Todd Lamb, Ed Shadid offer support as Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City holds grand opening

Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City hosted community leaders and special guests at a “grand opening” open house held this week at its facility occupying 35,000 square feet at 7101 Northwest Expressway. Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb extended formal greetings in welcoming the new private institution to the Sooner State’s capital city. 

Brown Mackie began operations on August 1. The college’s Salina president, Judy Holmes, said opening of the Oklahoma City branch was a sign of the institution’s dedication to “this city, state and region.” One other state campus, in Tulsa, is already in business. 

In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Holmes said the two-year private college is a strong supporter of scholarship programs, and has become involved in Oklahoma’s Promise, which allows use of some taxpayer resources to assist with student tuition. 

Holmes noted the institution has internal scholarships using money raised from staff and vendors, and active programs to work on scholarships in cooperation with employers. She pointed to military and tribal programs that will assist students with expenses.  Holmes told CapitolBeatOK the institution welcomed other scholarship programs to empower students to pursue higher education in affordable ways. 

Holmes said the city as a whole, and the northwest part of town in particular, were selected for the new campus based on market research, and identification of student needs. After looking at several sites, the location on Meridian and Northwest Highway seemed like a natural. 

Danny Finuf, president of the entire Brown Mackie system, said the school had spent $10 million in all to get the new institution operating. In all, Brown Mackie has 25 sites in its nationwide system. Finuf said the college’s goal is to prepare students who are “competitive in a rapidly changing world and workplace.”  John Fogarty is now working as president of the Oklahoma City campus. 

Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid, speaking in his own behalf and representing Mayor Mick Cornett, praised arrival of the new privately-funded school. He observed the community is rejoicing in the lowest unemployment rate of any big city in America, yet dealing with some 4 million square feet of empty retail space. Shadid praised the “healthy retrofitting” of the old Brixton Square movie theatres’ space into the new college site.

Shadid saluted Brown Mackie for becoming deeply involved in support of Positive Tomorrows, a local school on Classen Boulevard supporting homeless children. “This is a very heartening example of good corporate citizenship. I salute you,” he told college leaders and students. 

Susan Agel, president of Positive Tomorrows, attended along with a large number of students from the grade school. 

In a statement provided to CapitolBeatOK, Agel said, “We look forward to a long-time partnership with Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City, and truly value them as an asset for our students. We share so many of the same educational goals and cannot thank Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City enough for their willingness to help support and encourage our students’ education.” 

Brown Mackie staff and students have contributed school supplies, personal care items and in other ways supported the homeless youth. Cindy Schrader, senior director of admissions for the school, said students at the college and the inner-city school have much in common. 

She reflected, ““After visiting Positive Tomorrows and seeing the great work they do, I knew our team would see the similarities between those elementary-aged kids and the students at Brown Mackie College. Both Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City and Positive Tomorrows have a major focus on supporting education against all other odds. That’s something very special to us and we’re honored to help Positive Tomorrows in whatever way we can.”  

Also attending the event was Assistant Commerce Secretary Norma Noble, who represented Commerce Secretary Dave Lopez. Representatives of the State Chamber and other business leaders were in attendance, as well. 

Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City will offer associate’s degree programs in areas of study including health care, legal, business, and computers. Specific courses include Accounting Technology, Business Management, Health Care Administration, Medical Assisting, Office Management, and Paralegal.
The school’s education model is designed to work with student availability and offers the option of one class lasting for an intensive month of studies, tailored to the schedules of working people and young students beginning their academic careers.

Brown Mackie – Oklahoma City, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a member of the North Central Association, and was granted authority to operate in the state by the Regents for Higher Education