Highlights of the Brister Era at OBUHere are some notable highlights of Dr. Mark A. Brister's tenure as Oklahoma Baptist University's 14th president.
OBU's new recreation and wellness center will open in late November 2007. The $10 million capital project is the largest in OBU’s history.
The University is completing projects in the $4.78 million Winning Spirit Campaign, including additions and renovations to OBU’s Noble Complex for Athletics, and construction of new intramural fields, a track complex and a baseball/softball complex.
In early 2007, OBU launched an MBA degree program based in Oklahoma City. The graduate program is the first to be implemented in OBU’s International Graduate School.
The university’s endowment, which was approximately $60 million in the summer of 1998, is more than 50 percent larger today, standing at $93.7 million.
The university received a record $7.15 million in gifts during the 2003-04 fiscal year. A total of $6.74 million was received in the 2006-07 year, making it the second-highest total in OBU’s history. The annual totals do not include around $2.8 million the university receives through the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Cooperative Program support.
The university has operated with a balanced budget throughout Brister’s tenure. The 2007-08 fiscal year budget is $35.4 million, up from $26 million in the 1998-99 year.
OBU acquired 64 acres on the north side of the campus in the spring of 1999, expanding the campus to 189 acres.
OBU has been listed in the regional “top-10” in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of “America’s Best Colleges” for 16 straight years, climbing as high as #2 in the region. OBU is ranked third among baccalaureate colleges in the West in the 2008 rankings.
OBU currently is the highest ranked private baccalaureate college in the western region in the 2008 U.S. News & World Report listing of “Great Schools. Great Prices.”
OBU was named one of “America’s Best Value Colleges” in both the 2007 and 2008 annual rankings by The Princeton Review.
OBU has been named a “Best in the West” institution by The Princeton Review in the 2007 and 2008 listings.
OBU established the Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach in the spring of 2005, to coordinate and expand missions education and international projects.
In September 2006, OBU adopted the “Kai” people group as part of the Finishing The Task global evangelism effort.
OBU’s College of Nursing has achieved a record enrollment in the past three years.
OBU has maintained a strong pre-medicine program, with acceptance rate to medical school in excess of 90 percent per year.
Capital improvements since 1998 include significant renovation of the Art Building in 2000, Craig-Dorland Theatre in 2002, and a multi-year renovation of John Wesley Raley Chapel, completed in 2001.
The university has completed successful accreditation processes with National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and National League of Nursing in the past three years.
OBU has had one of the top four-year graduation rates in the state of Oklahoma according to recent statewide reports.
Athletically, OBU has finished in the top five in the NAIA annual Directors’ Cup ranking of overall athletic programs for the past two years.
OBU won the 2005 and 2007 NAIA Women’s Indoor Track and Field National Championship and the 2007 NAIA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field National Championship. These are three of the five NAIA national championships in OBU’s 97-year history.
When he moved to OBU, Brister started working with Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities officials and state legislators to support a Tuition Equalization Grant for deserving Oklahoma students, helping Oklahoma join 34 other states with existing TEG programs. That program is now funded and operational.
OBU created an innovative 529 Plan matching donation program in 2002 to encourage alums to save for their child’s college education.