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Starkey Dedication and Memorial - Fall 2021

Gathering of people on campus

University leaders and friends gathered in the spring for an interfaith tree and bench dedication ceremony to celebrate the life of beloved Oklahoma City University professor Dr. John Starkey.

At the time of his passing in January 2020, Starkey was the Millhouse Professor of Theology at the Wimberly School of Religion. He had earned numerous honors during his career at OCU, including the Outstanding Faculty Award in 2006, the Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award in 2014-15, the Excellence in Teaching Award for Full-Time Faculty in 2009, and Distinguished Honors Professor in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2012.

The tree and bench were dedicated the afternoon of May 6, 2021, at Starkey’s favorite spot on campus, on the Quad adjacent to the Bishop Angie W. Smith Chapel and the Gold Star tower. The ceremony included remarks from former OCU President Martha Burger as well as local religious leaders from several denominations.

The ceremony concluded with a rendition of the song “We Shall Overcome,” with lyrics adapted by Starkey himself. The song was performed on guitar by OCU alumnus Kevin Wilkinson (MM Conducting ’18).

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