Earlier this week, Academic Dean Chad Ragsdale shared exciting news regarding OCC's Graduate Studies Department. As Ozark's master's program begins its second year with nearly 90 students enrolled, OCC is thrilled to name the next leader to carry things into the future. Beginning in January 2024, Dr. Michael DeFazio will serve as dean of OCC Graduate Studies. Dr. DeFazio will also continue to serve as a professor of New Testament and hermeneutics.
"A few months ago," Dr. Ragsdale wrote in a memo to Ozark faculty, staff, and students, "Michael and I discussed the possibility of his taking the helm of the department. With the recent completion of his doctoral degree (receiving a Ph.D. in Divinity from the University of Aberdeen), the timing was right. After much prayer and an interview with President Proctor, members of our board of trustees and faculty, and the graduate studies council, Michael accepted our offer to serve in this role."
Chad continued, "Michael is a teacher, preacher, author, scholar, theologian, church elder, husband to Beth, father to Claire and Carson, and friend. After graduating from Ozark in 2005 with a Bachelor of Theology, Michael earned a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Seminary (2007). He has spoken at conferences and churches nationwide, has served on staff at a church in Southern California, and has taught full time at OCC since 2013. Michael has the vision, wisdom, experience, credibility, humility, and—most importantly—love of a servant leader. Michael watches his life and doctrine closely (1 Timothy 4:16) and does his best to present himself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)."
"Michael’s carefulness and Christlike character are the right combination for this role," Chad said. "Former Academic Dean Mark Scott once said the dean’s job is 'to guard the mission like a junkyard dog,' and I am confident that, as dean, Michael will fiercely guard OCC’s mission of training men and women for Christian service."
Please join us in welcoming Michael to his new role, and in praying for him as he begins. Thank God, too, for his faithfulness to Ozark as we continue to make Christ known through the church.