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General Franks to deliver commencement address

Thursday, August 16, 2007  
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General Tommy Franks, retired four-star general and former Commander-and-Chief of the United States Central Command, will deliver the address at Oklahoma Christian University's (OC) summer commencement. The graduation ceremony is this Saturday, August 18, at 2 p.m. in the Hardeman Auditorium located on the Oklahoma Christian campus.

At the culmination of an almost four-decade military career, the country saw General Franks lead American and Coalition troops in two strategically unprecedented campaigns in two years – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A decorated service man, General Franks has earned several awards including five Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, four Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts, as well as various foreign awards. In 2004, General Franks was awarded the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Since his retirement in 2003, General Franks has traveled the world, speaking on leadership, character and the value of democracy. He also became a best-selling author when his autobiography, American Soldier, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2004.

"General Franks has had an immense impact on our country and our hope is that he will inspire our students to change our country and the world," OC president Dr. Mike E. O'Neal said.

Commencement will include 61 degree candidates from the university's Fast Track MBA program along with 14 bachelor candidates from OC's three colleges – arts and sciences, biblical studies and professional studies – and one candidate from the Master of Arts in Ministry program.

W. L. Fletcher, III will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for his commitment to serving the church, his family and community.

Fletcher, a 40-year veteran of the insurance business in the San Diego area, dedicated much of his time to establishing groups that benefit others, especially young people. He helped found the San Diego Christian Foundation, serving as chair for 18 years.

Fletcher currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Christian Chronicle and for the past 22 years, the Board of Regents for Pepperdine University.

In conjunction with commencement, there will be a baccalaureate luncheon for all graduates and their guests beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Gaylord University Center.

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