Greetings Campus Community,
I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with our students, faculty, and staff this week as we start the new academic year. We are off to a great start for what I expect will be a remarkable year. Activity has returned to the quad, the Caf’s full menu is back, and the student center is abuzz; what a wonderful OCU community we have!
I am very proud of the quality educational opportunities we offer to our students and, in particular, I am pleased at the success we have in connecting our students with internships related to their fields of study. Our career services director, Josh Waddell, reports a steady increase in the number of internships held by Oklahoma City University students.
Just this summer, we had 11 students who completed the InternOKC Program through the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. These shining Stars include Heather Healey, Nasreen Iqbal, Alisha O’Lague, Zac Tidholm, Kevin Hanson, Oliver Blaha, Asal Salmatian, Caroline Cotton, Cana Wilson, Jack Malone, and Kate Cunningham.
During the program, interns attend weekly luncheons to learn about Oklahoma City’s political scene, sports and recreation opportunities, and living in Oklahoma City. They also network with the 380 participating interns, who attend the luncheons in addition to their internship work. Chamber President and CEO Roy Williams explains that InternOKC is instrumental in the organization’s efforts to attract and retain Oklahoma-educated college students in Oklahoma City. As Oklahoma City’s university, we share this vision for the future of our city and we are proud to be part of this wonderful program.
Our connections with the program go beyond student participation. Oklahoma City University alumna Joyce Burch coordinates InternOKC and Waddell serves on the planning committee for the Greater Grads Career Fair, which is an extension of the InternOKC program. The program was touted this week at the Chamber’s State of the Schools luncheon, which Oklahoma City University helped sponsor.
Yes, our school colors are still blue and white, but the green on campus is looking very sharp. The Tree Bank Foundation recently drafted their final report on our latest landscaping improvements. Through the generosity of our friends at the Chesapeake Energy Tree Planting Program, we added several trees to the gateway park that greets guests at the entrance to our campus from N.W. 23rd Street and Blackwelder Avenue, and completed the Naifeh Garden outside the Bass School of Music. The Facilities Department furnished materials and built several raised flower beds in the gateway park to further enhance the project.
The Naifeh Garden was landscaped last fall thanks to the efforts of Cathy Leichter, who gathered funding and insight form Louise Bass, daughter of the music school’s namesake; the family of Jenee Lister, daughter of the garden’s namesake; Ann Simmons Alspaugh; Kurt and Cathy Leichter; and Jan and me. The garden has already proved to be an inspiring place for students to practice their instruments. If you haven’t been there you should take a quick break and enjoy the surroundings.
That’s A Wrap
Summer sessions and activities are officially complete and so is my latest blog post. I had many great things to report about the achievements of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni during the last few months. We have had some very busy individuals! Check out everything our folks have been up to at http://www2.okcu.edu/president/blog/.
Have a wonderful weekend and watch in two weeks for the next edition of Friday Forum. As always, send me your questions, comments, rebuttals, or great thoughts!