Oklahoma Christian University

Oklahoma Christian University (OC) is a private Christian university in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US. It was founded in 1950 by members of the Churches of Christ.

Oklahoma Christian University
Established1950 (1950)
Religious affiliation
Church of Christ
Endowment$32.432 million[1]
PresidentJohn deSteiguer
Administrative staff
Students2,259 (fall 2018)[2]
Undergraduates1,911 (fall 2018)[2]
Postgraduates348 (fall 2018)[2]
Location, ,
United States
CampusSuburban, 200 acres (81 ha)
ColorsMaroon and gray[3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IILone Star Conference
MascotEagles and Lady Eagles


Oklahoma Christian University was originally named Central Christian College. It opened as a two-year college in 1950 with 97 students in Bartlesville on the 152 acres (62 ha) former estate of Henry Vernon "H.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, who became 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. Soon after, plans were made to move the campus to Oklahoma City. Groundbreaking occurred on 200 acres (81 ha) 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 1981, OC became the sponsor of The Christian Chronicle.


  • L. R. Wilson – 1950–1954
  • James O. Baird – 1954–1974
  • J. Terry Johnson – 1974–1996
  • Kevin Jacobs – 1996–2001
  • Alfred Branch – 2001–2002
  • Mike O'Neal – 2002–2012
  • John deSteiguer – 2012–present[4]


In August 2001, OC became one of the few college campuses in the US, and the only in the state, to provide a campus-wide wireless Internet service and a personal laptop computer to every full-time student.[5] 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. OC now provides innovative information technology support for a "Bring Your Own Device" model. In 2013, OC's mobile computing program was honored as an Apple Distinguished Program.[6]


All bachelor's degrees at OC 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. Bachelor's 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[7]

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 the university's Das Millicanhaus in Vienna, Austria. OC also has shorter study abroad options in Asia and Honduras, plus additional options through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).


OC employs 92 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 14-to-1. 84 percent of classes contain fewer than 30 students.[8]


Oklahoma Christian competes in the Lone Star Conference. Prior to this, 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 and Lady Eagles field varsity teams in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's track and field and women's volleyball.


Oklahoma Christian University is located 2 miles (3.2 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 acres (97 ha) 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 the campus. Prominently located in this area is the Williams-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 Center and the library's front entrance is the Thelma Gaylord Forum (1987), a heavily landscaped public space and amphitheatre intended as a relaxing study area and a site for outdoor performances and events.

East of the Mabee Learning Center are four of OC's earliest buildings, dating from 1959. Benson Hall housed the business uffice for many years, but returned 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. Vose Hall contains science laboratoriess and classrooms. These buildings center around the university's original quadrangle and fountain. North of the original quadrangle 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, site of OC's student undergraduate research program, 30,000 sq ft (2,800 m2) and the Prince Engineering Center (1988), 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 Baugh Auditorium, the main campus venue for performances and convocations. McIntosh Conservatory, an open meeting and performance space, links Baugh Auditorium 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 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 Baugh 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 competitions. 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 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 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.

In 2013, OC opened the Boker-Wedel Eagle Trail, a 5km path around the campus.[9] The side-by-side asphalt and crushed granite running paths span a distance of 3.1 miles around the campus and have lighting, landscaping and security phones.[10] The trail connects with the growing Edmond running trails system and will eventually connect with the Oklahoma City running trails system.

In April 2016, the university unveiled Hartman Place, a scripture garden and waterfall to be used as a place of devotion and reflection. One of the features of Hartman Place is a space designated for students to write, using chalk on slate, remembrances of loved ones they have lost.

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.

OC policies

The university is guided by six "defining values": Faith, Scholarship, Integrity, Stewardship, Liberty and Leadership.[11] 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".[7] 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.[7]

Attendance at OC is open to all students, regardless of religious affiliation, who agree to abide by the ideals of the covenant.[12] Full-time faculty and staff are required to be active members of a church of Christ.[7] Attendance at daily chapel services (with a set number of allowed absences) is mandatory for all full-time students.[11]

Cascade College

OC operated Cascade College, a branch campus in Portland, Oregon, from 1994 until it closed in May 2009.[13] Like OC, Cascade's full-time faculty and the majority of its 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.[14] 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. Dr. Bill Goad was the last president of Cascade and is now OC's executive vice president.

Notable alumni


  1. As of 30 June 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  2. "University Profile". Oklahoma Christian University. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  3. "OCU Visual Identity Standards" (PDF). Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  4. "OC News". Blogs.oc.edu. Oklahoma Christian University. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  5. "Colleges, Universities And K-12 Give Mobile Computing A+ As Schools Flock To IBM For Wireless ThinkPad Computers". IBM. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  6. "Oklahoma Christian University Named Apple Distinguished Program". newsok.com. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  7. "University Profile". Oklahoma Christian University. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  8. "Edmond Sun".
  9. "Trail Map" (PDF). Oklahoma Christian University.
  10. "Student Handbook" (PDF). Oklahoma Christian University. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  11. About Oklahoma Christian University
  12. "Cascade College to close after spring semester". Christian Chronicle. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  13. Tandy, Gary. "The Northwest Corner of Heaven: A History of Cascade College" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  14. "Senator Cliff A. Aldridge - District 42". Oklohoma Senate.
  15. Patricia Reid-Merritt. "Molefi Kete Asante", Encyclopedia of African American History, Leslie M. Alexander and Walter C. Rucker, Eds., ABC-CLIO, 2010, pp. 617–618.
    - Edward J. Robinson, Show us how you do it: Marshall Keeble and the rise of Black Churches of Christ in the United States, 1914–1968, University of Alabama Press, 2008, pp. 164–165.
  16. "Tess Teague is on a roll…", The Lost Ogle, 25 May 2017

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