Oklahoma Christian considers name change

Wednesday, October 15th 2008, 2:13 pm
By: News 9

By Audrey Esther, News9.com INsite Team 

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For students at Oklahoma Christian University practicing their faith goes hand in hand with higher education.

"Our purpose really gets down to faith, scholarship and service," said Dr. Nathan Mellor Vice President for Community Engagement and Chief of Staff.

Besides faith, education and service lately something else has students talking.

"I was pretty shocked when I heard about it," Oklahoma Christian University junior Sophia Mckean said.

Mckean and others are shocked about discussion of renaming the university. Officials said if they were to rename the school it is possible the new name would not include the word Oklahoma or the word Christian.  

"We have so many institutions with similar names and so when you're talking with somebody about the different universities there is an alphabet soup situation that comes along with all the letters," Mellor said.

Officials have tabled the issue for now, but Mellor said it has not been dismissed.

"For right now, we decided it's just not the time to ask the question because it's an emotional topic and it's one that we want to make sure we can talk about when it's time," he said.

Student body president Colby Simonds says most of the students he has spoke with are against renaming the school and not including the words Oklahoma or Christian.  

"We're proud to live in Oklahoma and we're proud to be Christians," he said. "So I guess we don't want to lose any of that identity."

More than 2,300 students enrolled at the Oklahoma City campus this year, which is a record. Mellor said it's possible that renaming the school could help increase enrollment particularly with international students and help Oklahoma Christian become a more 'global' university.

"When you're looking at how do you connect with people on a global level some may not feel as positively about the name Christian as those in our area," he said.  

Any move to change the university's name would have to be deliberate Mellor said.  The next step is to take a step back and revisit the issue later this year. If and when university officials decide to change the name it would ultimately be up to the board of trustees.