Nursing Gifts Bless Students

Two new endowments are funding scholarships for OC’s nursing students.

A $10,000 gift from Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City helped meet the $50,000 fundraising goal for the Rebecca Stafford Endowed Scholarship for Nursing, with a matching gift from an anonymous donor boosting the endowment to $100,000.

A gift of $100,000 funded the new Donna J. Eckhart Endowed Scholarship for Nursing.

Rebecca Stafford, a former OC student, lost her three-year battle with cancer last March. After enrolling at OC in 2010, she was able to complete a number of classes despite moving in and out of remission, having countless infections, and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“Rebecca wanted to spend as much time as she could as a normal student. Students and people three or four times her age saw her and were inspired,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “This endowment is a remarkable tribute to the donors, to the family, to Rebecca and to God. It shows how God can work, and we’re grateful Rebecca’s impact is going to go on long after this.”

OC’s nursing students and faculty rallied around Rebecca as she battled Ewing’s Sarcoma. After she passed away on March 10 – two months shy of her 21st birthday – her family wanted to honor her and help more students earn their nursing degrees at Oklahoma Christian.

“God calls us to make a difference. Rebecca touched many lives with her beautiful spirit and her amazing heart full of grace, courage, kindness and faith. And we hope what we’re doing will make a tremendous difference in helping others learn how to provide competent, compassionate care,” said Rebecca’s father, Barry Stafford.

The other endowment honors Donna Eckhart, who passed away December 8 after an automobile accident.

Along with her husband Frank, she was a tireless worker in international ministry at the Stillwater Church of Christ. She served on the church’s missions committee and personally took mission trips to China and New Guinea.

Two of their children, Gale (78) Mills and Scot (84), are OC alumni, and one of her grandchildren is currently attending OC.

She taught at Oklahoma Baptist University before moving on to work for the Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Services. She completed her professional career as the dean of the School of Nursing at Southern Nazarene University.

“Donna was a passionate and outspoken advocate of nurses and their irreplaceable role in our healthcare delivery system. She was a positive role model and influence for many nurses and nurse practitioners throughout Oklahoma,” said Stephen Eck (92), vice president and general counsel. “As a nurse educator, Donna thought of her nursing students as an extension of her own family. She cultivated an environment where the next generation of nurses would be as effective in their roles as Donna always strived to be.”

Oklahoma Christian began its nursing degree program in 2006 to help address Oklahoma’s nursing shortage. In 2007, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education fully accredited OC’s nursing program.

In addition to the classroom curriculum and nursing clinicals at Oklahoma City metro-area hospitals, OC’s nursing program helps prepare students with a four-hour course in health care missions and Christian service. Many students participate in OC’s HonduraServe mission, a four-day trip to Honduras.

OC nursing graduates frequently exceed the state and national averages on the National Council Licensure Examination, earning a 92 percent pass rate in 2012.

You can support the endowments by writing a check, giving stock, putting OC in your will, or funding a gift annuity that pays income for life at higher rates than CD rates.

For more information, call (405) 425-5119. Checks and pledges can be sent to:

Oklahoma Christian University
Office of Advancement
P.O. Box 11000
Oklahoma City, OK 73136-1100
(On the memo line of your check, please indicate the endowment 
you want to support) 

Spring 2013

View more stories from the Spring 2013 issue of Vision magazine.