Oklahoma City University | President’s Message - 2024 Skip to content

From the President - 2024

OCU campus

Greetings Alumni & Friends,

Over the years, I have enjoyed working with the many constituents who exist in a university setting and have found the ones at Oklahoma City University are particularly exceptional. Between the eager students and the supportive alumni to the passionate faculty and staff, OCU stands as a beacon of educational excellence around the world. Here you can be who you want to be, pursue your dreams and become successful in your chosen journey.

This issue of Focus highlights some of the many faces who make OCU such a uniquely original campus. From Anthony Carranza, a student athlete leading the way not only in student government but numerous other organizations across the university to a trailblazing alumna, Tabatha Carr, forging a path in health through her products, you can see the excitement and passion for what they do in each individual’s impactful story. Other articles concentrate on students such as Kaden Peebles who overcame unsurmountable odds to thrive at OCU’s School of Law as well as author a book about her challenges in life. Alumni are featured like Salvator Ontiveros who is stepping up within Oklahoma’s Latin community to make a meaningful difference and Janie Simms Hipp, previous general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Additionally, OCU’s partnerships have always been beneficial to our students and community but especially a few new ones on the horizon. The university is working with Apple and Native American tribes to help bring digital offerings to schools while preserving their cultural heritage. The new Saints and Stars program kicked off this year with SSM Health providing scholarships and careers for nursing students to assist the nursing shortage within the state of Oklahoma. New articulation agreements are being signed with community colleges in the area such as with Oklahoma City Community College offering business and nursing tracks to encourage students to earn their bachelor’s degree at OCU.

Our students are setup for more success than ever before. A new first-time experience class is now required for all freshmen for the first eight weeks they are on campus to assist with the adjustment to college life and being a student at OCU. Overseeing these courses is Levi Harrel-Hallmark, dean of students, who is also featured in this issue. The overall enrollment is up this year due in large part to an influx of international students and the intentional work done by our Office of International Admissions. The article highlighting these efforts also tells a bit of the story of one graduate student, Jake Adebayo. Project 21 is another initiative within music and dance that not only provides opportunities for our students to collaborate and learn from each other and their instructors but to do so in a completely innovative way.

I encourage you to also check out the information in this issue about OCU’s Bright Society and a short profile of one of our alumni members in this exciting program, Danny Phan. We would love for you to become a member of this society and join a growing supportive leadership entity within the university. Additionally, we are pleased that our Office of University Advancement heading up these efforts with the Bright Society has a new vice president—Koby Harrington.

Enjoy this now annual issue of Focus magazine and best wishes for a prosperous 2024.

President Evans

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