Oklahoma Baptist University

OBU Trustees Approve Strategic Plan

Oklahoma Baptist University's board of trustees approved the university's strategic plan for the upcoming academic year, and approved contracts for several new faculty members during the board's summer meeting, on the OBU campus Friday.

The trustees also heard a state-of-the-university report from OBU President Mark Brister, who updated the governing board on campus activities, including several personnel changes.

"2002 begins a period of personnel transition for the university," said Dr. Brister. "This spring, five longtime OBU faculty members retired. On our campus, that is a significant occurrence. The involvement of our faculty in the lives of our students is a key part of the OBU experience. These five, Mary Kay Parrish, Oscar Jeske, Don Clark, Joe Hall and Dick Rader, left big shoes to fill. We are thankful that we have found outstanding Christian educators who are joining us to carry on our mission."

In addition to faculty retirements, Brister reported on a change in the university's religious life programs, following the retirement of Dr. Dick Rader, who served as vice president for religious life. The chief administrative position for religious life has been changed from vice president to campus minister.

"The role is to oversee OBU's many spiritual life activities; especially, OBU's Chapel services," said Brister. "Our weekly chapel gathering is the prime opportunity we have for maintaining a sense of Christian community on campus. This week we have announced that Dale Griffin, a 1983 OBU graduate, will fill the new role of campus minister, beginning Aug. 1, 2002.

"Dale comes to us with a rich history in collegiate ministries. He was Baptist Student Union director at the University of New Mexico for seven years, and traveled extensively, leading worship for college ministry conferences and seminars across the nation. He most recently has served as worship minister at Northwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. ... Dale has a vision for how we can expand our spiritual life activities. I am excited about his addition to our leadership team."

Brister alerted trustees to an upcoming administrative transition, as he discussed the announced retirement plans of a longtime OBU administrator.

"Last month, John Parrish, our executive vice president, announced that he will retire from his post on November 30, 2002," said Brister.

Parrish, who joined the OBU faculty and administrative staff in 1964, has served as the university's chief financial officer since 1991.

"John Parrish carries with him an encyclopedic amount of knowledge regarding OBU's people, mission, facilities, and finances," said Brister. "He has done a remarkable job of managing our financial operations. OBU is blessed to be in sound financial health, and we owe a great amount of thanks to John Parrish."

The president also updated trustees on ongoing campus renovation projects, including work on Craig-Dorland Theatre in Shawnee Hall, which is scheduled for completion this fall; addition of lighting to the OBU intramural fields at the corner of Airport Road and MacArthur Street; and renovation of the four-story Storer wing of Agee Residence Hall, OBU's main men's dormitory.

The trustees ratified OBU's 2002-03 institutional strategic plan, which was developed through a year-round process as academic and administrative offices compiled annual objectives, which were reviewed by the university's executive cabinet and planning analysis committee before being submitted to the trustees.

Trustees approved contracts for five new faculty members. They include Dr. Karen Longest, assistant professor of psychology; Beth Green Nagle, assistant professor of Spanish; Dr. Melissa Roberts, assistant professor of music; Phyllis Tipton, instructor of education; and Dr. William C. Chapman, visiting professor of accounting.

Board members also unanimously approved a "proclamation of appreciation" for the Moscow Economic School. OBU was a partner in the creation of the private grade school in Russia's capital in 1993. Since that time, OBU alumni have served on the teaching faculty of the school. The successful school is seeking to open a second campus in the near future.

Rev. Hance Dilbeck, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ponca City, and chairman of the OBU board of trustees, presided at the meeting.

Officers were elected for the upcoming year. Pat Adams was named chairman, Kevin Clarkson was named vice chairman and Dan Campbell was approved to continue as secretary.

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