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OC Names Biology Center for Beloved Professor

Thursday, November 15, 2007  
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Oklahoma Christian University (OC) has named its biology center the Dr. Kim Gaither Center for Biology in honor of a popular biology professor who died of breast cancer in 2005.

“Dr. Gaither was one of the most courageous people I have ever known,” said OC President Mike O’Neal. “She was greatly loved, admired and respected by her students and colleagues at OC who miss her deeply.

“She was a model of one who took learning and teaching seriously and who did both very well,” O’Neal said. “Even more importantly, she loved others. She cared for her family, she cared for her students, and she cared for her colleagues and friends. Kim loved others and lived her faith. She inspired us while she was with us and she inspires us today.”

The Dr. Kim Gaither Center for Biology will be located in the planned new wing of OC’s Herold Science Hall. The science facility initiative, which will cost $5.8 million, will be completed in three phases. To date, $3.6 million has been raised. The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Inc. in Ardmore has committed $1 million toward the new construction of the science facility initiative. Two families also anonymously gave a total of $1.2 million for the project.

Phase I, the overhaul of labs on the first floor of Herold Science Hall, was completed in 2006. Phase II will complete the renovation of existing science labs and Vose Hall and is scheduled for the summer of 2008.
Following the completion of Phase II and the fundraising effort, a new two-story, 13,000 square foot wing will be added to Herold Science Hall.

Gaither’s husband, David, said, “What a thrill this is for our entire family. Kim loved OC. Oklahoma Christian’s science program is first-rate with great faculty and top-notch students. She loved her experience as a student and her career as a faculty member. The university has made a profoundly positive impact on our lives. What has become crystal clear to me over the last couple of years is the enormous impact Kim had on the lives of her students and colleagues.

“In naming the Kim Gaither Center for Biology, the university said that Kim was the model for learning, for teaching and for living a Christ-centered life,” he said. “Her passion for learning and teaching was surpassed only by her dedication and love for others.”

Gaither graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1981, returned there to teach in 1988 and was serving as Professor of Biology at the time of her death. She received the Gaylord Chair for Distinguished Teaching in 2004.
She held a B.S. degree in Biology/Chemistry from Oklahoma Christian and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Okahoma Health Sciences Center.

She was an active member of the Quail Springs Church of Christ where she taught youth Bible classes and participated in many outreach activities. She is survived by her husband, David, son, Luke, and daughter, Brianna.

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