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Oklahoma City University
Motto Veritas Ecclesia Cognitio
Motto in English Truth, Church, and Knowledge
Established 1904
Type Private
Endowment $61.4 million[1]
President Tom J. McDaniel (outgoing) Robert Harlan Henry
Students 3,800 (2,100 undergraduate, 1,700 graduate)
Location Oklahoma City, OK, USA United States
Campus Urban
Colors White and Blue          
Mascot Starsky the Ram
Athletics NAIA, Sooner Athletic Conference

Ocu stars.jpg

Oklahoma City University, abbreviated OCU, is a coeducational, urban, private university located in the midtown district of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 12 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 2,100 undergraduate students and 1,700 graduate students from 46 states and 49 foreign countries. 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.[2] More than 78 percent of faculty hold the terminal degrees in their fields; no classes are taught by graduate assistants. Student to faculty ratio is 11:1 and the average class size is 17 for freshmen and 13 for upperclassmen. Although OCU is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the school accepts students of all religious backgrounds and encourages religious diversity. A notable fact about OCU is that it counts among its alumni three Miss Americas and more than 30 Miss Oklahoma pageant winners.




Gold Star Memorial Building (Law Library), an Oklahoma landmark
Meinders School of Business
Interior of MSB

The first incarnation of Oklahoma City University was called Epworth University (which still stands near Classen SAS High School). Anton Classen was heavily involved with development of early Oklahoma City and advanced the idea of a Methodist university in Oklahoma. Classen managed to generate interest in this idea and in 1901 two branches of the Methodist Church embarked on the establishment of a Methodist university. Construction began in 1902 and classes started in 1904 with enrollment growing by almost 100 students during that first year.

Lack of financial support caused Epworth to close in 1911 but classes began at OCU's second incarnation - Oklahoma Methodist University, in Guthrie - only months later.

In 1919, trustees decided to close the Guthrie location and make a fresh start in Oklahoma City with a new institution called Oklahoma City College. With funding from the Methodist congregations, new college grounds were planned and built in 1922. The school thrived in its new home and its successful transition was formally acknowledged when OCC changed its name to Oklahoma City University in 1924. Athletics took off as more students enrolled, but with the onset of the Great Depression OCU faced great financial strain.

Dr. Cluster Smith assumed the presidency after the Great Depression and began to tackle new challenges emerged - namely, World War II and stemming problems. As the country entered the war, OCU was deeply in debt and needed new facilities. Faculty members were paid late more often than not and a number of trustees personally signed for loans so that salaries could be paid. Male students abandoned their studies to join the military and in 1942, about 75 percent of the student body was women. A shortage of players and funds caused many of the athletic programs to shut down, including the beloved football team.

The end of the war in 1945 brought about an unprecedented surge in enrollment. As a result, there was an extraordinary amount of development through the remainder of the 40's. Construction on a particularly special addition - the Gold Star Building, which memorialized the Americans felled by World War II - began in 1949.

The 50's got off to a great start with OCU achieving its goal of earning accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. They also absorbed the Oklahoma City College of Law and embarked upon the Great Plan - a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology designed to elevate the academic discourse and thereby deepen the quality of education offered to all students.

The Great Plan was a great success; inspiring positive changes across campus and interdisciplinary approaches at all levels. Departments worked together to create courses that approached lofty topics from a variety of perspectives and taught students to look at life in a new way. OCU's spiritual life was also under construction and the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel was dedicated in 1968.

Jane Jayroe had become OCU's first student to earn the title of Miss America and programs across campus were thriving. Financial troubles were softened by the excitement of the times but unfortunately could no longer be ignored. By 1976 the financial situation had escalated, sending waves of worry across campus and around town. A long list of drastic measures was put together in an effort to save the school.

Bishop Paul Milhouse held firmly to his faith and aired the school's woes to the Annual Conference of Oklahoma Methodist churches in Tulsa, requesting that people direct their prayers and pledges to the University. The conference attendees responded with $200,000 and the spirit of giving trickled down into individual congregations. Pledges poured in from all over the state and by 1980, the Methodist Church had raised more than $3 million. Morale improved, as did enrollment.

A crisis had been narrowly averted, but OCU remained in a precarious position. Jerald Walker, an OCU alumnus became president in 1979. Walker restored the climate of prosperity and placidity to OCU in record time. Quickly, he made a series of changes that were engineered for maximum impact. Facilities were improved, new programs were offered and students were aggressively recruited. By the summer of 1981, President Walker proudly announced that OCU was not only debt free, but that it had turned a profit for the first time since 1975.

Out of crisis mode, OCU finally had the opportunity to spread its wings. During the 80's, Law students moved into their new home, Susan Powell became the school's second Miss America, the school of religion joined the campus and a new nursing program was launched. The Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company was founded in 1982 and programs expanding OCU's international presence were established.

At the turn of the century, Oklahoma City University was ready to usher in some of the best years the university had ever known. The campus received a dramatic face-lift, new community partnerships were forged, and the university's mission to prepare students to be servant leaders was the guiding spirit behind it all.

Stephen Jennings became the university's new leader in 1998 focusing on keeping the university in tip-top shape for its 100th birthday. Jennings oversaw the transformation from the Chiefs to the Stars and launched the Distinguished Speakers Series.

A few years later, in 2001, Tom McDaniel became president and his leadership has transformed the university. The most obvious change, of course, has been the drastically altered face of campus, which has benefited from an influx of donations. The Ann Lacy Visitor and Admissions Center, the Norick Art Center, and the Edith Kinney Gaylord Center - not to mention the business school, music center and the new residence hall - have given the campus an architectural update and offer students more academic space and amenities.

On December 10, 2009, OCU announced that Robert Harlan Henry, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, will become the university's 17th president in July 2010, succeeding Tom McDaniel.[3] The OCU Law School is in talks to move into the Fred Jones Building downtown.


Colleges and Schools

Administration Building


Degree programs

  • OCU offers more than 60 undergraduate majors; 12 graduate degrees (including a law degree and the M.B.A.), and the Adult Studies Program for working adults to earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. Many departments like art, music, mass communications, modern languages, biology, religion, and theatre offer multiple majors. A full list of degrees can be found here[1]. The school also offers numerous pre-professional degrees, one such degree track is the Oxford Plan; 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. 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), a unique intercollegiate,interdisciplinary program; a Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature; and numerous study abroad programs.


  • More than 78 percent of OCU faculty members hold terminal degrees in their fields. All classes are taught by professors, and not graduate assistants. OCU has a student/faculty ratio of 11:1 and class sizes of about 17 for freshmen and 13 for upperclassmen.


Year Standing
OCU Director's Cup Standings[4]
1996-97 10th
1997-98 4th
1998-99 4th
1999-00 5th
2000-01 2nd
2001-02 2nd
2002-03 5th
2003-04 4th
2004-05 7th
2005-06 10th
2006-07 10th
2007-08 10th
2008-09 6th
2009-10 TBD
Average finish 6th
Entrance to Wanda Bass School of Music
Interior of Bass Music School
Ann Lacy School of Dance
Freede Wellness Center and Abe Lemons Basketball Arena
Future OCU Boat House

Oklahoma City University athletes participate in the NAIA and Sooner Athletic Conference. Both men's and women's teams are nicknamed the Stars, formerly known as the Chiefs from 1944 until 1999 and the Methodists from 1904 until 1944.[5] Under McDaniel the number of altheltic teams doubled to 22. OCU is represented by "Starsky" the Ram; "Starsky" is inspired by the celestial lore surrounding the creation of OCU. OCU currently competes in baseball, men's and women's basketball, collegiate cheerleading, men's and women's rowing, men's and women's wrestling, men's and women's golf, mens' and women's soccer, softball and women's volleyball. OCU teams have won thirty-seven (37) National Championships since 1988.[6] Its tradition spans the glory days of legendary coaches Abe Lemons, Paul Hansen, and Doyle Parrack to the most recent 2010 National Championships in Women's wrestling.[7] More than 300,000 people attend athletic or other events hosted by OCU Athletics each year including more than 50,000 who attend the OCU Head of the Oklahoma Regatta, the largest rowing event of its kind in the region.


Kerr-McGee Centennial Plaza

OCU is located on a 104-acre park-like campus in central Oklahoma City. Prominent campus buildings include the landmark 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 most recent major addition to the campus is the 38 million dollar state-of-the-art 113,000 sq ft Wanda L. Bass Music Center. OCU has just announced the construction of a new 52,000 sq ft addition to the Kramer School of Nursing; the addition will quadruple the size of the nursing school. The Kerr-McGee Centennial Plaza on the southest corner of the campus was constructed in 2004 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of OCU. The plaza features a bronze statue honoring OCU's three Miss America pageant winners. In the first decade of the 21st century, OCU completed more than $100 million in new campus construction.


OCU is near the Oklahoma State Capitol campus in the heart of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area, five minutes by automobile from downtown Oklahoma City. The campus is amid historic and cosmopolitan inner-city neighborhoods with a number of urban eateries and cultural attractions near the campus. Local neighborhoods include the Mesta Park and Heritage Hills Historical neighborhoods containing some of the grandest houses in Oklahoma City along with tree-lined boulevards and heavily landscaped streets. The campus lies immediately west of the rapidly developing Asia District. The Plaza District, the Paseo, and the LGBT district at (NW 39th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue) are also nearby. The hip uptown district is in the area on NW 23rd Street toward the capitol complex. Other areas of interest include the N. Western District, popular with the creative class and the posh inner-suburb of Nichols Hills.


Housing options on the campus of Oklahoma City University include single-gender and coed dormitories, apartments, and the Greek system. There are also countless housing options off-campus ranging from boarding houses and flats in the Asia District and 39th Street, to apartment complexes and rental houses in Uptown and the Plaza District.

Draper Hall
Walker Hall

Residential halls

Centennial Hall (formerly known as the New Residence Hall) is a coed facility for freshmen and upper-class students, and includes an underground parking structure. 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.

Centennial Hall courtyard
West side view of Centennial Hall


There are two apartment complexes on campus. They are available to upperclass students only and offer an alternative to the residential dorms. University Manor consists of one-bedroom units with single or double occupancy. All utilities are paid (except phone, cable, internet) and each unit has its own kitchen area, central heating and air conditioning, and private parking. There is also a laundry facility. Cokesbury Court offers residential hall-type living in separate apartment units. All apartments have full kitchens and built-in dining–study areas. The complex includes a hot tub and pool as well as a BBQ pavilion and a clubhouse with big-screen television.

Campus Life

Farmer International House
Tom McDaniel Student Union

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.

The Tom and Brenda McDaniel Student Union provides a place for students to relax, sleep, study, watch television, or socialize. The Union provides diverse activities and programs such as movies, bands, dances, giveaways, and other activities. 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 Aduddel Center, located next to Centennial Hall. All students are also encouraged to participate in theatre, music and dance groups regardless of major.

The university's high number of international students add to a culture of diversity. Many of the international students are seeking graduate degrees. Most nationalities have a recognized student association that hosts events to celebrate national or religious holidays and educate domestic students about their culture. The university has a reciprocal program with a university in Singapore; professors and students teach and study in Singapore and vice versa.

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.

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. Each year's series is themed. 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.

The University provides free counseling services to students, including in speciality areas such as academic difficulties, health or financial problems, occupational choices, employment, mental health issues and spiritual matters. A campus chaplain is available. A Student Health Clinic is staffed by a registered nurse and advanced nurse practitioner and is available to all students, faculty and staff. Services include health assessments, diagnosis and treatment of minor injures and illnesses. Other services include gynecological care, male reproductive health and referrals to community or specialty providers. Services for students with documented disabilities are provided by the University health services. Alcohol and Drug education programs are also provided through the Office of Student Life.

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.


OCU is a school full of traditions, the largest being Homecoming in the fall. Homecoming, which is a week long celebration, includes philanthropy events, Lip Sync (a skit in which teams must prerecord material), floats and sporting events. Another popular OCU tradition is "Spring Sing", a charity event in which an entire skit must be sung. To end the year students attend Big Event, a fun-filled night of games, activities and music; and LIT, a end of the year fireworks display. Smaller traditions include final week activities which includes free massages, midnight breakfast, and oxygen bars.

More solemn traditions include Matriculation, where students are officially welcomed to OCU, freshman begin in the Administration Building where they touch a gold star they will again rub at commencement. 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 serive and the official lighting of the Christmas decorations and the Advent candle. A ring ceremony was recently started by the school's Blue Tie Ambassadors, in which juniors receive their class ring.

Student activities

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.

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 the Campus Online. 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. It is distrusted to the student free of charge. The Mass Communications department also operates OCU Channel 22, which airs to on campus residents through Cox Cable; programming consists of volunteer newscasts, and material for broadcast courses. Students may also submit original art, photography, poetry and essays to the University's literary journal The Scarab and research to the undergraduate research journal Stellar.

Political Organizations

The university is surprising liberal compared to the state's other private universities. Naturally the university is home to a Young Democrats chapter; the university also has a newly revived College Republicans chapter. OCU also has a mock legislature group, Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature.


The university has a Religious Life Office that coordinates religious and community service activities. The office also maintains organizations like the Catholic Student Union and the Wesley Center. Numerous other organizations exist outside of the office such as Baptist Student Union, and Campus Crusade for Christ.

Cultural and Ethnic

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

Academic Interest

OCU has numerous organizations who goals align with their respective majors, such as: OCU Filmmaker's Guild, Project 21 (Music Composition), and Students of Arts Management.

Music and Dance

OCU has a large population of performing arts students, and as a result there are many performing arts centered organizations. Among these organizations are: Generation Blessed Gospel Choir, Spirit of Grace Liturgical Dance, OCUcapella, and OCU Rhythms.

General Interest

OCU has many organizations that are open to all studnets and defy categorization such as OCU Sailing Club, Relay for Life, Circle K, and Military Affinity Group.

Greek life

Oklahoma City University's greek life system constitutes approximately 20-percent of the total student population.

2 Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternities (Kappa Sigma and Lambda Chi Alpha)

3 Pan-Hellenic sororities ( Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi and Gamma Phi Beta)

2 National Interfraternity Music Council organizations ( Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia)

One local Christian fraternity (Delta Alpha Chi) and one national Christian women's organization Kappa Phi.

Numerous professional fraternities and sororities like Phi Alpha Delta, and Beta Beta Beta.

Both of the IFC fraternities have small houses, however most members live in traditional on-campus housing. The Greek system is currently looking to expand and may add two new fraternities in the near future.

Notable faculty

Notable alumni

Arts, entertainment and letters

Business and academia


Politics and law


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ US News West region rankings US News. Retrieved on 1-31-2010.
  3. ^ Robert Boczkiewicz, "Judge resigns from Denver-based appeals court", Tulsa World, December 11, 2009.
  4. ^ NACDA Director's Cup . NACDA . . retrieved on 2-22-2010.
  5. ^ Oklahoma Football History retrieved on 1-30-2010
  6. ^ OCU national championships reaches 37. OCU Sports. Retrieved on 1-31-2010.
  7. ^ OCU Women's Wrestling National Championship retrieved on 1-31-2010.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Alpha Phi Foundation
  10. ^
  • [2] – from the official website of OCU
  • [3] – current business accreditation
  • [4] – ranking West/ Master's by US News and World Report

External links


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