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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Gillham recruits international students

Friday, September 21, 2007  
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By Kimberlee Rhodes

As Oklahoma Christian University’s only international recruiter, Greg Gillham is building up a lot of frequent flier miles.

Gillham came to the university in 2006 and helped bring more than 60 students to university’s campus since then.

“I love my job,” Gillham said. “I love having the opportunity to work with university students from many countries and helping them gain the chance to get a Christian education at OC.”

Traveling about two to three times a year, Gillham helps make strong relationships with several countries including Australia, Korea, and Japan.

“My strategy has been to go to countries that are sending many students to the U.S. and with which OC has strong connections,” Gillham said. 

Oklahoma Christian has solid relationships with China, Japan, and South Korea because of the Pacific Rim study abroad program, making those countries ideal places to start recruiting.

“Right now, there are about 137 students, [at Oklahoma Christian] representing about 35 different countries,” Gillham said.

“I would like to visit Africa because of our strong relationship with Rwanda and because we get many inquiries from prospective students in African countries. I’ve focused on recruiting in Asia first, and in the future, I hope to also travel to Latin America and Europe,” Gillham said.

Gillham not only recruits students, but is also a valuable connection once they arrive.

“Greg is really the front door for international students,” Director of International Programs, John Osborne, said.

Applications for international students are complex, so Gillham aids applicants and once the student gets their green card, he helps incorporate them into the university.

Gillham’s next destinations are Japan and China, where he will stay for two to three weeks, encouraging potential students to become part of Oklahoma Christian’s community.

“I try to market OC as a safe, friendly, Christian environment,” Gillham said. “In other countries people only know about big schools on the east and west coast. Some have never even heard of Oklahoma.”

Gillham says since Oklahoma Christian is in a large metropolitan area but is still a small university the community aspect is a big selling point for international students.
Most students in Asia live primarily in or around big cities, so they like the idea of being in a smaller area.

“I can honestly market OC as a good value,” Gillham said. “OC doesn’t charge extra fees for out of state or international students because we’re private. Also, students are able to apply for academic scholarships.”

Financial assistance is not the only motivation for students to pursue attending Oklahoma Christian.

“Technology is another intriguing aspect to potential students,” Gillham said. “Our wireless campus along with our strong academic program is very important to students, especially engineering students.”

Gillham also recruits students who are not of the Christian faith. She hopes that even though they are here for what Oklahoma Christian has to offer academically, they will benefit from the Christian atmosphere as well.

Gillham is not the only one excited about international students on campus. Several American students at Oklahoma Christian have built strong and lasting relationships with the international students.

“Going to school with international students has been a blessing,” sophomore, Alex McCumber, said. “I love being able to experience different cultures here on campus. It’s always interesting to see a new perspective on things.”

Gillham will set out to leave for his next trip the beginning of October.

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