied technology effectively; (d) continued to expect and receive more from faculty and staff; (e) increased and carefully allocated financial assistance among our families; (f) sought the generous support of our friends and alumni; and (g) relied upon the providence of our loving Father. 

As a result, we have maintained and increased quality while moderating the cost of attendance. 

OC’s current annual cost for tuition and fees is about $7,000 lower than the national average at private universities. This past year, OC awarded more than $14 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students … in addition to millions in government grant aid, private scholarships and loans. 

These lower prices, especially when combined with rigorous academic programs, highly qualified and accessible faculty, and a friendly, Christian campus environment, make OC an excellent value and a logical choice for students who are serious about both academics and faith.

Another message heard with increasing intensity is that universities must do a better job of preparing students for careers. We concur that what students do in college must prepare them for useful employment, but we continue to resist the temptation to focus only on job preparation. 

Our programs are as good as any, but we also intend to prepare our students for life in community and in family, to prepare them holistically for whatever culture or circumstances may send their way, and to teach them the ways of God. 

And, by the way, our graduates do get jobs! Among my greatest joys are hearing from employers that they want to hire our alumni ... and why. 

Our graduates are in high demand because they are receiving quality, up-to-date, real-world instruction, and have strong morals and ethics that are highly prized by employers. 

When the ultimate test is the outcomes, OC graduates are not only better prepared for a career, but for life as well. 

Your support is a major factor in our ability to accomplish this, and it helps make this dream possible for many young people. 

We look forward to seeing you November 4-5 for Homecoming! 

In His service, 

Mike E. O’Neal

Fall 2011

View more stories from the Fall 2011 issue of Vision magazine.