In the years to come, deSteiguer said, he expects to see the university establish itself in athletics within the NCAA Division II Heartland Conference. The university left the NAIA's Sooner Conference to join the Heartland Conference this year.
Glen Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma Higher Education System, said leading a university is a great responsibility. A president must “blend the truths which are timeless with the realities that we know today,” Johnson said.
At a time when officials look for ways to produce more credentialed workers, colleges and universities play an increasingly important role in the state's welfare, he said.
Johnson has called for an additional 20,400 degrees and certificates to be awarded in Oklahoma over the next 12 years, and said the state's private colleges and universities are key partners in that effort.
Monday was Oklahoma Christian's first day of classes. Although the day marked a transition for the university, deSteiguer noted that the installation ceremony was grounded in tradition. The ceremony included elements of the chapel service that has marked the beginning of the new academic year since the university was founded in 1950.
“Tradition is a powerful thing,” he said.