Greetings Campus Community,
Last Thursday was a busy summer day that began with a meeting of our audit committee to ensure our accounting matters are in order. We had a good meeting and upon adjourning at 11 a.m., Dean Steve Agee and I departed for Oklahoma City University's alumni event in Kansas City.
Dean Agee's long service on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City led to detailed geographic information about the best ways to get to Kansas City, where as we all know, "everything is up to date." We drove to the Carriage Club and had a wonderful reception hosted by U.S. Attorney Barry Girissom, JD '81. About a dozen OCU alumni and their spouses from the Kansas City area attended the reception. The warmth of the evening was tempered only by our departure that same day at 8:30 p.m. accompanied by less than jubilant reports on the radio about the Thunder game.
However, back on campus, I was greeted with more good news. Dean Mark Parker reported our Bass School of Music is one of just six schools nationwide who had multiple alumni nominated for best performance in a musical as part of the 2012 Tony Awards. Other universities with multiple nominees include Julliard, Yale, and New York University. Read more here.
The documentary "First and Female," an Oklahoma City University Moving Image Arts Program project, has been nominated for two 2012 regional Emmy Awards. The ceremony for the Heartland Chapter will be held July 21 in Oklahoma City.
"First & Female" was nominated in the categories of Cultural Documentary and Director. The film uses the 2011 Oklahoma governor's race as a frame to discuss how women's roles and the perception of women in leadership have changed since statehood, particularly in the past 50 years. It takes the perspectives of the two gubernatorial candidates — Mary Fallin and Jari Askins — and other notable women like civil rights leader Clara Luper, former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller, feminist movement leader Gloria Steinem and former Oklahoma First Lady Kim Henry. The film was directed by Oklahoma City University alumna Tinasha Williams, who organized the material into her graduate thesis. Moving Image Arts Chairman Fritz Kiersch served as executive producer and alumnus Lance McDaniel produced the film. Alumnus Vinny Hogan wrote and produced the musical score. Film professor Bryan Cardinale-Powell edited the film. Congratulations to this outstanding group of Stars.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to 32 students who have completed a month-long program at our Intergenerational Computer Center to improve their computer proficiency and English speaking skills. The class was part of the Even Start free family literacy program offered in conjunction with Oklahoma City Public School's Adult Education division. More than 90 percent of the students in the program throughout the year are Hispanic women with small children and most have no prior computer skills. I was delighted to visit with these students and see their commitment to lifelong learning. See photos from yesterday's completion ceremony here.
I am proud of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni for excelling in a number of community service endeavors. Service learning and civic engagement are key focuses for Oklahoma City University, and those efforts have earned OCU a spot on the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The organization commended us for playing a critical role in increasing the effectiveness of individuals, organizations, and communities and demonstrating that service is a crucial tool for addressing the challenges our nation faces.
I am also proud of the interesting and unique learning opportunities we offer to our students. University Chaplain Rod Newman and Wimberley School of Religion Director Sharon Betsworth recently returned from a study aboard trip to Ireland with close to a dozen current and former students. The group studied Celtic Christianity, visiting Dublin and Galway in the Republic of Ireland and Derry and Belfast in Northern Ireland. They saw the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin and the high standing crosses at Monasterboice. Some unplanned surprises included witnessing the Olympic Torch run through Dublin and catching a hurling match in Dunloy.
Remember to catch past editions of the Friday Forum at www.okcu.edu/about/president/forum/ and watch every other Friday for this update on recruitment, retention, and resources. As always, please reply with your questions, comments, rebuttals, or great thoughts. (The person who sends the best response wins a bundle of Bedre chocolates!)