Janice and Charles Drake are the recipients of the 2014 Presidential Award, an honor given to a person that the university considers a great friend and supporter of the institution. The Drakes have been contributing to the mission of OKWU almost as soon as they toured the Bartlesville campus with President, Dr. Everett Piper about eight years ago.
The Drakes met Dr. Piper through some friends that they knew on OKWU’s Board of Trustees. Janice recalled that during their first visit with him, “We were immediately impressed with his description of the OKWU mission through the 4 P’s.”
Upon determining they would like to take part in achieving the mission, they have contributed to the construction of several key buildings on campus, which were subsequently named after them.
On their reasoning for support of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, the Drakes are firm in their beliefs: “We strongly believe the very future of this country depends upon our instilling in the future leaders the values which schools like OKWU are ideally suited to provide: Christian focus, truth, independent thought, and openness to debate opposing views.”
The Drakes’ generosity have long been treasured by any who have had the pleasure to work with them. Their appreciation of the way their gifts have been utilized serve as a great affirmation to the university. Dr. Piper has told the OKWU students that the Drakes, “don’t believe in a building; they believe in you.”
The kindness of the Drakes leaves an impression on people, not just for their humility, but because they are spurred on by the ultimate mission given to Christians in Scripture. They clearly understand the big picture when they conclude, “The Lord is well-served by those who go forth from OKWU, and that is of utmost importance.”