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Greetings Campus Community,

I hope this finals Friday finds you well rested, or at least on the way to becoming caffeinated, happy with the close of a successful semester, and eager for tomorrow’s commencement ceremonies.

Gov. Mary Fallin will receive an honorary doctorate of public administration degree as well as deliver the undergraduate commencement address during Oklahoma City University’s graduation ceremony at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Freede Center. We will award honorary doctorates of humane letters to attorney Gary B. Homsey, Sonic CEO Cliff Hudson, and philanthropists Ray and Pat Potts. All of these great Oklahomans have generously shared their resources with OCU. C-Span will be covering portions of commencement and airing Gov. Fallin’s speech later this month. Graduate commencement begins at 3 p.m.

We have received the final report from SimpsonScarborough, the rebranding firm that conducted marketing research for the university, that will guide our recruitment, marketing, and branding efforts as we move forward. About 115 faculty, staff, and trustees attended the firm’s presentations on campus March 28. We are now incorporating major themes from the research in our marketing and recruitment materials and will unveil a broader creative strategy this fall.

We are more than halfway through our $2 million campaign to complete the third floor of the Kramer School of Nursing with more than $1 million in gifts and pledges! Recruitment and retention remain strong at the Kramer School of Nursing.

Our campus campaign has raised $204,000. Congratulations to our generous faculty and staff! So far, 259 employees, or 46 percent, have made contributions. We are up more than $15,000 and more than 80 donors compared to this time last year. Incidentally, other Oklahoma schools are at less than half of this percentage.  Hope you got to join us for a burger or hot dog Monday on the quad! See how much fun we had at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocumedia/sets/72157629958831319/.

Something else we have at Oklahoma City University is successful alumni, which is a great recruitment tool for us! Two of those alums – Kelli O’Hara and Ron Raines – received Tony Award nominations this week. Fellow OCU alumna Kristin Chenoweth announced the awards. Watch the announcement at: http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/multimedia/videos/index.html.

We celebrated one of our largest Stars 101 orientations in history April 23 with about 100 incoming freshmen. I had a delightful chat with students until Starsky was summoned to give me the hook! We will hold three more Stars 101 events this summer for 2012 freshmen -- May 14, June 11, and July 9.

I hosted my last class with co-teacher Sen. David Holt at Wilson House last week.  Artist in Residence Mike Wimmer and Oklahoma Humanities Council Executive Director Ann Thompson joined us for our final “Hot Topics in Politics” gathering.

Several special guests were in attendance at the April 25 Board of Trustees meeting including retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Oklahoma City University’s winning Governor’s Cup team and our national championship athletic teams. The members of our board were delighted to hear from these prestigious guests. Justice O’Connor met with students the day before in the standing-room-only Homsey Moot Courtroom. Two of our outstanding professors, Paula Dalley and John Starkey, spoke to the board and both engaged in teaching moments. Starkey shared one of his favorite Biblical stories and explained some methods used by Biblical scholars to gain meaning from parables and stories. Dalley discussed new business associations and concepts of shareholder and board liability, which was of great interest to our trustees because so many members serve on a variety of boards. Check out photos of the meeting at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocumedia/sets/72157629956840861/.

Next week, Oklahoma City University will host its first Jesus Seminar on the Road program with two nationally renowned Biblical scholars. Pamela Eisenbaum and Stephen Patterson will lead workshops about the Apostle Paul May 11 and 12. See more details at: http://www.westarinstitute.org/Events/JSORs/okcity2012.html.

That’s it for this inaugural Friday Forum. Watch every other Friday for this university update. Campus leadership will chime in from time to time to share their thoughts. In the words of the late great Mike Royko, send me your questions, comments, rebuttals, or great thoughts. Have a great summer!