Sisters honor parents’ memory through scholarship
The Jack and Vanda Christensen Memorial Scholarship is awarded to active or retired police officers in Oklahoma or their dependents.
Sisters Kristina Randolph, U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Katrina Gaskill and Dr. Danell Landes – all OU graduates – wanted to do something special to honor the memory of their parents, Jack and Vanda Christensen.
They decided the best way to do that was to establish the Jack and Vanda Christensen Memorial Scholarship at OU to be awarded to active or retired police officers in Oklahoma – particularly OUPD officers – or their dependents.
Jack Christensen, who died in 2003, was a highly decorated Army soldier who served in World War II and the Korean War. After retiring from the Army, he joined the OU Police Department in 1966, serving as Lieutenant and Watch Commander from 1969 until his retirement in 1980. He was so respected by his colleagues that he became the first OUPD officer to have his badge number retired. His wife, Vanda, who died in 2002, successfully handled the struggles of caring for a family of eight on a policeman's salary.
“My sisters and I were proud of the work my father did as an OU police officer.” Kristina said. “When our parents died, our first instinct was to honor them by giving back to the University that had been linked to our family for many years.
“My father worked for OU, each of us had obtained a degree from OU, and my twin sister and I worked briefly for OU while we were students. Our scholarship is a meaningful way to support those who are experiencing a similar struggle as our parents experienced in trying to put three children through college on a policeman's salary,” she said.
[Pictured: Sisters U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Katrina Gaskill (at left) and Kristina Randolph (at right) stand with Jack and Vanda Christensen Memorial Scholarship recipient Tammie Nelson (center).]