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North heads history project

Monday, October 1, 2007  
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By Tracy Corcoran

Oklahoma Christian University Bible professor, Stafford North, is working on his second year of documenting the history of the university. President, Mike O’Neal came up with the book idea and chose North to write it.

John Maple, chair of the department of history and political science, is the Chairman of the Oklahoma Christian University History and Archive Project committee.

“Probably no one knows the history of OC quite as well as Stafford North,” Maple said. “He’s been with the university since the early ‘50s. He came just a couple of years after the founding of the college in Bartlesville. I think it’s a great move on Dr. O’Neal’s part to ask him to take on this project and write this book.”

The project is an essential key in keeping the facts about the university’s history and tradition alive.

“We don’t want to lose the history,” Maple said. “There are so many individuals that he’s been able to draw living memories from as well as all the documents. I think it’s just going to make up for richer volume.”

North has been on the faculty since the early 50s. Even though there are several documents pertaining to the university’s history, having North’s living memories is important to preserving the history of the Oklahoma Christian.

The book tells the rich history of the university. Everything from how the school got started, to the move from Bartlesville to Oklahoma City will hold a place in the book. Information about presidents, faculty, activities, athletics, and donors will be included in the book as well.

“He [Dr. O’Neal] saw it as important to preserve the history of the university, to set forth the story,” Maple said. “It’s an amazing story. It’s the story of many people demonstrating extraordinary dedication to the concept of Christian education and working very hard to accomplish that and devoting themselves to it. It’s the story of sacrifice of time, energy, and money.”

Maple believes that the book will do more than tell the story of the university. He believes people who read the book will better understand the rich heritage of sacrifice and the importance of Christian education.

“There are individuals who have given literally millions upon millions of dollars,” Maple said. “Those people, of course, with that kind of capability are a relevant handful, but there are thousands upon thousands of people that have donated a lot of money over the years as well as time, and it’s important to tell that story, too so that people understand the devotion to and significance of Christian education.”

North gets all of his information from Oklahoma Christian’s archive, which is made up of student newspapers, university publications, yearbooks, and documents from the university such as accreditation reports. He also relies on memories for things not recorded.

“I came to the college in January of 1952, and I’ve been here ever since except for two years when I was gone for graduate study,” North said. “So my recollection of what has happened is one of the sources.”

North feels the purpose of the book is not only to share the story of Oklahoma Christian’s past but also to promote the school in a different light.

“I think former students will be interested in reading about the story, and I think it will be a source for students who aren’t here. So, I think it will promote interest in the university and will be a book that will help people connect to the history of the institution,” North said.

The process is going smoothly. Maple says a big part of the success thus far is North’s passion in telling the history of Oklahoma Christian.

“He has a tremendous amount of energy so he’s been churning out the chapters with great, great hilarity. He’s really making very good progress,” Maple said.

The book will be approximately 450 words long and have approximately 350 pictures. It is expected to be completed by Homecoming of 2008.

“I think the book is a very important project. It is important for people to know where they have come from,” Maple said. “If you’re going to stay grounded in who you are, then it’s important to know your heritage. This book is going to be important in helping the university faculty, alums and administration to know what our heritage is.”

Students and alumni can contribute to the History Project by leaving memories on the website at www.oc.edu/ochistory.



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