Giving thanks for gifts of service


From left, music professor Sarah Sarver, facilities staff Ryan Lavey and Kevin Thornburg, music professor Dave Easley, communications staffer Rod Jones, and student Jeff Cheng joined the cleanup effort in Moore on May 30.

The Mission Statement of Oklahoma City University notes that our goal is to prepare students to become "effective leaders in service to their communities." This is accomplished by academic study and spiritual development and, most importantly, by example. Those words are put into action every day by departments, groups, and individuals reaching out in tangible ways to those in need.

On Nov. 7, the weekly chapel time featured an interfaith service, which recognized outreach efforts campus-wide. "OCU Hearts and Hands: Giving Thanks for Serving Others" was a fitting celebration of this important work. Along with prayers and music, congregants shared how they have been blessed this year.

Dr. Bob Spinks reported the OCU United Way campaign achieved a record high, with more than $25,000 raised through pledges and gifts. Rev. Margaret Ball led as military veterans within the OCU community were recognized for their service and lifted in prayer.

Students representing the academic schools recited specific ways groups have reached out. Several supported Skyline Urban Ministry. The Library and Athletic Departments sponsored food drives. Athletes collected more than 8,000 cans of food last year — and a total of 25,910 food items over the past six years. The University-Church Relations Department continues to annually sponsor Christmas Grace, through which people in the OCU community provide gifts for area families.

Here are more ways OCU has touched the lives of others this year.

  • The Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management provided Halloween costumes for Positive Tomorrows, an elementary school for homeless children.

  • The Kramer School of Nursing completed mission trips to Cookson Hills Mission in eastern Oklahoma, and to Honduras.

  • The Meinders School of Business assisted international students with preparing U.S. tax returns.

  • The Bass School of Music joined with OKC-St. Luke’s United Methodist Church for El Sistema, a free music education and mentoring program for children in grades 3 to 6.

  • The Admissions Department offered university financial aid seminars to local churches.

  • The Multicultural Student Affairs Office hosted the YMCA Young Achievers Leadership Summit.

  • The Intergenerational Computer Center offered free community classes and free walk-in computer services.

  • University-Church Relations and the Wesley Center campus ministry sponsored monthly mission projects, including a coloring-book drive for hospitalized children.

  • Fraternities and sororities raised funds to support victims of domestic violence and mentoring programs for young women.

  • The Petree College of Arts and Sciences provided readers at Positive Tomorrows and tutors at the WhizKids afterschool reading program.

Many OCU-related groups also provided assistance in the aftermath of the May tornadoes.

  • The baseball program coordinated equipment donations from across the country for the Moore Youth Baseball Association.

  • The Student Government Association hosted Moore Tornado Relief Day and joined the rebuilding effort.

  • The alumni chapter in New York City joined alumni from other Oklahoma universities to organize a benefit cabaret that raised more than $2,000.

  • A special task force coordinated temporary housing on campus for displaced people and donation drop sites.

  • The university granted each employee 16 paid hours in May and again in June to help with the disaster recovery.

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