The Edmond Sun

September 19, 2011

Deadline looms in new OC president search

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Oklahoma Christian’s search committee is pleased with the healthy number of qualified candidates for president it has received, a spokeswoman said.

Dawn Shelton, the university’s spokeswoman for the search process, said the committee met Monday to discuss the next steps in the process, which includes a Sept. 30 deadline for candidates to submit required materials to assure full consideration.

The committee was formed to conduct a national search for OC’s successor to President Mike O’Neal. In November 2010 O’Neal announced his intention to retire next year in a letter sent to alumni, faculty, staff and students. He notified the university it should begin a transition process culminating with the appointment of a new president by June 2012.

Shelton said the university is conducting a nationwide search. After the application and interview process, the committee will present its top candidates to the Oklahoma Christian University Board of Trustees.

Board members, listed in OC’s presidential prospectus, include Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn, of Edmond, CEO & President of The Global Trade & Development Corporation Mark Stansberry, of Edmond, accountant Greg Wedel, of Edmond, retired veterinarian Richard Blankenship, of Edmond, and Dr. Brad Britton, of Edmond.

To prepare for the search, the committee benefited from the input of faculty, staff, students, alumni and others who have participated in “town hall discussions.” Input also has come from online surveys about the future president, desired leadership attributes and hopes for the future of the university that was founded in 1950.

More than 250 individuals attended the on-campus forums and answered online surveys, according to the presidential prospectus.

“An individual’s spiritual, organizational, interpersonal, academic, visionary and leadership skills are of most importance,” a trustee wrote regarding desirable attributes. “Whether the candidate is internal or external should be irrelevant if the person possesses the aforementioned qualities.”

“The next leader must be God-centered and committed to Christian higher education,” a staff member wrote regarding the greatest challenge facing OC and the next administration. “He must look to God for counsel and guidance. Fundraising is crucial to maintain and surpass the solid financial standing OC now owns.”

Prayer also has been encouraged during the process. Shelton said committee members start and end each meeting with prayer. The panel will next meet in October, Shelton said.

O’Neal has served as president for 10 years during which time OC experienced significantly increased endowment, set enrollment records, reduced operating expenses and completed several capital projects. They included a $34 million student residence building project and the development of Lawson Commons, the Freede Centennial Tower and McGraw Pavilion.

All nominations, letters of interest, vitae and references should be directed to: Presidential Search Committee, Oklahoma Christian University, P.O. Box 11000, Oklahoma City, OK 73136, or emailed to | 341-2121, ext. 108