By MACU Staff
From June 23–26, 2014, the Church of God community in the Sooner State welcomes guests from far and near who will be attending the Church of God Convention. An integral part of that Church of God community in Oklahoma is Mid-America Christian University. How much do you know about the connection between MACU and the Church of God?
“Our relationship with the Church of God is of immense importance to Mid-America Christian University (MACU),” Dr. John Fozard, MACU president explains. “Many may not realize that this school was established to meet the need for a ministry training center in our nation’s central region. We’re proud that the founder of this school, a Church of God pastor in Houston, Texas, answered that call! Now in the midst of the school’s sixtieth anniversary, we look back and celebrate the faithfulness of God. It remains our sacred calling to prepare the next generation of Church of God pastoral and ministry leadership, and to apply that same vigilance to equipping Christian leaders for every area of society.”
Mid-America was established originally as South Texas Bible Institute (STBI) in Houston, Texas, on September 14, 1953, by Dr. Max R. Gaulke. The college utilized the facilities of the First Church of God. Dr. Gaulke served as president from 1953 to 1975. The first class began with twenty-six students but steadily gained in popularity among those seeking pastoral and ministry training, but also among those in the community seeking higher education from a Christian perspective.
STBI responded to this demand in the fall of 1955 by restructuring from a three-year institute to a four-year. In that same year, the board of trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Gulf-Coast Bible College (GBC). This allowed the school to move toward possible accreditation and the acceptance of GBC credits by other colleges and universities.
Expansion and Accreditation
In 1966, Gulf-Coast Bible College became an associate member of the American Association of Bible Colleges (AABC). Full membership was granted by the AABC, in 1968, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the regional accrediting association, granted GBC full accreditation in 1978.
The relationship between the college and the Church of God formally began in June 1968, when the university was known as Gulf-Coast Bible College (GBC), and was still located in Houston, Texas. In June of that year, GBC became a general agency of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana). As a result of this action by the General Assembly, the GBC was granted representation on the Executive Council of the Church of God and full membership on the Commission on Higher Education of the Church of God.
The Move to Oklahoma City
In 1975, John W. Conley became the second president of GBC, serving until 1988. In 1983, without sufficient room for expansion at the Houston location and after a lengthy study of the situation, it was determined that the college should be relocated to Oklahoma City. On May 9, 1984, ground was broken for the new campus, and the new campus dedication occurred in September 1985. In recognition of the relocation, the college was renamed: Mid-America Christian Bible College.
Moving to Oklahoma City placed the college under a new regional accreditation body, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1989, Forrest Robinson, a board member at that time and a graduate of Gulf-Coast Bible College, was named interim president after President Conley stepped down. In 1990, Robinson was named the third president of the college. Robinson served nine years as president and retired in 1999.
Dr. John Fozard Named President
In June of 1999, Board of Trustee member Dr. John D. Fozard became president and continues in that role today. As president, Dr. Fozard has played a significant role in securing the financial stability of the university. As further indication of the institution’s growth, the college was renamed Mid-America Christian University in 2002.
Notably, President Fozard spearheaded an unprecedented recruitment campaign that led to a 169 percent increase in student enrollment between the years of 2009–2012. Currently, the university is in the midst of a campus-enhancement campaign called “Building a Greater Campus Community.” As part of the campaign, Mid-America Christian University dedicated a 32,000-sq.-ft. academic building called Kennedy Hall on January 10, 2014. The building was constructed debt free. In November 2013, Mid-America broke ground for a new 30,000-sq.ft. residence hall that is expected to open in time for fall 2014 classes. The newly renovated and expanded Student Center will open later this spring.
Welcome, Church of God Convention!
“We are very excited to welcome the Church of God Convention to Oklahoma City!” Fozard exclaims. “I think people will be pleased and surprised by what they see. In many ways, Mid-America’s growth and success reflect that of Oklahoma City itself. This will provide a great opportunity for Church of God friends and their college-bound children to visit the MACU campus during their free time. We’d love to show them around and celebrate what God is doing at MACU.”