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Student Success Heralded by Harrell-Hallmark - 2024

by William Peetoom

Man with glasses and OCU sweatshirt

Levi Harrel-Hallmark, who currently serves as Oklahoma City University’s dean of students, is an Oklahoma native who spent time away from his home state to find his passion, but has since brought his professional talents back home to work at Oklahoma City University. He started his college education at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, continued on at Ohio State University in Columbus, and found his first professional position at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware. He explained that Ohio Wesleyan is a small, private, religious school, so the atmosphere between Ohio Wesleyan and OCU was similar, but he explained, “I was there for three years and felt like it was time to come back.”

Harrel-Hallmark has worked for OCU for nearly eight years, starting in 2015 as the assistant director of student development, and eventually working his way up to dean of students in 2019. He described the position as connecting with students through things like student organizations, recreational sports, religious life and by supporting students through the OCU Care and Conduct processes. His philosophy on students is important to him, saying, “I fundamentally believe that my role on campus is help students succeed,” and that, “finding those paths and places of success is something different with every single student.”

The subject of grace was touched on by Harrel-Hallmark when he discussed his relationships with students, saying, “I want to extend the grace that you would want extended to you, we are all in this world and we do great things. We make mistakes and we certainly hope we are not judged by our worst day on our best.” Harrel-Hallmark spoke extensively about dreaming big, explaining his own take on an old saying with, “we can shoot for the stars, land on the moon and we still have an accomplishment.”

He additionally believes what makes OCU students unique is, “the students who come to OCU have a spark in them, a spark to connect, grow and learn.” Harrel-Hallmark uses his position as dean of students to focus on the student experience, connecting with them and focusing on their growth, giving them a place to accomplish and fail, but always have an opportunity to learn. After nearly eight years at OCU, Harrel-Hallmark has seen several classes of students come in and graduate, but said his goal is always to, “grow right alongside our students.”

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