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OCU plans interfaith dedication to honor late religion professor

John Starkey

As part of Oklahoma City University’s graduation celebrations, the university will dedicate one of beloved professor John Starkey’s favorite spots on campus in his honor. The public is invited to attend the interfaith tree and bench dedication at 1 p.m. May 6 as friends and family celebrate Starkey’s life and commitment to serving others.

At the time of his passing last January, the dedicated Millhouse Professor of Theology had earned numerous honors, including Outstanding Faculty Award in 2006, the Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award in 2014-15, the Excellence in Teaching Award for Full-Time Faculty in 2009, and Distinguished Honors Professor in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2012.

Those who knew Starkey were greatly impacted by his teaching and challenging questions, and his legacy is most embodied by the tributes given by his students and colleagues. He spent more than two decades devoted to his students and others at Oklahoma City University.

“John Starkey had a profound impact on our university and demonstrated his love for others and the world around him every day,” said the Rev. Elizabeth Horton-Ware, director of religious life at OCU. “We hope to honor his memory by gathering as a community and celebrating his incredible life.”

Dr. Starkey could often be seen taking a walk around campus and enjoying its various beautification projects. In honor and celebration of his love for nature and trees, representatives of various faiths will hold the tree and bench dedication ceremony near the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel. Parking will be available on the east end of Noble Drive and in the Kramer School of Nursing parking lots.