From the parade to the pep rally and the basketball games, Homecoming is full of things to do, but not often is an individual recognized other than those on the court.
This year was an exception: Oklahoma Christian alumni Jeff, Connie, Tim and Steve McCormack had a pergola built outside the Beam Library in honor of their mother and father, Lottie and Joe McCormack.
The family unveiled the structure Saturday, Nov. 2, after the Homecoming parade. They dedicated it to Joe and Lottie along with many other friends and faculty, including John deSteiguer, who spoke at the event.
Lottie and Joe played a major role in establishing Oklahoma Christian’s international studies program and are a primary reason why the global population on campus is thriving.
“The McCormack Place” is the name of the pergola, with an engraved stone underneath it reading, “Celebrating the journey of Joe and Lottie McCormack from Tipton to Tokyo and into the world. In recognition of their commitment to international studies, November 2, 2019.”
Tipton references Tipton, OK, where Joe and Lottie first met.
Everything, from the ceremony to the building, was kept as a surprise from Joe and Lottie until the day of the event.
“It was a great surprise and we were able to keep it from them,” Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences Jeff McCormack said. “I think a big reason we were able to keep it from them was we had a birthday party planned for [Joe’s] 80th birthday and they knew about that, so it was no surprise that people from all over were coming into town.”
McCormack said one challenge for the family was keeping all of the donations a secret.
“This whole thing was funded through donations,” McCormack said. “The money was donated by people from all over who wanted to support the recognition.”
After the dedication, the group of 85 to 100 people proceeded to the second floor of the library to celebrate Joe’s 80th birthday.
“The party was wonderful,” McCormack said. “We had it on the second floor of the learning center, which is where so much of his teaching took place. It was perfect timing because there were a number of people who were in town for Homecoming who would not have been able to make it otherwise.”
In addition to all the friends, family from all over came into town to celebrate.
“My brother came in from Boston,” McCormack said. “I have another brother and sister that live in the Oklahoma City area; three of our children were here. A son and daughter-in-law who both graduated from Oklahoma Christian [were here] and then two daughters and one of our grandchildren, so their great-grandchild was here, which was super cool.”
The McCormack Place is located outside the library on the path leading to the Davisson American Heritage Building (DAH) .