January 29, 2020
Written by Emma Baldwin, Senior English Major
Sam Thomas made his mark at OKWU, and he’s continuing to make his mark in the next phase of his life.
After years of studying, skateboarding, music-playing, coffee-making (coffee-drinking), and relationship-building on OKWU’s campus, Thomas, a 2019 graduate of OKWU’s School of Ministry and Christian Thought, is furthering his education and getting involved in a new community. The memories he has from his time at OKWU and the people he shared it with are positive.
Sam was introduced to OKWU at a church summer camp that he attended in high school. The university had sent a team to the camp and, after hearing about the school, Sam decided to visit the campus. “I knew I wanted to study theology in some capacity,” he said. “And because I knew about OKWU from the camp teams, I went and visited, and it just felt right.”
Encouraged by the ministry department and having earned scholarships in music and golf, Sam felt peace about his OKWU decision and decided to join the community.
During his time at OKWU, Thomas worked as an RA, which allowed him to get to know a lot of other people on campus. “Probably the best part of my OKWU experience was the friendships I made,” he said.
“From watching him lead worship in chapel to throwing the frisbee on the intramural fields, he always had a positive attitude and made everyone around him feel unique.”
He says that his relationships with the broader OKWU body were encouraged by his role as an RA and that building community was a natural result. Thomas was challenged during his last year at OKWU. Greek class, upper division classes, and a stressful amount of essays proved more than a little overwhelming. However, he’s able to look back on the experience positively.
“I felt they [the upper division classes] prepared me for graduate school well, and I’m very thankful for those classes and those professors,” he said.
Today, Thomas is pursuing his master’s degree in religious studies at the University of Kansas back in his hometown, Lawrence, Kansas. He also works as a barista at an award-winning cafe, 1900 Barker. When he isn’t making coffee or drowning in homework, Sam still takes time to skateboard. He also uses his free time to write and perform songs.
Thomas meant a lot to the people he was close with at OKWU, and God will continue to use him as he shares God’s love on the University of Kansas campus. Jacob Feickert, OKWU Admissions Counselor and a personal friend of Sam, recognizes the impact that Sam had at OKWU.
“Sam’s energy and love for God was very evident on campus,” Feickert said. “From watching him lead worship in chapel to throwing the frisbee on the intramural fields, he always had a positive attitude and made everyone around him feel unique. We love having students like Sam on this campus.”
OKWU is certainly blessed by its strong and passionate students, and it’s encouraging to see how they are using the gifts God has given them and the experiences they’ve had to do something big for Christ.
For more information about OKWU’s School of Ministry and Christian Thought, click here.