After struggling for years, OVU forced to close
Ohio Valley University closed its doors permanently at the end…
My wife is a Pepperdine University graduate, and I graduated from Southwestern Christian College. Four of our five children attended universities associated with Churches of Christ — Harding and Oklahoma Christian.
Were there higher education institutions that were closer and cheaper? Yes. Could we have been educated at a local community college or state school? Sure. But for our family, these things are crucial: the transmission of our family’s values and the cherishing of our spiritual heritage.
This criterion led us to Christian education, and we are happy with the outcome.
Parents are responsible for their children’s moral and spiritual values. Nothing is more important. What is the point of being educated in a climate void of Christian values or dismissive of our beloved heritage?
Attending our schools is not the be-all and end-all in the development of young adults. They also need a solid church to attend and the right peer group to help reinforce our values. But our Christian schools help provide a foundation for healthy growth.
“Attending our schools is not the be-all and end-all in the development of young adults. They also need a solid church to attend and the right peer group to help reinforce our values. But our Christian schools help provide a foundation for healthy growth.”
Southwestern Christian College was transformative for me. I went from being an outsider as a PK (preacher’s kid) at my public high school to being one of the cool kids and a campus leader. I made relationships I still hold to this day. These relationships were grounded in a Christian worldview and reinforced by fellow students, faculty, and administrators. At SWCC, I was introduced to the field of sociology. I would not trade those years for anything. Having watched my children attend Harding and now Oklahoma Christian, I see the same beautiful phenomenon taking place.
Given the importance of Christian education, the recent closing of Ohio Valley University bears reflection. It’s staggering to think that an entire college has shut down.Did OVU have to close? Did the administration do its part in managing the school and its resources? Did local congregations plug in to the school and supply it with students and monies? (My editorial board colleague, Cheryl Bacon, did a masterful job in covering the closure in our January edition.)
Why should families choose universities tied to our spiritual heritage and a Christian worldview? Let me give you four reasons.
1. Our oldest son entered Harding in 2014. He established the Black Student Association and assisted in all facets of the West Pleasure Church of Christ in Searcy, Ark. He grew as a leader and made direct contributions to the strengthening of a sister congregation. One of my proudest moments was talking with the congregation’s minister about my son’s impact. It was wonderful to hear how he served. And he continues serving all these years later.
2. Our middle daughter attended Harding in 2016. She formed friendships that were built around the life of the church. Even now, years later, she remains connected to those same friends who all continue to be involved with their local congregations. The commonness of the church cultivated a friendship between her and her now lifelong friends.
3. Our youngest daughter graduated just this past semester from Harding, earning honors with distinction, and has developed spiritually and academically. Harding has a rigorous science program, and she’s preparing for a career as a dentist. Harding has greatly impacted her development. The McNair Scholars Program and the Honors College have set the tone for her future.
4. Today, our youngest son is a freshman at Oklahoma Christian. He has a strong business acumen and is interested in trading stocks and cryptocurrency. He’s maturing at a school filled with fellow Christians, all preparing to be leaders.
I encourage our readers to consider supporting schools associated with Churches of Christ. Felicia and I are glad we chose Christian education, and we would do it again. Leadership, friendship, academic preparation and service to the local church are all important variables to be considered. I hope you will support them. — John Edmerson, for the Editorial Board
See a special live presentation at 5 p.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Central on Monday, Feb. 7, featuring the Edmerson children. They’ll join our Editorial Board, including their father, to discuss Christian higher education. Watch on our Facebook page.
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