Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Thelma Gaylord Forum

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Institution Name: Oklahoma Christian University
Original/Historic Place Name: Thelma Gaylord Forum
Location on Campus: north of Biblical Studies Center, south of Mabee Learning Center
Date(s) of Construction:
1987original construction Roberts, Thomas
Designer: Thomas Roberts
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 1987-present (2006)outdoor space

The Thelma Gaylord Forum, located in the center of the Oklahoma Christian University campus, is significant for two reasons. First it represents a unique design by landscape designer Thomas Roberts of Oklahoma City, and second, because an important event occurred here.

The Forum, adjoining the Biblical Studies Center to the north, is an amphitheater constructed with the land contoured in a semi-circular bowl. A plaza directly north of the Biblical Studies Center forms the stage area, while the bowl is planted in grass. Chairs can be placed there should such seating be needed. Around the outside of the bowl are concrete alcoves for seating small groups. These seating areas accommodate students for socializing, provide a meeting place outside for classes, and provide additional seating for major events held in the Forum.

The Forum is the site for concerts, plays, picnic meals, weddings, devotionals, and informal gatherings. The Oklahoma City Symphony has performed there, and it has been the site for many major University events.

Because of its location in the traffic center of the University, many walk daily through the Forum on the way to and from classes and chapel. This beautifully landscaped area offers a refreshing view of trees and flowers for those who come this way. Its design allows it to be very attractive as a garden area, with two flowing fountains and the beauty of trees and flowers. It may be transformed into an excellent amphitheater for outdoor events, however.

The event of greatest significance in the Forum was a major campaign address by President George Bush on March 6, 1992. Chosen from among possible sites in Oklahoma City for this appearance, the event was covered by all the major news media. Several thousand people stood in and around the Forum to greet the President and to hear his message.


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Last update: November 2006