Oklahoma Christian University students who have recently lost a parent, sibling or child gathered this past Friday for the dedication of a new area on campus in honor of those who have passed.
Hartman Place, located north of the Mabee Learning Center, was built as a quiet place for students to pray, spend time with one another and remember lost loved ones.
“This area is in place for anyone on campus that needs a quiet moment to remember someone or reflect on the past,” Dean of Student Life Neil Arter said. “They can either sit and enjoy the beauty of Hartman Place or even chalk a memory on the slate in the designated area.”
The area was built at the request of donors Luke and Kate Hartman, along with others. Hartman Place honors the entire Hartman family that has been a longtime supporter of Oklahoma Christian.
According to Arter, Marshall Hartman, the patriarch of the family as well as the father of Bible professor Kent Hartman, was passionate about Christian education and missions.
“The name designation is really for the entire Hartman family that have been longtime supporters of OC from the beginning,” Arter said. “The Hartmans are from Western Oklahoma and have attended OC for generations.”
Resident Director and alumna Kelcy Nash and her sister, sophomore Kacy Nash, participated in the dedication by honoring their brother, Kyle, whom they lost in June 2014.
Kelcy said that although remembering her brother is still painful, it was encouraging to be surrounded by others who understood her pain.
“I was very reluctant to go to the dedication, as it is still very difficult for me as I go through the grieving process, but what kept me from not attending was that I knew I wouldn’t be alone,” Kelcy said. “To stand next to so many others who have also experienced loss was very comforting.”
Kelcy said she appreciates how Hartman Place allows reflection on the lives of lost loved ones and helps keep their memory alive.
“I love that it is designed for reflection,” Kelcy said. “Anyone can come to it and simply remember their loved ones. When you experience loss, you often fear that your loved one will be forgotten, so to have a place dedicated to remembering them and our favorite memories is wonderful.”
Junior Will Cooke also participated in the dedication in honor of his father, who passed away the summer before Cooke’s freshman year at Oklahoma Christian.
Cooke said Hartman Place brings serenity to campus and allows students to take time to reflect.
“The waterfall is super peaceful, and I love that,” Cooke said. “But it’s also a place that if you want to pray and remember a loved one or just have a good quiet time, you can do that also. It’s really neat how they made it so peaceful on such a busy campus.”
Arter said he hopes the new area will allow both students and employees to take time each day to cherish moments and celebrate life.
“I hope that we will all work into our routine a chance to slow down and take a look around us,” Arter said. “See the beauty that God has blessed us with and appreciate what we have.”
According to Arter, Hartman Place gives students another aspect of Oklahoma Christian to be proud of.
“Students should always have pride in their school and in their campus, so I hope that is a side benefit of this new area,” Arter said. “Students should also note the desire and commitment that OC has to community. We need more places for community to happen.”
Arter said Hartman Place will support community growth on campus in the future.
“Community can happen in the student center, chapel or about anywhere on campus, but we are all encouraged and excited to see community grow in areas like Hartman Place,” Arter said. “I’ve already seen senior pictures being taken, friend groups posing for pictures and I look forward to the graduation celebrations that will happen in that area later this month.”