Gaither honored by new biology wing
Friday, December 7, 2007
By Ryan Holly
beloved biology professor, Dr. Kim Gaither died of breast cancer in
2005. The life and love Gaither shared with Oklahoma Christian
University is now going to be remembered through the Dr. Kim Gaither
Center for Biology.
“When you have the opportunity to perpetuate the memory of someone
who is so, so special you should take that opportunity. What we don’t
want to happen is for future students not to understand the kind of
person that Dr. Gaither was,” Vice President for Advancement John
deSteiguer said. “By naming this the Dr. Kim Gaither Center for
Biology, we really want to make sure that her story continues to be
told to inspire future generations of students.”
The Dr. Kim Gaither Center for Biology will be a component of the
science facility initiative. This initiative consists of three phases
and is estimated to cost $5.8 million.
The Dr. Kim Gaither Center for Biology will be a component of Phase
Three, a 13,000 square foot wing just to the north of Harold Science
People are uniting to raise funds for this initiative.
“Lots of folks on campus and off campus have been involved in the fund
raising effort. David Gaither, Kim’s husband, has been really
supportive and involved. He has been the critical individual in making
much of the fund raising take place,” deSteiguer said. “The science
initiative is a 5.8 million project. We have raised $3.6 million so
far. The Kim Gaither fund is part of that but not the entire thing.
There has been close to $360,000 raised so far in memory of Dr.
The money that is being raised will serve as a foundation for academic advancement.
“I would want future students to know how courageous she was. I
would want them to know about her endurance and her attitude toward
life and the dedication she had to her students. She would be there for
her students no matter what even if she would be in a wheelchair or
whether she was horribly ill. She would be there because she knew what
was important. Her positive attitude was so steady,” Gaither’s daughter
and Oklahoma Christian freshman Brianna Gaither said. “The courage that
she would show at the university is the same that she would show at
home. The attitude and courage she had was based in the foundation she
had in Jesus Christ and the faith she had in that foundation.”
Gaither graduated with a B.S. degree in Biology/Chemistry from
Oklahoma Christian in 1981. Gaither went on to earn M.S. and Ph.D.
degrees in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Oklahoma
Health Sciences Center.
She returned to Oklahoma Christian in 1988 to serve as professor of
biology and earned the Gaylord Chair for Distinguished Teaching in
2004. Gaither impacted others both on and off campus.
“Dr. Gaither was such a beloved person, professor, friend and colleague
here, and it was very obvious that she impacted many, many lives, on
campus and off campus as well,” deSteiguer said. “She was a model
student here years ago, not only excelling in the classroom
academically but also by being very involved musically on campus. She
had a beautiful voice, and she always made her mark here. The last 17
years as a faculty member she has made a great impact on the students.”
The Dr. Kim Gaither Center for Biology keeps Gaither’s memory alive within the campus community.
“It’s surreal. I cannot comprehend the true meaning and worth of
this honor. I think it is an incredible tribute to the person she was,
to the amount of commitment she had to the sciences and to how much of
her life she poured out to everyone around her. It is really
encouraging to see this life being poured back to her,” Brianna Gaither