Today I marched in the processional among the Professor Emeritii (the really old guys!)for the inauguration ceremony of Dr. John deSteiguer as the seventh president of Oklahoma Christian University. Sherrylee and I made a special trip to Oklahoma City for this ceremony, not only because we have many friends there, but because we believe in what Oklahoma Christian is and does!
In 1964, my parents took me on a rainy day to Oklahoma City to have a look at Oklahoma Christian College. I had never seen so much red mud in all my life. The college—as I remember it–was just four buildings in the middle of nowhere!
I did not choose to go there—until 1979, when I began my teaching career as an instructor on a one-year, temporary contract. That year turned into twenty-four, twenty-four years with wonderful colleagues, thousands of students, and way too many freshmen essays to read! We loved our years at OC!
Dr. J. Terry Johnson was the president when we came in 1979. In 1996, after 22 years, he stepped down, and was followed by Kevin Jacobs and Alfred Branch in a transitional time for the university.
Dr. Mike O’Neal left Pepperdine and became OC’s sixth president in 2002. Mike, a good friend from Harding days, brought financial stability to the institution, and left many new buildings and stronger academic programs. He retired this year from office with the gratitude of the OC community.
President deSteiguer steps into office when OC has an excellent enrollment of about 2,250 students from fifty-six countries. With the enthusiasm that he is bringing to the office, I can’t imagine anything but growth in the future of OC.
I wish there were space to list all the academic achievements of this outstanding university, but you should know that OC was named a “Best University—Master’s in the western region in U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.” OC has excellent programs in Language and Literature, History and Political Science, Biology (95% medical and graduate school placement), 3 ABET accredited engineering programs (very rare!), and a Gaming and Animation program that was selected as one of the top undergraduate programs by Princeton Review.
Well, you can tell that I am very proud of Oklahoma Christian, and I believe that the Board of Trustees has selected an outstanding man as its new president. He has a proven track record professionally, but his family and his personal life are shaped by a deep and evident faith in God. Above all, his professed dependence upon God is what gives me confidence in the future of Oklahoma Christian.
Congratulations, President deSteiguer. Our prayers are with you!