The Edmond Sun

April 26, 2013

Oklahoma Christian dedicates Lou Phillips Welcome Center


Special to The Sun

EDMOND — Members of the Oklahoma Christian family gathered Thursday to dedicate the new “front door” of the university.

Oklahoma Christian officially unveiled the Lou Phillips Welcome Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by OC board members, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.

The new facility, located in the lobby of the Garvey Center, will serve as a beginning point for campus guests — including future students and parents touring the university. Made possible by a gift from Oklahoma City philanthropist Jose Freede, the venue also will house OC’s Office of Events and Campus Coordination.

During more than three decades at Oklahoma Christian, Lou Phillips was a longtime executive assistant and later served as coordinator of special projects.

She worked closely with five OC presidents — J. Terry Johnson, Kevin Jacobs, Alfred Branch, Mike O’Neal and John deSteiguer — and also served on the board of the Oklahoma Christian Women’s Association until her passing in January.

“Lou Phillips was such a dear friend to so many of us. She was known far and wide because she was hospitality ‘capitalized,’” deSteiguer said. “Lou had a way about her to make people feel welcomed, at home and special. I was especially blessed that she took me under her wing and helped me in lots of ways. She trained more presidents at Oklahoma Christian University than anybody else.”

In 1992, Phillips was the official hostess for President George H.W. Bush’s official campaign visit to Oklahoma Christian. She also helped coordinate George W. Bush’s 1990 visit to Oklahoma Christian on “University Day.” After Phillips’ passing, George W. Bush sent a personal letter of condolences to her family.

Just before she passed away, she told President deSteiguer to “take care of OC.” Those words are displayed in the Lou Phillips Welcome Center.

“My mom was really good at noticing people,” said Lori Walle, Phillips’ daughter. “She noticed students, staff, visitors, famous people, people nobody knew, workers and people in her office. She noticed everyone — and everyone was important to her. I think that’s something we can all learn from. Wherever we are, we can notice people and make a difference in their lives.”