Greetings Campus Community,
Summer is off to a great start! Our three commencement ceremonies were a wonderful time of celebration: 800 undergraduate and graduate students walked the stage after concerts by Dr. Matthew Mailman's OCU Wind Philharmonic and a concert by the Pipes and Drums of the Highlanders of OKC preceded the hooding of more than 170 law graduates. There is now a little less student activity across campus, however this will be a productive and busy summer as we prepare for the next academic year, keeping in mind our Three Rs – recruitment, retention, and resources.
First of all, our inaugural Maymester is underway. 108 students are enrolled in this three-week super semester. General education courses in wellness, governance, psychology, and introduction to world religions will wrap up May 25. One of the most unique Maymester courses is Biology Professor Anthony Stancampiano's The Ecology of Greater Yellowstone, which includes a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Now that's an exciting way to earn lab science credits. It is unique and exciting courses such as these that support the university's recruitment and retention efforts.
Our talented and dedicated faculty work through the summer and year round to recruit and retain Star students. Artist in Residence Mike Wimmer is among our group of outstanding faculty. Mike just completed a portrait of Dr. Edna Manning (check it out at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocumedia/7198239104/), who is the founding president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. The portrait honors Manning as she retires from the job she has held since the school's inception in 1990. Perhaps because I co-authored the legislation creating OSSM and have remained deeply involved with the school, I was asked to emcee Dr. Manning's retirement event at the OSSM Great Hall where Oklahoma City and state leaders were widely represented. We wish Dr. Manning the best in her retirement and look forward to further developing our relationship with OSSM. It has some of the best and brightest high school students in the state. (Our own Kent Buchanan is on the OSSM Board.)
On resource development, a spring appeal was mailed to more than 15,000 alumni on behalf of each academic unit on campus. This highly personalized appeal is the first of its kind for Oklahoma City University and articulates the need for alumni to specifically support their college. Donations already have started coming in and we expect to report great news to you in the coming weeks.
Tomorrow, 40 social studies teachers will convene on campus for the iCivics at OCU Professional Development Workshop. Education Professors Liz Willner, Lois Lawler-Brown, and Lisa Lawter; education students Katie Alsup and Melody Metivier, and iCivics Curriculum Coordinator Carrie Ray-Hill will lead teachers through activities designed to enhance and improve local civics education as part of Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's national iCivics program.
Have you been to the Caf lately? Kelli Keegan and her Student Advisory Committee continue to be innovative. English Professor Brooke Hessler and her Honors Composition class recently took the opportunity to show off our vegan bar to a visiting class from Auburn University's Montgomery campus. Read the group's rave reviews of our Caf and our campus at http://inkslingerette.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/thank-you-dr-hessler-and-class/.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (higher education's version of The Daily Prophet) recognized OCU in its April 27 issue as a Tree Campus USA recipient.
I will leave you with this burst of school spirit, created by our multi-talented and highly-successful spirit squads after their recent NAIA championships: http://youtu.be/REHx0O5EOsU. Oklahoma City University successfully defended its large coed cheer NAIA championship and took the title in all-girl cheer at the NCA/NDA NAIA College Nationals. We have a lot to be proud of!
Watch every other Friday for this university update. Campus leadership will chime in from time to time to share their thoughts. As always, send me your questions, comments, rebuttals, or great thoughts. The winner from last time is OCULAW Career Counselor Debbie Boles – "What a lovely way to end the week!"