Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

First Year Experiences welcome newest class


Oklahoma City University welcomed the Class of 2019 with the annual matriculation service Aug. 19 and other events.

This class has 322 first-year students and 237 transfer students.

The new OCU Stars made their way to the Kirkpatrick Auditorium for the official service, walking on sidewalks lined with faculty and administrators, cheering them on.

To help the students get comfortable in their new home, a team led by Colbi Beam, coordinator of the First Year Experience, put together a number of events.

At the Welcome Picnic, parents and students met faculty, staff, and administrators in a relaxed atmosphere.

OKConnect introduced students to the Oklahoma City community. Since about 60 percent of OCU’s student body comes from out of state, students were given four options to visit notable destinations in the city and then lunch at local restaurants in groups, accompanied by First Year Experience team members. The choices were as follows.

  • Oklahoma City National Memorial and S&B’s Burger Joint
  • Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Big Truck Tacos
  • Science Museum Oklahoma and Pizza 23
  • Devon Tower and Empire Slice House

OCUReads enabled incoming students to read and discuss the book "Acts of Faith," by Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core. Patel wrote about how he came to appreciate his own faith community and the value of interfaith cooperation.

This year’s book selection prompted the greatest response ever for the OCUReads program; 76 percent of the students reported their participation.

Then 15 students entered the MUSINGS contest, submitting a creative response to the book. These included a handsewn bag of interwoven fabrics and essays and poems representing faith journeys.

The OCU Wesley Center rolled out the welcome mat as well. New students filled Watson Lounge in the Chapel on Shining Stars Movie Night for cotton candy, popcorn, and a screening of "Mrs. Doubtfire," all hosted by the United Methodist campus ministry.

The Chapel also was one of the stops for Passport to the Stars, during which small groups of students made quick stops around campus to learn how each department can serve their needs.

Director of Religious Life Rodney Newman served on a panel at International Student Orientation.

Rev. Newman highlighted the worship services and meals offered in the Chapel during the year.

Church members and Pastors Jeremy Bassett and Marla Lobo from OKC-Wesley United Methodist helped host the lunch at this orientation. They also worked with OCU’s international office to greet students at the airport and offer transportation to the campus.

OCU continues to have a strong connection to the Church among the students themselves.

The Admissions Department reported 256 current students identify as United Methodist.

Last year’s classes included 37 UM clergy dependents and 13 CYME graduates. Students in those categories receive reductions in tuition. (CYME = Conference Youth Ministry Enterprise camp)


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First-year students and orientation leaders participate in the selfie challenge during opening week events at Oklahoma City University.



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