Oakland City University

Not to be confused with Oakland University.
Oakland City University
Motto Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve
Type private coeducational
Established 1885 (details)
Affiliation General Association of General Baptists
Endowment Unreported
President Dr. Ray G. Barber
Academic staff
Undergraduates 2,350
Location Oakland City, IN, USA
38°20′24″N 87°21′06″W / 38.3399°N 87.3518°W / 38.3399; -87.3518Coordinates: 38°20′24″N 87°21′06″W / 38.3399°N 87.3518°W / 38.3399; -87.3518
Campus small town: 50 acres
Athletics 21 NCAA Division II Independent teams[1]
Colors White and Columbia Blue
Nickname Mighty Oaks
Website www.oak.edu

Oakland City University, abbreviated as OCU, is a coeducational, small-town, private university in Oakland City in eastern Gibson County, about 25 miles (40 km) north and slightly east of Evansville in Southwestern Indiana, United States. Oakland City University is the only General Baptist Church-affiliated college in the United States. Its founding was in 1885; it has slowly grown to the present student enrollment of about 120 on the main campus and, counting all sites, about 2,000 total. OCU's teams, called the Oaks, play in the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) and NCAA Division II, where they are strong and have won many CCNIT national titles over the years.

In addition to the institution's Oakland City Main Campus, the university has satellite campuses in Indianapolis, Evansville, Rockport and Bedford where they hold classes for busy adults. The Bedford branch is housed in the former headquarters of the Indiana Limestone Company.[2] These sites utilize the adult learning model that emphasizes experiential application to objectives and theory. Students from a wide age range attend, learning from three sources: the texts, their instructors (who work in the field they teach), and from each other. Courses are provided in an accelerated pace and condensed format, much like how summer school operates in more traditional programs. Students may take one or two courses at a time and enroll as full-time. They focus on learning business techniques and communication skills which build stronger career skills that can easily be translated to working situations. Another program strength comes from flexibility to transfer credits from prior accredited learning.


In June 1885, the Educational Board of General Baptists organized and then gained a charter from the state of Indiana to operate a college at Oakland City. However, because of a lack of funds, the first building, a two-story brick structure housing the administration and classrooms, was not complete until 1891the same year Oakland City College opened its doors for classes. In those early days, the school was called "the college on the hill."

By the mid-1920s, the school had reached a zenith for the first half of the century. There were several college buildings gracing the grounds, including an expanded administration building, Wheatley Hall, a women's dorm, a field house, Memorial Gym (which housed a library in the basement), Cronbach Hall, a building used for agricultural and industrial arts classes, and a two-story brick building called the president's house. Beside the normal, liberal arts and theological school, the college had added a large industrial and agricultural department to respond to the vocational needs of the rural area it served.

Sports teams of the 1920s, included basketball, baseball, football, and track. Teams regularly played Indiana State University, Evansville College, University of Louisville, and Ball State. By the mid-1920s a legion of clubs could also be found on campus. Among them were the YMCA, Phi Alpha Literary Society, Germanae Literacy Society, Athenian Literacy and debating team, a standard debating team, the ETOSCA club, the Dramatic League, the French Club, the German Club, the Glee Club, the college orchestra, and the college band. Enrollment during these prosperous times often broached 1,000 students a semester.

Sadly, this comfortable world came to a screeching halt in 1930 with the coming of the Great Depression. Grimly, the school held on with faculty and staff often forgoing paychecks to keep the school running. The end of World War II and the GI Bill saw a resurgence in enrollment and, by the mid-1960s, the "college on the hill" experienced an upswing comparable to the 1920s. Several new buildings now crowned the campus including four dormitories, a new library, Brengle Hall, a science building, and Stinson Hall, a classroom building containing an auditorium.

The good times did not last. The winding down of the war in Vietnam wrought a substantial drop in enrollment. By the fall term of 1973, the college found itself with an abundance of empty dorm rooms.

Fortunately, the sponsoring denomination, the General Baptist, rallied around the school by making an intense effort to raise funds to keep the school open. They also made the important decision of hiring a retiring Marine Colonel and General Baptist minister, James Murray, as the college president. Dr. Murray's success was nothing short of miraculous. In the 1990s the college moved to university status under Murray's leadership. Presently the school has an enrollment of 2,000 and has seen the construction of six new buildings in the last few years. Today, the university stands fully accredited and offers five graduate degrees and over 40 undergraduate programs.

Accreditation and facts

Oakland City University is accredited by the following:

OCU has historically been a strong teacher education institution in the state and has provided many of the teachers for schools in the surrounding area. It has been regarded as one of the finest teacher institutions in the nation. The instructional staff has had many years of experience in the elementary, junior high/middle school and secondary schools a prime requisite for approval of a teacher education program by the Indiana Department of Education.

Campus Life

While Oakland City itself does not have many restaurants and stores, it is only a 30-minute drive away from Evansville, IN which has many attractions and restaurants. However, the school is close to popular student hangouts such as Monroe Pizza Company, Denny's, and during the summer, Junee Bee's. The student life center also houses Holy Grounds, which serves Starbucks products.

The campus has 4 dorms-- 2 female and 2 male. Student Government along with student life host fun activities throughout the school year. Dorm Wars is the biggest ongoing event and many individual events contribute to the dorms' overall points.

Chapel service is every Wednesday at 11 AM, but students are not required to attend. Student led worship occurs every Wednesday evening at 812.


Oakland City teams participate as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division II. The Mighty Oaks are affiliated with no athletic conference; therefore, they're competing as an NCAA D-II Independent. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer and tennis; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, cheerleading, and volleyball. The OCU PepBand performs at basketball games.

Schools and departments

Notable alumni


  1. "NCAA Member Schools Sorted By State: All Divisions". NCAA. Retrieved 2006-01-24.
  2. "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-05-01. Note: This includes Robert K. Poinsett and Craig Charron (January 1993). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Indiana Limestone Company Building" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-01. and Accompanying photographs.
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