The Daily Oklahoman
Sunday, February 23, 1986
Oklahoma Christian College has been one of Oklahoma City’s brightest success stories over the past quarter of a century. The four-year liberal arts college has an impressive history, an exciting present and a promising future.
Central Christian College, as it was previously known, moved to its present location on Memorial Road from Bartlesville in 1958, with a student body of 209. Four brand-new buildings on 200 acres of pasture land comprised the campus. The new college had no endowment and a net worth of under $1 million.
Today, almost 1,600 students study on a campus with 25 buildings and a net worth in excess of $50 million. The college’s endowment has grown to more than $16 million remarkable progress even for a city noted for its remarkable growth stories.
As Oklahoma Christian concludes its 28th year in Oklahoma City, growth is still an important story at the college. Examples: OCC now offers more than 70 degrees in areas such as business, education, the arts, Bible and several pre-professional programs.
In 1985, the college announced a 10-year plan for growth and a $50 million funding campaign titled “With Wings as Eagles.” It is the largest development campaign in the college’s history.
The Mabee Learning Center has been expanded and remodeled with funds from the 1985 Oklahoma City corporate campaign. An important new feature of the Learning Center is the new James Paul and Ann Linn Library.
The college began a new degree program in mechanical and electrical engineering in the fall of 1985 and enrolled 50 freshmen in the program.
The college reversed the national trend of declining enrollments with a 3 percent increase in students last fall.
The college’s endowment has doubled since 1978.
The college plans to add two intercollegiate sports to its athletic program next year. Men will be competing in intercollegiate soccer next fall, while the women will compete in track and field.
OCC’s long-recognized programs in citizenship education have been bolstered with its American Citizenship Center, merging its programs with the National Education Program from Searcy, Ark.
Together, these programs represent one of the nation’s most significant efforts to educate young people as to the values associated with a free enterprise system and a free society.
Enterprise Square, USA is a unique program unparalleled on any other campus in America.
OCC’s growth has been nurtured and sustained by its church constituency and by a number of friends in the Oklahoma City business community.
Edward L. Gaylord, who served as chairman of the OCC board of governors for 20 years, and Edward C. Joullian III, current chairman, are representative of the civic leaders who have been highly instrumental in supporting the college.
But the Oklahoma Christian College story only begins with statistics, programs and facilities.
A fundamental reason for success is its people students and faculty who excel in academic and spiritual growth encouraged by this special institution of higher learning. Illustrative of such individuals are these personal vignettes: Mark Melton’s three first-place awards at the National Science Fair meant that he could have attended any prestigious engineering college in the nation.
He chose to be a part of Oklahoma Christian’s inaugural class in engineering in order to conduct his studies in this unique environment.
Brendell Baker carried a perfect, four-point grade average throughout college.
When she took her certified public accountant examination, she did what fewer than 3 percent of all potential CPAs do she passed the entire exam on the first try. OCC students have, for the past several years, passed at twice the rate of the state average on the CPA exams.
Scott Horton is the typical age for a college student 21 years old but his wife and two young daughters give him an unusually heavy college load.
Although Horton works at night as a security guard, he has still found the time to build an advertising art portfolio that was judged the best in the state by the Graphics Communications Society.
OCC graduates in advertising design have a perfect record for getting jobs upon graduation every one who has finished the program has been placed in the highly competitive Oklahoma City market and elsewhere.
Connie Dart and Cindy Keely were writing an essay on the federal deficit for a journalism class last fall, never imagining that it would end up on President Reagan’s desk.
But that’s exactly what happened as each won her respective home state (Dart’s was Colorado and Keely’s was Missouri) essay contest sponsored by the U.S. League of Savings.
The essays, a final project for a feature-writing class, were titled, “How the Federal Deficit Affects Me.” OCC was the only college in the nation with two state winners.
Heather Weber and Heidi Jones are two other talented Oklahoma Christian coeds.
Each has won state and regional awards at competitions sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Both also have been finalists in auditions held by the Metropolitan Opera of New York City.
Virtually every campus program has a success story. Some of the highlights are: The OCC men’s basketball team has averaged 28 wins a season for the past seven years.
KOCC, the campus radio station, has consistently placed high in ratings of the Oklahoma City market among non-commercial stations.
The Talon, the OCC campus newspaper, received an All-American rating from the Associated Collegiate Press last year.
OCC debate teams have been ranked in the top 10 in the nation for the past two seasons. This ranking is even among major universities many times OCC’s size.
OCC’s Phi Beta Lambda (Future Business Leaders) chapter was named the best Oklahoma chapter last year and has received numerous national awards.
OCC students applying for admission to medical school have enjoyed an outstanding record for acceptance.
OCC’s crosscountry team has represented the state in the NAIA national meet each of the past two seasons.
OCC professors have been accepted into summer post-doctoral programs at such institutions as Rice, Yale and MIT.
OCC art Professor Arni Anderson is president of the Southern Watercolor Association. Another art professor, Michael O’Keefe, is president of the Graphic Communications Society of Oklahoma. Steve Smith, a music professor, is artistic director of the Cimarron Opera Company in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma Christian College Investment Corp. was chartered in 1970 to build the long-term financial base of the institution. The corporation is a tax-paying entity with the goal of strengthening the college’s endowment through real estate ventures in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and all across the nation.
Some corporate holdings include shopping centers in Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Kansas and Florida, and two residential subdivisions in north Oklahoma City near the college. OCCIC also owns land in Norman one mile east of the proposed Hitachi plant. Guy Ross, college vice president, recently was named president of OCCIC.
The goals of a 10-year plan developed by hundreds of students, staff and faculty members and friends, and endorsed by the college’s board in 1984, are now beginning to be realized.
Renovation and expansion of the library have been partially completed; the engineering program is off to an excellent start;
graduate programs are in early planning stages; construction of a new Bible building, an engineering laboratory and a special events arena are on the drawing boards, and considerable progress is being made to increase the college’s endowment.
Oklahoma Christian College hopes to serve at least 2,000 students by the 1990s nearly a tenfold increase from those who came to Oklahoma City in 1958.
And as the college grows, its impact is felt in the city as it contributes a generous cash flow to the economy, and more importantly as it contributes to the quality of life in our state.