Oklahoma Baptist University

OBU Trustees Hear of Record-Setting Campaign

A report on the success of a record-setting $25 million capital campaign highlighted the summer meeting for trustees of Oklahoma Baptist University on Friday.

OBU President Mark Brister announced that the campaign has surpassed the $25 million victory goal. As of June 30, 2001, the campaign had garnered $25,313,375 in gifts and pledges. With major objectives for endowment and capital projects, the five-year campaign was launched in 1996 as the most ambitious capital drive in the history of the university.

Endowment objectives for the campaign were developed to provide greater funding for student scholarships, faculty resources, and acquisition of equipment for academic instruction. The university's endowment has grown from approximately $50 million to in excess of $65 million during the campaign.

Several capital improvement projects have been achieved through support from campaign gifts, including major renovations of John Wesley Raley Chapel, OBU's art building, and Agee Residence Center.

Brister said the campaign success was especially encouraging in light of recent economic trends.

"In spite of significant corrections in the equities market on Wall Street, not only was last year our best year in development in nine years, this year is on schedule to be even greater," said Dr. Brister.

In his state-of-the-university address, Brister said that the university has continued to "hire and retain an excellent faculty." Entering the 2001-02 academic year, 82 percent of OBU's full-time tenure-track faculty have earned doctorates.

Brister also reported on campus improvement projects. The work includes renovation of a four-story wing of Agee Residence Hall, OBU's men's dormitory. Exterior improvements also are nearing completion on Ford Music Hall and the university's recently renovated art building. In addition, work has begun on renovating OBU's historic Dorland Theatre. Located in the university's first building, Shawnee Hall, the theatre will be renovated to provide space for student productions.

In other business, the board approved a restructuring of the OBU administration to create three senior vice president posts. The new structure will become effective Aug. 1.

Dr. Joseph R. Weaver, vice president for academic affairs, was named senior vice president for academic affairs. In addition to his current responsibilities, Weaver will oversee admissions, student development and religious life operations. The three areas previously reported directly to the university's president.

John Patterson, vice president for development, was named senior vice president for development. A member of the administration since 1996, Patterson will oversee public relations, in addition to his role in directing development and alumni operations.

John W. Parrish, OBU's executive vice president, will continue in his role as the university's chief financial officer. Parrish has served as CFO since 1991.

The three senior administrators will work with Brister in day-to-day operations of the university's overall program, which includes approximately 2,000 students, 285 full-time employees, and an annual budget of $29 million.

The board approved contracts for eight new faculty, who will join the university for the upcoming academic year. Trustees also approved continuation of the OBU-St. Gregory's University exchange agreement, which expands educational opportunities for students at Shawnee's two universities.

The board also ratified the university's institutional strategic plan for the 2001-02 year. The plan is developed through a 12-month process, which includes participation from all OBU academic and administrative areas.

Trustee chairman Tom Hewitt, an Oklahoma City pathologist, presided at the meeting.

Two Shawnee residents are completing their four-year terms on the board this fall. Dr. Jeff Moore, pastor of Shawnee's Immanuel Baptist Church, currently serves as board secretary. Bill Ford, president of Shawnee Milling Company, is chairman of the board's academic affairs committee.

The board elected new officers, who will begin service in November. Rev. Hance Dilbeck, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ponca City, was elected chairman. Edmond businessman Pat Adams was elected vice chairman. Dr. Dan Campbell, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Harrah, was elected board secretary.

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