Oklahoma Christian University (OC) is a private comprehensive coeducational Christian liberal arts university founded in 1950 by members of the Churches of Christ. Oklahoma Christian University is located on a 240-acre (0.97 km2) campus in Oklahoma City, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Enrollment for the fall 2012 semester was a record 2,271 students, which included 1,910 undergraduate and a record 361 graduate students. OC is ranked among the best "Regional Universities" in the 16-state West region by U.S. News and World Report and is listed by the Princeton Review as one of the best "Best Western Colleges".
OC mission statement
"Oklahoma Christian University is a higher learning community that transforms lives for Christian faith, scholarship, and service."
Oklahoma Christian University was originally named Central Christian College. It opened as a two-year college in 1950 with 97 students in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on the 152-acre (615,000 m²) former estate of L.V. Foster, a prominent oil businessman. L.R. Wilson was the college's first president, having founded Florida Christian College four years before. Harold Fletcher, now an OC emeritus professor of music, was the first faculty member hired for the new college. James O. Baird became the school's second president in 1954, and soon after plans were made to move the campus to Oklahoma City. Groundbreaking occurred on 200 acres (0.81 km2) the far north edge of Oklahoma City in 1957 and the university was relocated in 1958. It was renamed Oklahoma Christian College in 1959 and began offering the bachelor's degree, with its first senior class graduating in 1962. Full accreditation was obtained from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1965. In the 1990s, the school restructured its academic departments into separate colleges and the name of the institution was changed initially to Oklahoma Christian University of Science and Arts before being truncated to "Oklahoma Christian University."
In August 2001, OC became one of the few college campus nationwide at that time to provide campus-wide wireless Internet service and a personal laptop computer to every full-time student. In 2008, Oklahoma Christian University began providing Apple’s MacBook to all full-time students and faculty. Included with each MacBook was the choice of an iPhone or an iPod touch. Beginning with the fall 2010, semester, students also had the option of choosing an iPad for an additional charge.
Oklahoma Christian University offers degree programs through three colleges:
OC grants the following undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music Education, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Education], Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. OC also offers four graduate degrees: Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Business Administration, Master of Divinity, and Master of Science in Engineering.
Undergraduate degree programs include Accounting, Art, Bible, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Education, Electrical Engineering, English, Finance, Graphic Design, History, Interior Design, Journalism, Management, Marketing, Mass Communication, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Ministry, Music, Nursing, Physical Education, Political Science, Psychology, Public Relations, and Spanish, among others. All Baccalaureate degrees require the completion of at least 126 semester hours. Not less than 30 hours must be earned in courses numbered 3000 or above, including at least 10 hours in the major field. In keeping with OC's emphasis on a liberal arts education, all bachelor degrees require completion of a core curriculum of 60 semester hour consisting of "Basic Skills" (14 hours), Bible (16 hours), "Basic Perspectives" (27 hours) and a 3 hour Senior Philosophy Seminar The university offers an Honors Program for highly motivated and skilled students. Honors Program participants must have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, a minimum score on the ACT of 28 or SAT of 1250, evidence of writing skills, and be selected by interview.
Through its Office of International Studies, OC offers semester-long study programs in Europe, based in Vienna, Austria, and the Pacific Rim.
OC employees 112 full-time faculty members; more than 70 percent of whom hold a terminal degree in their respective fields. The undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. 88 percent of classes contain less than 30 students.
Oklahoma Christian is one of only two members of the 107-school Council for Christian Colleges and Universities with accreditation of two of its engineering programs, and is the only non-research university in Oklahoma with accredited engineering programs; graduates from OC's School of Business Administration consistently achieve the highest pass rate on the CPA examination of all Oklahoma universities; OC 2010 graduates had a 100 percent acceptance rate to medical school; and history and political science graduates have a 100 percent acceptance rate to law schools. For every year since 1997, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, has named OCs chapter the top in the nation among schools with fewer than 3,000 students; OCs student literary journal, Soundings, was named the Outstanding Literary Arts Journal in the nation by the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society in 2008, and was first runner up in 2009; and OCs Marketing students won first place in a national marketing competition in 2006.
In 2012, Oklahoma Christian joined the NCAA Division II Heartland Conference as part of its candidacy for full membership in NCAA Division II. OC also joined the National Christian College Athletic Association in 2012. The Eagles field varsity teams in Baseball, Men's & Women's Basketball, Men's & Women's Cross Country, Men's & Women's Golf, Men's & Women's Soccer, Softball, Men's & Women's Tennis and Men's & Women's Track & Field.
Five OC teams garnered NAIA National Championships before the transition to NCAA Division II: Men's Golf in 2009 and 2011, Men's Cross Country in 2011, and Men's Tennis in 2003 and 2012. In addition, numerous OC athletes won individual NAIA National Titles in Golf, Tennis, Cross Country and Track & Field. In fall 2012, Oklahoma Christian won NCCAA national championships in Men's Cross Country and Men's Golf.
Oklahoma Christian University is located two miles (3 km) west of U.S. Interstate 35 just south of the north Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond. While it is widely believed to be inside Edmond city limits, the campus is actually in Oklahoma City. The 240-acre (0.97 km2) campus is bounded by East Memorial Road to the south, Smiling Hills Boulevard to the north, S. Boulevard/N. Eastern Avenue to the west, and Benson Road and N. Bryant Road to the east. The main entrance to the campus is on Memorial Road and is marked by a large pond with a fountain. The campus contains more than 30 major buildings, with the majority built in an International and Mid-Century modern-influenced architectural style, unified through the use of red brick with light-colored stone ornamentations.
The main entrance leads directly to the center of campus. Prominently located in this area is the William-Branch Center for Biblical Studies (1987), which contains Scott Chapel. Directly north of Scott Chapel is the Mabee Learning Center (1966), which houses the Tom & Ada Beam Library, the Honors Program, and the Department of Language and Literature. The Beam Library contains more than 110,000 books and media, almost 30,000 electronic books, and access to more than 8,000 periodicals in electronic or print format. Located between the Williams-Branch Biblical Studies Center and the Beam Library's front entrance is the Thelma Gaylord Forum (1987), a heavily landscaped public space and amphitheatre intended as a relaxing study area and site for outdoor performances and events.
East of the Mabee Learning Center are four of OC's earliest buildings (1959): The Benson Administration Building housed the Business Office for many years, but will return to its original use as the main administrative building in 2013; Cogswell-Alexander Hall contains the Registrar's Office and Information Technology offices; Gaylord Hall is the site of the Admissions and Financial Aid Offices; and Vose Hall contains science labs and classrooms. All four buildings center around the university's original quadrangle and fountain. North of the original quad is the Davisson American Heritage (DAH) Building (1970), which houses the Department of History and Political Science, the Department of Psychology and Family Studies, and the School of Education. North of DAH is the Noble Science Wing (2011) and Herold Science Hall, home of OC's student undergraduate research program, 30,000 sq ft (2,800 m2) and the Prince Engineering Center (1988). The Prince Engineering Center is the location of OC's School of Engineering and its ABET-certified Mechanical, Electrical and Computer Engineering programs.
Located east of the main entrance is the 1,268-seat Hardeman Auditorium, the main campus venue for performances and convocations. Hardemann Auditorium is also the location of OC's mandatory daily Chapel programs (students are allowed 15 absences per semester). McIntosh Conservatory, an open meeting and performance space, links Hardeman with the Garvey Center (1978) consisting of Mabee Hall and Kresge Hall. Contained within the buildings are the Mabee Communications Center and the Fletcher Center for Music. Included in these areas are classroom, offices and studios for OC's Speech and Mass Communications and Music departments. Also contained within this complex is the 275-seat Judd Theatre, designed for thrust or proscenium theatre productions, and the 190-seat Adams Recital Hall, an elegant and traditional space for solo and small group music performances.
East of Hardeman Auditorium is the Harvey Business Center (1980), housing the School of Business Administration and OC's Information Technology Services. Also in this area of campus is the building originally designed for "Enterprise Square USA," an interactive museum dedicated to the promotion of American citizenship and free enterprise which operated from 1982 to 2002. OC's Alumni and Advancement offices currently operate out of this facility.
The areas on the west side of the campus are largely devoted to student residences and recreation. The Gaylord University Center (1976/1997) contains the cafeteria, a snack bar, bookstore, health center, recreation areas and the Student Life and Student Government Association offices. North of the Gaylord University Center is the Payne Athletic Center (1970), site of a campus fitness facility, olympic-size swimming pool, the Physical Education and Athletics Department offices, and the "Eagles' Nest" gymnasium - OC's home court for basketball competition. In 2007, the Oklahoman named the Eagles' Nest as one of the top-100 athletic venues in state history.
Some of the newest additions to the OC campus lie between these buildings and the dormitories to the west. Lawson Commons, an outdoor mall area, contains McGraw Pavilion, a unique covered outdoor event space, and the Freede Centennial Tower, a 100-foot-tall (30 m) clock tower that stands as a focal point on campus and commemorates the 2007 Oklahoma state centennial. In October 2009, the OC campus received a gift of more than 1,300 trees in five varieties through a partnership between the Tree Bank Foundation and the Apache Foundation that were planted across the campus, including along the Boker-Wedel Eagle Trail, a 5K path around the campus that links with the Edmond trail system.
OC provides almost 1,800 on-campus living spaces in 11 residence halls and nine apartment complexes. Dormitories are located on the western end of the campus. Apartment complexes, available to upperclass and married students, are located across Benson Road on the east end of campus
The northern-most portions of the campus contain outdoor venues for soccer, softball (Tom Heath Field at Lawson Plaza), track and field (Vaughn Track), baseball (Dobson Field) and intramural sports.
The university is guided by six "defining values": Faith, Scholarship, Integrity, Stewardship, Liberty and Leadership. OC retains a commitment to traditional biblical principles as expressed through the "Oklahoma Christian Covenant," which emphasizes that the "values and behavior of this Christian community are derived from the Bible." The covenant is described by the university as "not a creed demanding strict belief in its veracity and inerrancy, and it is not merely an ideal to which we aspire; rather, it is a personal commitment that while we are members of this community, we will abide by the principles and ideals set forth in the covenant. The purpose of our covenant is to unite all of us at Oklahoma Christian University – students, staff, faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees – in a Christian community that is based on biblical principles and that transforms lives for Christian faith, scholarship, and service." Attendance at OC is open to all students, regardless of religious affiliation, who agree to abide by the ideals of the covenant. Full-time faculty and staff are required to be active members of a church of Christ. Attendance at daily Chapel services (with a set number of allowed absences) is mandatory for all full-time students.
The university's Alma Mater, "Hail to Oklahoma Christian," was composed by Harold Fletcher, a member of OC's music faculty from the university's founding in 1950 until his retirement in 1993. Audio
The OC Fight Song, "Stand Up and Cheer," was composed by former band director Brian K. Shepard. Audio
First Week Follies is a variety show presented for the student body by OC faculty and staff members during the opening week of the fall semester. Typical presentations include musical numbers and comic monologues, skits and videos. It has been held each year since 1978 and has been directed every year by OC Executive Director of Alumni Relations Bob Lashley, a 1974 OC graduate.
Spring Sing is a student-produced, directed and performed musical review held each year during the spring semester. The show involves students in OC's social service clubs presenting original choreographed and costumed musical routines loosely based around a common theme chosen for each year's show. Most club presentations involve parodies of popular music, with lyrics adjusted to fit the group's chosen theme. Awards for the best club shows are presented at the conclusion of Spring Sing. Hosts and Hostesses, who act as Emcees and perform between club numbers, are selected by audition. Spring Sing is held during the annual "Spring Visit" preview weekend for high school students. Typically all three performances of Spring Sing, held in OC's Hardeman Auditorium, are sold out several weeks in advance. In the past 11 years, two clubs have been crowned champions of the competition: the men of Chi Lambda Phi and the women of Gamma Rho. Of those 11, Chi Lambda Phi has garnered nine first-place finishes. The current run has seen them take the trophy three times with themes including Pinocchio, Godzilla, and Founding Fathers.
OC operated Cascade College, a branch campus in Portland, Oregon, from 1994 until it closed in May 2009 . Like OC, at Cascade the full-time faculty and majority of the students were members of Churches of Christ. In 1992, the Oklahoma Christian University Board of Trustees assumed the operation of the former Columbia Christian College after it suffered serious financial difficulties and lost accreditation. A year after Columbia closed, the new branch campus opened in 1994 as Cascade College. The North Central Association agreed that the accreditation of Oklahoma Christian, Oklahoma City, could extend to Cascade if close ties and supervision were maintained. In October 2008 the OC Board of Trustees announced that Cascade College would close after the Spring 2009 semester was complete. Dr. Bill Goad served as the last president of Cascade, and now serves as OC's Executive Vice President.