Oakland City University

Oakland City University (OCU) is a private university affiliated with the General Baptist Church and located in Oakland City, Indiana. It is the only General Baptist Church-affiliated college or university in the United States. Founded in 1885, it has slowly grown to the present student enrollment of about 1,200 on the main campus and, counting all sites, about 2,000 total. OCU's athletics teams, known as the Oaks, play in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the River States Conference.

Oakland City University
Oakland City University logo.jpg
MottoEnter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve
TypePrivate university
Established1885 (details)
Religious affiliation
General Association of General Baptists
PresidentRon D. Dempsey
Academic staff

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
CampusSmall town
ColorsWhite and Columbia blue
NicknameMighty Oaks
Sporting affiliations
NAIARSC (2020)[1]

In addition to the institution's Oakland City main campus, the university has satellite campuses in Evansville, Indianapolis, Rockport and Bedford. The Bedford branch is housed in the former headquarters of the Indiana Limestone Company.[2] These sites emphasizes experiential application over objectives and theory. Students from a wide age range attend OCU. 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.


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 1891—the 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. The college offered several sports and clubs, and enrollment during this period often exceeded 1,000 students a semester.

The Great Depression hit the school hard, and faculty and staff often forwent 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 were constructed on the campus including four dormitories, a new library, Brengle Hall, a science building, and Stinson Hall.

By the fall term of 1973, enrollment had dropped considerably. The sponsoring denomination, the General Baptists, made a successful effort to raise funds to keep the school open and hired James Murray as the college president. 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.


Oakland City University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and Association of Theological Schools. The business programs on the main campus are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.



Oakland City teams participate as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Mighty Oaks were previously an NCAA Division II Independent.

In March 2020, the university was approved for membership into the NAIA and it was simultaneously announced that the Mighty Oaks would begin competition in the River States Conference starting in the 2020–21 academic year.[1] The university was a previous member of the NAIA and the River States Conference, then known as Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC).[1] 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.

Schools and departmentsEdit

  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Education
  • Chapman Seminary
  • School of Business
  • School of Adult and Extended Learning
  • Chapman School of Religious Study

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b c VSN Staff (31 March 2020). "NAIA Approves Five Institutions for Membership". Victory Sports Network. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  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.

External linksEdit