If the lights are on at Lipscomb, you probably have Oakley Christian to thank.
For more than 25 years, Christian and the electrical engineering company he started with his father more than 47 years ago, C.O. Christian & Sons Inc., have played a key role in making sure the campus has electricity and lighting.
So he has certainly been a key part of Lipscomb’s past. But he and his family are also key to its future because of their generosity to Lipscomb:Next.
Christian and his team have installed electrical wiring and systems in most buildings on campus including the Swang Business Center, Ezell Center, Burton Health Sciences Center, Harding Hall, Allen Arena and the Allen Arena East parking garage.
They installed electricity on the quad in front of Burton for the university’s first Lighting of the Green in 2005 and lighted the new intramural field last year. In the process, they donated their time to move light poles from the university soccer field and reposition them on the new intramural field. Then they donated new light poles for the soccer field that conformed to NCAA Division I specifications. Christian and his team always respond when there is a need at Lipscomb.
A football enthusiast, Christian said he first became interested in Lipscomb’s academy and university when Mustang football coach Glenn McCadams joined the high school faculty.
“I have always loved football. I’m a former football official and I just enjoy being around the sport whether it’s on the high school or college level. I became interested in helping the high school football program grow,” said Christian. “Coach McCadams has been very welcoming and even let’s me ‘help’ him on the sidelines!”
Since then, Christian and his wife, Janice (’61), have been ardent supporters of the high school and university. Their children, Oakley “Bo” III and Mary Beth, attended the academy from first grade through high school. Both carry on the family legacy as they work with their father in the company and are often seen on campus in the middle of another electrical or telecommunication project.
Through the years, the Christians have donated many hours and much labor, and invested generously in the academy and university.
“It’s important to us to help make sure that Lipscomb is able to continue to provide a strong, quality Christian education,” said Oakley Christian. “We believe in the messages being taught at Lipscomb. We like the students who have come from there. Several have worked for us and their character and ability to conform to the regulations of our business are great. It’s a different kind of person—very dependable and trustworthy—that comes out of Lipscomb.”
C.O. Christian & Sons, Inc., specializes in electrical construction, electrical engineering and telecommunication networking. Electrical and telecommunication projects they have completed in Middle Tennessee include the Tennessee Titans practice facility, Meharry Women’s Health Center, Summit Medical Office Building, the Regal Opry Mills theaters, Carmike Thoroughbred 20 theaters and the Hermitage Hotel, among others.
Pictured Above: C.O. Christian, center, with his daughter, Mary Beth Herring, and son, "Bo," carry on the family legacy in the family business.