Seven antecedents. Five generations. Two denominations. One OKWU.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. (2 Timothy 1:5 ESV)
The history of Oklahoma Wesleyan University spans a huge geographic and generational space. With such range, it can be easy to give in to the folly of chronological snobbery. This is why it is important that we view our spiritual heritage not just in relation to our own generation, but in relation to the rich tradition that spans the ages of generations gone before, that unifies us in God’s story.
OKWU’s history is clearly about family and our connected stories throughout the years. Each of these generations were unified in the same important idea of seeking an education grounded in the primacy of Jesus Christ, His Word, and His Truth, in order to better serve God, their churches, and communities.
Just take a peek at one example connecting this focus across time:
Betty Lou Harris, Miltonvale Wesleyan College (MWC) – Oklahoma Wesleyan antecedent school, alum of 1965, along with her husband Phil Harris (1967) share an OKWU history that begins with Betty Lou’s grandmother, Grace Woodhams, who graduated in 1919 – during the earliest years of MWC. In addition, her grandma’s brother, Dr. Oliver G. Wilson, graduated from MWC, then taught at MWC, and went on to become a denominational leader and head of The Wesleyan Methodist Publishing House.
Grandma Woodhams then sent her daughter Maxine (1939) to MWC where she met and married Floyd Freiheit (1939). Floyd and Maxine soon sent their daughters, Betty Lou and Kathleen (1964). Then Betty Lou and Phil’s daughter Kari Jo attended Oklahoma Wesleyan University and their son, Scott (1998) graduated from OKWU and completed his MBA as well.
The story continues just as our story within God’s family continues – a testament to the unity of generations within the OKWU family.