McBride Retires with Decades of Memories

Bailey McBride

The OC family surprised Dr. Bailey McBride with a “flash mob” to commemorate his last class as a professor at his alma mater.

Dr. Bailey McBride retired in May after 48 years on the OC faculty. 48 wonderful years! While it would take a book to capture all of his OC memories (Let’s hope there’s one in the future!), Bailey kindly provided a first-person account of just a few of the highlights and relationships from his tenure.

For the record, I knew that OC is home before John deSteiguer was born. 

I actually came to this institution three different times. In the fall of 1952, I came with most of the seniors in my youth group. I was a college dropout hoping for a challenge greater than that I had at the University of Tulsa. 

My second arrival was in the fall of 1956 to teach English with a community that had given me focus, direction and purpose. 

My third arrival was in the fall of 1966, when I came on a leave of absence from teaching at the University of New Mexico to answer Stafford North’s need to add more professors with Ph.D. degrees so the college could gain accreditation.

Our work at OC always has been a family effort, and it’s had lasting value for me. Bailey McBride

I stayed because of three things Joyce and I found here.

First, OC’s students have been exceptional thinkers and spiritually minded. In Bartlesville, we met James Cail, who became OC’s first psychology teacher. We also met Joe McCormack (59), who I later recruited to teach English in 1967. 

Robert McMillan (59) was a quiet student with a great mathematical mind. Cherry (Pyron 58) Tredway was a lively student who came to teach Home Economics and later converted the program to Interior Design. 

Marty Hooper (58), Ellie (Branum 57) Miller, Rita (Payne 57) McGinnis, Richard Blankenship (59) and many others became our friends and leaders in their communities.

My first year in Oklahoma City, I met Darryl Tippens (68), who was one of the most astute thinkers I ever had in class. He went on to teach and chair OC’s English Department for years; he recently retired as provost at Pepperdine University. 

One of Darryl’s friends was Linda (Baker-Butler 69) King, the best writer I ever had in class. She went on to law school and then to seminary for a doctor of theology. 

That same year, I had Jeff Bennett (70) in Freshman Composition and Randy Heath (69) in World Literature. 

Through my sponsorship of the Bereans and Alpha Chi, I met many interesting people like Lindy (Scobey 69) Adams, Ken Adams (69), Ralph DeBoard (68) and Oliver Howard (67).

In an experimental writing class, I selected five of the hardest books I could think of and asked the class to read, analyze, write and rewrite about those landmark novels. 

John Maple (72) was one of the stars in that class. Les Lauen (72) was also in that class and eventually became the director of the library. 

Delores (Hartman 71) Wehrle was an amazing thinker with great expectations for her education. She has spent her career teaching the incarcerated in Nebraska. 

Paul White (73) majored in Bible; he eventually went to law school and is now a researcher for the Oklahoma Supreme Court. 

Several people in that group became teachers or lawyers or entrepreneurs. 

Charlie Branch (77) edited the Talon and was president of Alpha Chi. We traveled together to two national conferences. 

Andy Benton (74) was twice president of OC’s student government; he became the assistant to President Terry Johnson (64) before completing law school and eventually becoming Pepperdine’s president. 

Chip Kooi (81) was a bright light in a philosophy class. It is impossible to tell about all the great people I have worked with here. 

For many years, Joyce and I have hosted a Bible study for students we knew and many of them brought friends we got to know. After we started the Honors Program, we often took students to dinner. 

We later started a “breakfast club” at Panera on Saturday morning where we often had a dozen bright students talking about their dreams and aspirations. 

We are hoping Ethos will be a way for us to stay connected, and we plan to have another breakfast club with students we had last year in the Honors Program.

The second reason we stayed is because OC views teaching as an art where instructional design and creativity are valued. 

The Mabee Learning Center marked the beginning of a process that changed the way OC faculty teach and evaluate learning. 

Although I was skeptical about the taped lectures and worksheets, I soon realized that analyzing instructional design was the operational element of great teaching. 

Stafford North designed the center and became the catalyst to making teaching and learning more effective. 

Another element of OC life is the passion for innovation. All the faculty experimented and revised courses to help students become more analytical and able to think and reason about all issues.

Robert McMillan and I had a joint program for reshaping basic classes in mathematics and humanities. His work resulted in three publications and one summer National Endowment for the Humanities workshop at Yale University. 

I developed an anthology of mid-20th literature, which Doubleday later published. Jim Baxter worked endlessly on programs to help students with chemistry. Joe McCormack developed a comprehensive course on William Faulkner.

The third element we found here at Oklahoma Christian was a strong sense of community. 

When I returned for good in 1966, I was one of 16 new faculty members, including Lynn McMillon (63), Max Dobson, Bernie Keyes, Don Dunn, and Don Pate. The comradery of the faculty gave me great expectations that OC could become outstanding. 

Others on the faculty – like Harold Fletcher, Elizabeth Ross, John Morrison, Darvin Keck, Hugo McCord, Raymond Kelcy and William Jones – became great friends. We ate together often. 

When Stafford became the executive vice president, he began the Fourth of July tradition of having all OC families to his place for grilled chicken. Each family brought something and the day was filled with games and activities. Fireworks and a group devotional ended the day.

While I was the chief academic officer, Joyce had the new faculty for dinner as part of their orientation. 

The faculty lounge was a lively place where no subject was off limits – even some questions about the sanity of the administration. 

We had prayer sessions for faculty families with health problems. I remember the session in 1986 after Raymond Kelcy died. 

The failing kidneys of dear John Thompson (78) brought the faculty together many times.

Of course, an important element of our time here is that our children grew up on this campus. They were spectators at sporting events and knew college students who were supportive and inspirational. 

All three – Melissa (McBride 82) Roe, Lynette (McBride 86) Brown, and Mike McBride (91) – graduated from Oklahoma Christian and met their mates – Phil Roe (82), Pat Brown (86), and Karen (Cloud 87) McBride – here. 

We also have three grandchildren – Jennifer (Roe 07/09) Thurman, Luke Roe (08), Kailey (Brown) King – who attended OC.

Our work here always has been a family effort, and it’s had lasting value for me. 

Since I left the University of New Mexico, we have never looked back. I would do it all again as long as OC remained focused on developing students as thinkers with eternal values … and if the heart of the education centered on experiences that make one more loving and faithful.

I am glad that remains true today. And I am glad that OC is home.

Fall 2014

View more stories from the Fall 2014 issue of Vision magazine.