It’s safe to say that without the legacy of the Lacy and Walker families, OKWU’s campus would be a lot different—both physically and spiritually.
D.W. Lacy served as President of the Colorado Springs Bible Training School from 1945-1948, taking up leadership during a tumultuous time for the school. A recent split had reduced numbers all across campus, and the future was uncertain. Nevertheless, Lacy pressed onward. “He believed the call was from God,” said Verla Powers, Lacy’s daughter, during her address at this year’s Foster Bonanza dinner. “And he answered.”
Half a century later, his grandson-in-law, Don Walker, would take a position on the OKWU Board of Trustees. During his initial tour of the campus, he remembers seeing a familiar place in a painting on the wall.
“We started our tour in the student center, which at the time had framed sketches of several of the predecessor universities hanging on the wall,” Walker said during the same ceremony. “When I spotted Colorado Springs Bible College in one of them, I mentioned that my wife’s grandfather had been president there many years ago. I can’t remember who was surprised that I actually knew D.W. Lacy!”
Years later, Walker was part of the group tasked with constructing a student hang-out space on campus. When they decided on a coffee shop and needed a name for it, the choice was clear.
“I can’t remember who came up with the name of Doc Lacy’s, but we loved it,” Walker said. “It’s worked out far better than I ever would have imagined.”
“I know he would be pleased if he could see the beautiful Oklahoma Wesleyan University campus and know that his faith those many years ago has been rewarded in ways he could never have imagined.”
Not Done Yet
Lacy’s path to Christian leadership began as a 17-year-old in Lamar, Colorado, when the members of Pilgrim Holiness Church reached out to him, accepted him, and nurtured the calling of God on his life. The spiritual guidance Lacy received in the church would pay dividends all his life.
“That led him to follow God’s call to attend Colorado Springs Bible Training School, and to go wherever he was called to serve in ministry,” Powers said.
During his time as president, Lacy worked hard to increase the university’s effectiveness, often wearing a variety of hats and performing a variety of tasks that now make up the to-do lists of entire OKWU departments.
“He administered the day-to-day campus activities, taught classes, planned and spoke for chapel services, and served as the institutional fund-raiser,” said Powers.
In addition to his duties at the college, Lacy was a devoted family man. The evidence of his faithfulness in this area is the strong spiritual legacy carried on by his family and the Walker family. His daughter knows he would proud of the university whose legacy he helped to shape.
“Dad always dreamed for the future, and I know he would be pleased if he could see the beautiful Oklahoma Wesleyan University campus and know that his faith those many years ago has been rewarded in ways he could never have imagined,” Powers said. “And most of all, to know that the same kind of faith and spiritual awareness is present on this wonderful campus.”
Walker, for his part, is proud to continue on the BOT in the footsteps of his family legacy, proud to leave an imprint on the university that carries so much meaning for him. “I never imagined that almost 20 years later, I would still be here,” he said. “I am so proud of many of the wonderful changes we have celebrated… God has been so good to Oklahoma Wesleyan, and I am so thankful to have been able to witness all of these incredible things.”
And while it’s helpful and necessary to honor the past, to acknowledge the rich spiritual foundation upon which Oklahoma Wesleyan University rests, Walker is even more excited for what’s to come.
“I do want to proclaim that God isn’t done here yet,” he said. “He is just getting started. If we are faithful to him regarding how we support and manage this university, there is no limit to what He will accomplish through this school.”
Congratulations to the Lacy and Walker families, recipients of the 2021 President’s Award!