Romance Remembered A First Love Story Comes Full Circle
Bud (52) and Sarah (Parker 51) McFarland have claim on many firsts in Oklahoma Christian history.
Among the first 97 students to enroll at the new Central Christian College in Bartlesville in 1950, they were first-year class officers, sang in the first school chorale, and performed in the first school musical.
Sarah reported for the first school newspaper and graduated with the first class. Bud was the first basketball team manager and was in the quartet that first sang the words, “Alma Mater, hail to thee!”
Meeting and falling in love on campus, the McFarlands also pioneered the OC romance, a journey that wasn’t necessarily easy in 1950.
“Back in those days, you couldn’t hold hands on campus,” Bud says. “Touching wasn’t allowed.”
Date nights also were restricted at that time, and often chaperoned. (And students complain about the rules today!) But Bud and Sarah found time for romance in their day-to-day routine.
“I worked part-time as a secretary,” Sarah says giggling.
“And I was on the mop crew,” Bud says.
“Everyone would always talk about how clean the floor was right outside the door,” Sarah continues.
“Right around her desk,” Bud laughs.
That’s not to say they never dared to break the rules.
“One night, I walked Sarah over to the girls’ dorm. And I gave her a goodnight kiss,” Bud says in a conspiratorial tone, his eyes still sparkling with mischief. “When I looked up, there stood Roy Lanier, chair of the Bible Department! Needless to say I got some demerits on that.”
With a glance at Sarah, Bud adds, “But it was worth it.”
These first memories at Central Christian are at the heart of the McFarlands’ life story.
“Finding Sarah and being able to have a great relationship and life together – it all began there,” Bud says.
He means that quite literally, too. In March 1952, the couple wed on campus, another first in university history.
As Bud and Sarah look back on more than 60 years together, they cherish their pioneering days at Central Christian and hope to help a new generation experience their own firsts at OC.
“We have a responsibility to help OC do for others what it did for us,” Bud says.
To do this, the McFarlands have remembered OC in their will, leaving the university a child’s share of their estate.
For a couple who has grown alongside OC since day one, it is so meaningful that Bud and Sarah are, in such a profound way, claiming this campus community as family.
“Oklahoma Christian had humble beginnings,” Sarah says. “It has come so far … and it has to continue.”
View more stories from the Fall 2011 issue of Vision magazine.