It is my great privilege to enter as the 17th president of Oklahoma City University. It has long been a dream of mine to return to higher education and I accept this post humbled and honored. To follow in the footsteps of my predecessor is a source of pride for me and for my wife, Jan, who loves OCU as much as I do.
Oklahoma City University has gained tremendous ground since its inception under the name Epworth College more than a century ago. Our students come from all 50 states and some 58 countries, and comprise a talented, impressive and driven student body. They come to us ready to excel and in turn they receive the skills they will need to become anything they choose.
That is the glory of a liberal arts education. The "liberal arts" were originally called the arts and sciences "worthy of a free man;" that is, they were (and are) subjects that were studied to provide liberty. Students versed in the liberal arts leave college as well-rounded thinkers. They are analytical and articulate whether they have majored in dance, biology or exercise studies. They are ready for anything. The reason CEOs of major companies value training in the liberal arts is that they provide both a foundation of knowledge and a filter of information. Functioning in modern society requires an understanding of how to speak, write and organize knowledge, as well as an understanding of space and time, science and the arts.
Our students have become skilled doctors and nurses, leading scientists and lawyers, noted public servants and artists and great preachers and teachers. The very first chapter of the (now national) biology honor society, Beta Beta Beta, was formed on our campus in the 1920s by Dr. Frank Brooks. Dancers, musicians and actors trained at OCU have appeared in venues all over the nation and the world, building a reputation for the performing arts that is unparalleled. Our alumni include Emmy®, Grammy®, and Tony® award winners.
The OCU Stars field 19 varsity sports and have won national championships every year for 17 consecutive years. Our athletes are Stars off the field as well with 62% holding a GPA of 3.0 or greater.
We have much to be proud of at Oklahoma City University. Its listings in the top tier of the regional, master's level university category by U.S. News and World Report, in the 100 Best College Buys, and in America's Best Christian Colleges speak well of its recent accomplishments.
I believe the remarkable progress made at OCU poises it for the next step. OCU must build on its academic prowess by continuing to attract the brightest and best students from home and abroad.
The United Methodist Church has repeatedly demonstrated its strong support for our university as a place where people of all faiths can seek higher learning and pursue their talents. Local civic and business leaders have shown active interest in the future of Oklahoma City University as a community asset, building partnerships that are truly making us Oklahoma City's university.
To this task I bring my best: experience in teaching, administration, fundraising and scholarship; and perhaps most importantly, a commitment to servant leadership, and a deep and enduring passion for the arts and sciences. I am dedicated, energized and ready to walk with you down the path of this great university's future.