Oklahoma City University

2501 N Blackwelder 
Oklahoma City OK 73106 

(405) 208-5000

Oklahoma City University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oklahoma City University
Oklahoma City University seal.png
Motto Veritas Ecclesia Cognitio
Motto in English
Truth, Church, and Knowledge
Type Private
Established 1904
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment $94.98 million[1]
President Robert Harlan Henry
Students 3,770[2]
Undergraduates 2,314
Postgraduates 1,456
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Campus Urban 104 acres (0.42 km2)
Colors Blue and White
Nickname Stars
Mascot Starsky the Ram
Sporting affiliations
Oklahoma City University logo.png
Oklahoma City University
NRHP Reference # 78002247[3]
Added to NRHP December 19, 1978[4]

Oklahoma City University, often referred to as OCU or OKCU, is a coeducational, urban, private university historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is located in the uptown district of Oklahoma City, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma.

The university offers undergraduate bachelor's degrees, graduate master's degrees and doctoral degrees, organized into eight colleges and schools and one Methodist seminary. Students can major in more than 70 undergraduate majors, 17 graduate degrees, including a JD, MBA and PhD in Nursing, and an Adult Studies Program for working adults to earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. The university has approximately 4,000 students, including 1,600 graduate students.[5] OCU has a large student life network including athletics, honor societies, clubs and student organizations and fraternities and sororities. The official school and athletic colors are blue and white. Alumni have gone on to prominent careers in government and law, business, education, sports, arts, and entertainment.


Gold Star Memorial Building (Law Library), an Oklahoma landmark

Early history

Oklahoma City University began as Epworth University by local developer Anton Classen in the early 1900s. Classen was looking to begin a Methodist university in conjunction with other development projects he worked on. Construction of the school began in 1902 and it opened in 1904 with 100 students.[6] Anton Classen was heavily involved with development of early Oklahoma City and advanced the idea of a Methodist university in Oklahoma and helped spark the ideas of the Methodist Church to establish a Methodist university in Oklahoma. Construction began in 1902 and classes started in 1904 with enrollment growing by almost 100 students during that first year.[6]

Epworth closed in 1911 after the school ran into financial difficulties.[6] At the same time the church formed Oklahoma Methodist University in Guthrie, Oklahoma. After a few years the school's trustees developed a plan to close the school in Guthrie and relocate to Oklahoma City.[6] The school opened in Oklahoma City as Oklahoma City College in 1922 from funding from the Methodist congregations, and some faculty from the defunct Fort Worth University.[6] After the college opened it experienced rapid growth and changed its name to Oklahoma City University in 1924.[6] Despite the success and growth of the university in the 1920s, OCU again fell on hard times during the Great Depression.[6]

Post-war era

Dr. Cluster Smith became president of Oklahoma City University after the Great Depression. At the same time the United States entered World War II creating new challenges for the university, especially the university's mounting debt and need for new facilities.[6] The War created a decline in the student body, especially in males who left school to enlist in the military. By 1942 the student body was 75 percent female. This created a shortage of players and funds causing many of the athletic programs, such as the football team, to end operations.[6] Following the war enrollment increased dramatically and the university began a period of rapid development through the remainder of the 1940s.[6] In the 1950s OCU received accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.[6] The University then took control of the Oklahoma City College of Law and began a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to elevate the academics and the quality of education.[6] The Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel was dedicated in 1968 as part of a plan to expand OCU's spiritual life.

In the mid 1970s after nearly 25 years of steady growth the university again fell on hard times. In 1976 Methodist Bishop Paul Milhouse discussed the school's issues to the Annual Conference of Oklahoma Methodist churches in Tulsa.[6] After requesting that people direct their prayers and pledges to the University by 1980 the Methodist Church had raised more than $3 million.[6] Jerald Walker, an OCU alumnus became president in 1979 and continued the university's growth stemming from the financial support from the Church. During his tenure as president facilities were improved, new academic programs were started and enrollment increased again. In 1981 it was announced that the university was out of debt and turned a profit for the first time since 1975.[6] The university added the School of Religion and the nursing program during the 1980s.

Recent history

In the 1990s the university upgraded and renovated campus facilities. Stephen Jennings became president in 1998 and began focusing on the university's centennial celebration and position the university for the future. Under Jennings the athletic name was changed from the Chiefs to the Stars and the university expanded student life, including the Distinguished Speakers Series.[6] Tom McDaniel became president in 2001 and drastically altered the look of the OCU campus from an influx of donations. New additions to the campus included The Ann Lacy Visitor and Admissions Center, the Norick Art Center, the Edith Kinney Gaylord Center, the Wanda L. Bass School of Music, Meinders School of Business, and a new residence hall.[6] Robert Harlan Henry, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, became the university's 17th president in July 2010, succeeding Tom McDaniel.[7]

Historic designation

The Administration Building, included in the historic district

On December 19, 1978, part of the university campus was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.[4][8] The district comprises the Administration Building, the Fine Arts Building, and the Goldstar Building.[9] It was nominated for its statewide significance in education and in the Methodist community.[10]


The 104-acre (0.42 km2) campus lies in the Uptown area of central Oklahoma City north of downtown and immediately west of the Asia District, just a few miles due west of the Oklahoma State Capitol building on NW 23rd Street. Other notable districts nearby include the Plaza District, the Paseo Arts District, and the LGBT district. Prominent campus buildings include the Gold Star Memorial Building (law library), Clara Jones Administration Building, Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel, Sarkeys Law Center, Edith Kinney Gaylord Center (housing the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management), Kirkpatrick Fines Arts Building, Dulaney-Browne Library, McDaniel University Center, Meinders School of Business and Henry K. Freede Wellness and Activity Center. The 38 million dollar state-of-the-art 113,000 sq ft (10,500 m2) Wanda L. Bass Music Center was opened in April, 2006.[11] OCU opened a 52,000 sq ft (4,800 m2) addition to the Kramer School of Nursing in January 2011, the addition quadruples the size of the nursing school.[12] The Kerr-McGee Centennial Plaza on the southeast corner of the campus was constructed in 2004 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of OCU.[13] The plaza features a bronze statue honoring OCU's three Miss America pageant winners.[13] In the first decade of the 21st century, OCU completed more than $100 million in new campus construction.


Housing options on the campus of Oklahoma City University include single-gender and coed dormitories, the Greek system, and apartments.

Oklahoma United Methodist Hall (formerly Centennial Hall) is a coed facility for freshmen and upper-class students, and includes an underground parking structure.[14] Banning Hall provides coed housing for freshmen and upper-class honors students. Smith Hall houses only men and Walker Hall, OCU’s only high-rise dorm at seven stories, offers housing for freshmen and upperclass women. Draper Hall is OCU's coed law and graduate hall, offering private rooms and an optional meal plan.

There are two apartment complexes on campus available to upperclass students only. University Manor consists of one-bedroom units with single or double occupancy. Cokesbury Court offers residential hall-type living in separate apartment units.[15]

In addition to on-campus residences there are a wide variety of off-campus options nearby ranging from boarding houses and flats in the Asia District and on 39th Street, to apartment complexes and rental bungalows in Uptown and the Plaza District. A number of students live in the two fraternity houses located just off-campus.

Campus safety

OCU maintains a full-time on-campus police force in order to ensure a safe campus. In addition to normal duties and patrols, OCUPD are available to escort any student after dark. In addition 18 emergency call stations are strategically scattered throughout the campus providing immediate access to campus security.[16]


The university is classified as a Master’s college and university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.[17] OCU is the only Oklahoma institution listed in the top tier of the master level university category by U.S. News and World Report Magazine's "America's Best Colleges" issue. It is currently ranked 23rd among Master's Universities in the West region.[18]

OCU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition the nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, montessori education program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, and the law school is accredited by the American Bar Association.[5]

Colleges and schools by size


Degree programs

OCU offers more than 60 undergraduate majors; 12 graduate degrees, including a law degree and the M.B.A.), two Ph.D. programs in nursing, and the Adult Studies Program for working adults to earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree.[19] The school also offers numerous pre-professional degrees, one such degree track is the Oxford Plan;[20] successful participants qualify for preferred admission to the School of Law and participants with an LSAT score of 155 or higher and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher are guaranteed admission to the School of Law.[21] In 2009 OCU launched its first doctoral programs in the university's history.[20] OCU offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Ph.D. in Nursing through the Kramer School of Nursing.[20]

OCU also provides opportunities for further education with service learning components across the curriculum; a University Honors Program; OCULEADS, a freshman scholarship and leadership development program; a partnership with The Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program (OSLEP), an intercollegiate, interdisciplinary program; a Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature; and numerous study abroad programs.[22]


More than 78 percent of OCU faculty members hold terminal degrees in their fields. All classes are taught by professors, and not graduate assistants. Student to faculty ratio is 13:1 and the average class size is 16 for freshmen and 12 for upperclassmen.[5] Notable faculty include: Florence Birdwell, renowned professor of voice; composer Dr Edward Knight; Marvel Williamson; Fritz Kiersch, the director of the film Children of the Corn, and Paul William Milhouse, Bishop in Residence, 1980–91.


Official logo for OCU Athletics.
Main article: Oklahoma City Stars

Oklahoma City (OCU) teams, nicknamed athletically as the Stars, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, track & field, volleyball and wrestling. Both men's and women's teams are nicknamed the Stars, formerly known as the Goldbugs prior to 1944,[23][24] the Chiefs from 1944 until 1999, and the Methodists prior to 1921.[23][25] Under McDaniel the number of athletic teams doubled to 22. OCU is represented by "Starsky" the Ram; "Starsky" is inspired by the celestial lore surrounding the creation of OCU. OCU teams have won 57 National Championships since 1988, most recently repeating as the 2014 NAIA Men's Cross Country Champions.[26] This marks the 20th straight year that OCU has won a National Championship.[27] A member of the NCAA until 1984-1985, OCU made the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournament 11 times and the National Invitation Tournament twice as an independent, making OCU the most successful basketball program to no longer compete at the Division I level. In 1984-1985 OCU won the Midwestern City Conference baseball championship and made NCAA Division I Baseball Championship tournament before moving to the NAIA the next year. Its tradition spans the glory days of legendary coaches Abe Lemons, Paul Hansen, and Doyle Parrack. OCU has been ranked in the top 10 in the NACDA Director's Cup rankings from 1997 through 2011, including a top finish in 2001-02.[28] In 2012, Kevin Patrick Hardy (Class of 2013), became OCU's first national champion in wrestling, capturing the national title at 165 pounds.

Campus life

Opportunities for cultural enrichment and entertainment on the OCU campus include concerts, play performances, operas, films, sporting events, and seminars by world-renowned speakers and business leaders. Guest speakers at OCU have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel, author Kurt Vonnegut, playwright Edward Albee, researcher Jane Goodall, Rabbi Harold Kushner, Sister Helen Prejean, educator and author Jonathan Kozol, Poets Laureate Ted Kooser and Billy Collins, civil rights attorney Morris Dees, journalists Helen Thomas and George Will, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and politician Karen Hughes.[29]

A Wellness Program and Outdoor Adventures Program provide numerous opportunities for student activity such as pilates, yoga, traditional aerobics classes and self-defense, as well as hiking, bicycling, camping, horseback riding and sailing. A resource center and gear checkout are provided on campus. Intramural sports are a popular activity, with over 35 different sports available in league and tournament play and both coed and single gender teams. Students have access to a full size exercise facility, the Aduddell Center, located next to Centennial Hall.[30]

The university's high number of international students add to a culture of diversity. The Office of Multicultural Affairs maintains organizations such as: Black Student Association, Hispanic Student Association, Native American Society, and the Asian American Student Association. The office also maintains foreign student associations such as the Indian Student Association, Korean Student Association, Chinese Student Association.[31]

The student body is represented by the Student Government Association, or SGA (formerly Student Senate). The OCU SGA consists of the Executive Branch, which includes the president and his staff and manages SGA; the Student Senate, which allots monies to student organizations and hears legislation; the Student Activities Committee, which oversees Homecoming and special events; the Judicial Branch, which deal with student disciplinary issues. The elections for SGA are held in April with special elections for freshman in the fall.[32]

Oklahoma City University has nearly 60 active student organizations. Focuses of these organizations range from ethnic to political, religious to special interests. Organizations often have office space inside the Student Government Association Office in the Union. The list below is only a selection of campus organizations.

The Oklahoma City University Film Institute offers the campus and Oklahoma City community the opportunity to view eight to ten classic international films per year. Written materials on the theme and films is available at each screening and the screenings are followed by a discussion of the film. The film series has been presented each year since 1982.[33]


OCU maintains several traditions, the largest being Homecoming in the fall. Homecoming, which is a week-long celebration, includes philanthropy events, concerts, floats and sporting events.[34] Light the Campus is popular OCU event that community is invited to join in. The two part event includes fun activities for young children, food and singing; the next part of the event is a processional to the chapel for a formal service and the official lighting of the Christmas decorations and the Advent candle.[35]

Newspapers, magazines and other media

The Campus is the official student newspaper of Oklahoma City University, published weekly on Wednesdays, and updated more often at '.[36] It has served the students since 1907, and has won numerous awards. It is produced by Student Publications, a part of the school's mass communications department. The Constellation is the award-winning yearbook produced by Student Publications.[37][38]

The Scarab is a student anthology of writing and art, including non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and photography, published by OCU’s chapter of the international English honor society Sigma Tau Delta and winner of the society’s 2003-2004 award for Literary Arts Journal of the year.[39]

In the Department of Mass Communications, students may also submit research to the undergraduate research journal Stellar.[40]

Greek life

The university is home to three fraternities and five sororities including Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Mu sororities; Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta fraternities. OCU is also home to many other non-traditional Greek organizations such as two National Interfraternity Music Council organizations, Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia; One local Christian fraternity, Delta Alpha Chi; and Kappa Phi, a national Christian women's organization. OCU also has numerous chapters of professional and academic honor fraternities such as Phi Alpha Delta, a professional law fraternity; Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society; and the original chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the national biological honor socitey.[41]

Notable alumni

Arts, entertainment and letters

Business and academics



Politics and law

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

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