As part of our upcoming “Ready to Go” fundraising campaign, we recently presented a grant proposal to the Mabee Foundation, asking for $760,000 toward dorm renovation. The Mabee Foundation, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was started in 1948 by Christian oilman John E. Mabee and his wife Lottie to provide aid for Christian organizations, including Christian colleges. In the past, they gave funds for our Mabee Student Center.
Though our last request to the Mabee Foundation (for the Missions Building expansion) was not granted, we were hopeful they would look favorably on this proposal. The good news: the Mabee Foundation did something they rarely do. Instead of $760,000, they offered a $1.3 million grant if we would consider naming a dorm in honor of the Mabees. Such an amount is enough to completely renovate an entire dorm.
Last week, the OCC Trustee Board voted unanimously to accept the grant and rename Dennis Hall as Mabee Hall. In years past when we renamed a dorm—changing Seth Hall to Strong Hall—we were able to continue honoring Seth Wilson with his name now on our library. Likewise, as we change Dennis Hall to Mabee Hall, we will continue honoring Mr. D.O. Dennis (a longtime Ozark trustee from Gilbert, Arkansas) with his name now on our trustee conference room in the Casteel Administration Building.
Dorm names carry sentimental value to those who have lived there, so the OCC leadership did not make this decision lightly. But—perhaps providentially—this decision was reached at the first time in Ozark’s history that an alumna of Dennis Hall sat on the Board. Trustee Karolyn Schrage said this was “an incredible answer to prayer for financial blessing,” and she wrote, “As a former Dennis Hall resident, I would have no hesitation in renaming this dorm, especially for the progress needed for future students.”
Indeed, we are grateful to God for his generous provision through the Mabees. I had the opportunity to communicate both the upcoming name change and forthcoming dorm renovation to the ladies of Dennis Hall and residence directors Kim and Del Camp. As I shared with them, the dorm name may change, but the dorm community will not. This gift simply ensures that the same rich relationships my daughter Lydia experienced in Dennis Hall will be shared for many generations to come—no “maybe” about it.
One final note: while we closed Alumni Hall to renovate the whole dorm at once over the course of a year, we now (thankfully) have too many students to close another dorm for a year. Subsequent dorm renovations—including Dennis-soon-to-be-Mabee Hall—will be done in phases over multiple summers, and the Dennis Hall renovation will begin this summer, at which point the name change will officially occur.
The Lord remains true to his promise in Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Please join me in thanking God for generous Christian givers like the Mabees, for the needed dorm renovation these dollars will accomplish, and for the life-on-life discipleship our dorm communities provide as we train men and women for Christian service.
P.S. For more on our upcoming capital campaign, contact Executive Vice President of Advancement Jim Dalrymple, or give now at occ.edu/give.