Oklahoma Wesleyan University maintains a growing cultural influence, developing a generation of Christians ready to engage their world. To hear OKWU's vision for 2016, we talked to Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, who offered three distinctives marking OKWU's excellence as a Wesleyan university:
1. Continuous Growth
OKWU is a place of growth. In the last 14 years, its enrollment and revenue have tripled. "We continue to have record enrollments with uninterrupted growth," says Dr. Piper.
Founded in 1972 in Bartlesville, OK, Oklahoma Wesleyan now has an undergraduate enrollment of 1,200, offering diverse majors including Nursing, Business, Education and Pastoral Ministry. In 2016, U. S. News ranked it among the top universities in the Western region, ranking #9 in Best Value Schools.
Stewarding its growing voice, OKWU has expanded into institutes that multiply its educational capacities. As a key proponent of Christian apologetics, OKWU houses the Josh McDowell Institute, equipping Christian leaders around the world to share the gospel.
A front runner on the discussion of economic warfare and cyber security, OKWU has established a partnership with the National Security Investment Consultant Institute, monitoring threats to the United States' economy.
Dr. Piper has a bold vision for continued growth. "Our vision for the future is to be financially independent and endowed without any obligation to the Federal Government for Pell grants or student loans," he said.
"Our vision for the future is to be financially independent and endowed without any obligation to the Federal Government for Pell grants or student loans.
As a debt-free institution continuing to improve its campus through new residence halls and academic buildings, Oklahoma Wesleyan is well on its way to achieving this goal.
2. Clear Identity
OKWU's growth rests on a faithful foundation. "The reason for our growth is our bold unapologetic stance on a Biblical worldview and our passion for engaging the public square with that view," shares Dr. Piper. "We're grounded in a very clear identity."
The four cornerstones of Oklahoma Wesleyan are Primacy of Jesus Christ, Priority of Scripture, Pursuit of Truth and Practice of Wisdom, all of which Dr. Piper sees lived out on campus every day.
Graduates of OKWU know excellence in any discipline rests on God-given truths, becoming not only a way of thought, but a way of life and of faith.
"We believe truth is God-given, resting on Biblical inerrancy," explains Dr. Piper. "We're a Biblically-centered university, distinct among Christian colleges because of this view."
"We believe truth is God-given, resting on Biblical inerrancy," explains Dr. Piper. "We're a Biblically-centered university."
3. Commitment to a Public Voice
OKWU's bold, unapologetic stance gives their community a clear voice in the public sphere. Dr. Piper's describes his greatest blessing as leader as the opportunity for a local, regional, and national voice.
"Many today are suggesting the Church stay out of politics, but this is not in line with the Wesleyan tradition. During the Civil War era, Orange Scott and Luther Lee stepped forward and took a stand on the issue of the day: slavery. John Wesley, as well, took a stand in the movement, writing a letter of solidarity to William Wilberforce. Oklahoma Wesleyan does not shrink from that challenge."
Continuing the Wesleyan legacy, Oklahoma Wesleyan is outspoken in the public square, bringing salt to American culture through Biblical truth. Dr. Piper regularly travels to state and national political gatherings to speak on issues of religious freedom and Christian ethics.
"God has put us at the point of the spear in terms of cultural engagement," shares Dr. Piper.
"God has put us at the point of the spear in terms of cultural engagement."
Growing and grounded in a clear Christian identity, Oklahoma Wesleyan continues to prepare and equip students to engage their communities and cultural contexts in every field of study.
To see what else OKWU is doing, visit the Oklahoma Wesleyan's website.
Gabriela Garver is a staff writer for Education and Clergy Development. Recently returned from a year studying in Istanbul, Turkey, Gabriela is finishing her undergrad degree in International Relations at Indiana Wesleyan University. To read more about Gaby and the ECD Writing Staff, click here.