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Greetings Campus Community,

Oklahoma City University was well represented at the 2012 United Methodist Church Annual Conference in Tulsa. During the four-day conference, religion/philosophy student Trey Witzel told the church conference about his learning experiences at Oklahoma City University, Chaplain Rod Newman led the OCU Banquet, and Director of Religious Life Jennifer Long and I gave the annual report about OCU. Highlights of the report included the addition of our new spire atop the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel, the 30th anniversary of the Wimberly School of Religion, our service learning program, and a big thank you to the conference for their financial support of OCU during the past year in the amount of $975,000.

I also had the privilege of speaking at the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference annual meeting, held June 8 in Anadarko. One of the items I was delighted to share is the new Trustees charge to our graduates, which reads:

As you continue your journey of life and learning beyond our campus, remember the lessons lived and learned here at Oklahoma City University:

To know scientifically
to understand humanistically,
to express artistically,
and to act morally:

“Do[ing] all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

Keep Oklahoma City University in your heart and mind as you dedicate yourself to a meaningful new role in a world that needs you.

Attributed to John Wesley, founder of Methodism (1703-1791)

Through the efforts of Dr. Steven C. Agee, Dean of the Meinders School of Business, Richard (“Dick”) and Glenna Tanenbaum have generously created an Endowed Scholarship Fund, in the amount of $500,000.00, to provide scholarships to designated full-time students in the Meinders School of Business. The recipients of the Richard and Glenna Tanenbaum Endowed Scholarship will be selected by a committee designated for this purpose by the Dean of the Meinders School of Business at OCU. 

“Dick and Glenna Tanenbaum are dear friends of mine who are very active in the community,” said Dean Agee. “Dick is a successful real estate developer with interests in office buildings (like the two most recent additions to the Boeing complex at Tinker Air Force Base), multi-family complexes (like The Montgomery, The Classen, and The Park Harvey), as well as industrial and retail development. Dick is also active in numerous chamber events and is a highly successful fundraiser for chamber activities. Glenna has a passion for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra and has been on its board, as well as having served many years on the Board of the Orchestra League, and one year as its president.”

The Tanenbaum’s are also very pro-active with regard to education and they see great things going on at OCU and in the Meinders School of Business. “Dick and Glenna are true philanthropists who are very giving of their time, talent, and treasure, with a strong desire to make Oklahoma City a better place to live and work. I am very thankful for their wonderful support and their friendship,” stated Dean Agee.

I share Dean Agee’s admiration for the Tanenbaums, and I’m delighted they are becoming even more involved with OCU. See a photo of us at the recent ribbon-cutting event at the Boeing complex here.

Last weekend’s Senior Follies held in our own Kirkpatrick Auditorium was almost an OCU alumni event. The show brought together some of our great friends on the most famous stage in Oklahoma. These alumni continue to make donations to OCU and they send us their children and grandchildren. We are very grateful.

(P.S. Jo Rowan’s “La Muerte De La Buzzy” was an entomological wonder.) See more about the show on The Presidential Prerogative at http://www2.okcu.edu/president/blog/. (You’ll see the overflowing accolades included the men’s dressing room toilet. The job’s not over until the paperwork is done!)

We have added a new component to the vice presidents’ meetings at OCU this summer, inviting four guest speakers to give presentations on several great topics. Communication Concepts President Linda Dowling was our first speaker June 4 to discuss trust and collaboration. Dowling left our leaders with some great advice about collaborating with each other and with faculty and staff across campus. “To collaborate is to talk together to dissolve our differences,” Dowling emphasized. She discussed participatory, creative, candid approaches to seeking input and implementing successful solutions.

The OCU Alumni Association recently created a monthly e-newsletter to increase communications with our alumni and reconnect them with the university. Read the June 2012 newsletter here.

We are pleased new CFO Donna Nance will be joining us July 9. If you missed last week’s announcement, find out more here.

If you’ve spent any time lately at some of our neighboring businesses on N.W. 23rd Street or attended the recent Paseo Arts Festival, you might have heard the buzz about the Uptown 23rdStreet District. I am very excited about this particular neighborhood and merchants association and what it will mean for our Three Rs at Oklahoma City University.

The Uptown 23rd Street District Association has been created to beautify N.W. 23rd Street from Broadway to Penn, increase safety in the area, and strengthen the relationships between the shops, restaurants, businesses, and organizations that surround us.

Oklahoma City University will play an active role as this project unfolds. The university and our alumni association both have memberships in the group. OCU Alumni Director Cary Pirrong and 2011 OCU graduate John Riesenberg serve on the Uptown 23rd District board, and the association is led by President Jennifer Seal, another one of our stellar alumni.

Oklahoma City University partnered with the Uptown 23rd Street District to promote the association and our university at the Paseo Arts Festival. Cary and the Uptown 23rd group gave out more than 1,500 paper fans at the festival to put a stir in the air about the project. As the Uptown 23rd Street efforts progress, university recruitment and retention will be strengthened by the numerous improvements and their benefits.

That wraps up the fourth installment of Friday Forum. To see an archive of past editions, click here. As always, please reply with your questions, comments, rebuttals, or great thoughts.