The Edmond Sun


December 12, 2013

OC will award degrees at winter commencement

EDMOND — Oklahoma Christian University will present 87 undergraduate degrees and 85 graduate degrees at its winter commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday.

The undergraduate degree candidates come from 16 states and seven countries and majored in a combined 36 academic disciplines at Oklahoma Christian. The master’s degree candidates come from six states and 10 countries, and represent 14 graduate areas of study.

Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on Friday. Byron Newberry, chair of Oklahoma Christian’s Graduate School of Engineering, will keynote Saturday’s graduate ceremony.

In addition to his director’s role with the Honors Program, Baird is a professor of Bible and philosophy at Oklahoma Christian. He also has served as the preaching minister at Wilshire Church of Christ since 2000. His father, James O. Baird, was Oklahoma Christian’s second president.

Jim Baird graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in Bible and English, received his theology degree from the Harding Graduate School of Religion in 1982, and earned his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University in 1992.

He has taught in OC’s College of Biblical Studies since 1992. He won the 2001 Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching, which recognizes teaching excellence, innovation and effectiveness in working with OC students in and out of the classroom.

His honors program course with Professor of Physics Len Feuerhelm, “The Bible, Science and Human Values,” won a $10,000 prize from the Templeton Foundation.

Newberry serves as a professor of mechanical engineering at Oklahoma Christian. He also uses his expertise to teach high school students taking engineering courses in OC’s honors summer academy.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma Christian in 1991 before going to the University of Michigan, where he earned his master of science in engineering degree and doctorate.

He teaches Bible classes and helps with the missions and media ministries at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

“It’s a great thrill to have two of our finest professors sharing their wisdom and experience with these outstanding graduates,” OC president John deSteiguer said.

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate honors program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.

For the last three years, the cost of attendance for OC undergraduate students has stayed the same, making Oklahoma Christian the only university in the state and the only reporting member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that did not raise its total price. More information is available at

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