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When The Stars Align - 2024

by Ethan Zambrano

Man with dark hair smiling

Serve. Lead. Create.

These three words are the pillars of an exemplary OCU student and alum. OCU gives students a place to find their leadership style, numerous ways to serve those in their communities and dream big dreams. Danny Phan ’13 is just one example of how transformative OCU can be.

Phan grew up in Oklahoma City and attended U.S. Grant High School. As graduation came closer, he was faced with the same question of all seniors: “What’s next?” He began to investigate colleges and the programs they had to offer. Initially drawn to OU and their aviation program, Phan’s course was altered when he learned of the hidden gem at the heart of Oklahoma City. Through the Clara Luper Scholarship, he was able to attend OCU on a full ride. While OCU did not have an aviation program, Phan found a degree track that not only fit his passions but would also give him a successful future as a system center administrator at Love’s headquarters in Oklahoma City.

As a child, Phan was captivated by technology and the inner workings of it all. He would constantly take apart and rebuild his old Nokia phone—replace the screens, get under the case and understand the workings. In high school, he was on the winning team for a national banking competition. When OCU introduced finance and information technology, he knew he had found his home in the Meinders School of Business. “OCU gave me a place to take my passions and make them a career,” Phan said. “Once I was in the classroom, I was able to build real connections with my professors that have lasted beyond graduation.”

Phan has fond memories of his time at OCU. Whether it was Kappa Sigma life events like Hayride with Alpha Phi, one-on-one interaction with his professors or the multicultural student organizations he was involved with, he made the most of his OCU experience. He recounts the time when he met Clara Luper. She was instrumental in the integration of high schools in Oklahoma, a true leader and visionary and everything Phan dreamt of being. Meeting her was a highlight of his time at OCU.

He credits most of his adult life successes to OCU. His job at Love’s was by the stars aligning. It was at a Christmas party at Meinders School of Business where he met the company’s chief financial officer, kick-starting his internship, which led to his position there for the past decade. The connections and friendships he made while in school have lasted long after graduation. Phan explained, “It’s not always about what you know, but also who you know.” Because of the education, training and community of OCU, he continues to create new connections, serve and support his alma mater and lead those around him.

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