December 6, 2002
In their regular fall meeting, Oklahoma Baptist University's board of trustees approved the naming of a new athletic facility, and acted on a variety of business and academic matters on Friday afternoon.
The 32-member board, meeting in OBU's Geiger Center, voted to name a new baseball and softball facility being constructed at the corner of University Street and Airport Road in memory of the late Harry E. Coates Sr., a longtime Seminole businessman. The naming was in recognition of significant support from Coates Roofing Co., of Seminole. Coates died in 1997. When approached about a possible naming of the OBU facility, the roofing company's officers chose to memorialize Coates through a lead gift for the construction project.
OBU trustees heard a state-of-the-university address from OBU President Mark Brister during their plenary session Friday afternoon OBU's Geiger Center. At its fall meeting, the board approved a variety of business and academic affairs items, and approved the naming of a new baseball and softball facility which is currently under construction.
In his state-of-the-university address, OBU President Mark Brister updated trustees on campus activities and student accomplishments. He also discussed faculty and staff changes at the institution.
"This year we face major retirements and transitions at OBU," said Dr. Brister. "John Parrish, our executive vice president, has retired after 38 years effective Dec. 1, 2002,"
Brister then introduced Randy L. Smith, who earlier this fall was named Senior Vice President for Business Affairs, succeeding Parrish as the University's chief financial officer. Smith had previously served as OBU's assistant vice president for business affairs.
"We have a search committee seeking a dean of the School of Christian Service, to replace the late Dr. Dick Rader. We are also seeking a new Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs to replace Dr. J.R. Weaver who will retire at the end of this academic year. Many seasoned veterans of the classroom are coming to retirement now. It is essential that we hire outstanding individuals."
Brister shared with the board a series of needs for the university which Parrish listed before his retirement. Among the priorities, said Brister, is completion of a new recreation and wellness center for the campus.
Quoting Parrish, Brister said, "The proposed recreation/wellness center is very important to the future of the campus. Not only will it replace a facility that has outlived its usefulness, the new center will be a great addition to campus life. Plans have been prepared, and fund-raising has begun. We now need a major investment of a multi-million-dollar lead gift for this very important project."
The facility would replace aging Clark Craig Fieldhouse, on the southwest side of the OBU campus. The new center is designed to feature a variety of athletic facilities, including cardiovascular equipment, two basketball courts, faculty offices, locker rooms, and an indoor walking/jogging track.
The board approved senior faculty status for two faculty members, which provides for the faculty member to receive a continuing contract from the university. Those approved were Dr. Jeanne Akin, assistant professor of education; and Dr. Bobby Kelly, Rowena Strickland assistant professor of religion. Both Akin and Kelly joined the OBU faculty in 1997.
Trustees also approved OBU's 2003-04 academic calendar. The fall semester will begin Aug. 27, 2003, with winter graduation ceremonies slated for Dec. 19. The 2004 spring semester will start on Feb. 2, with spring Commencement on May 22. OBU's 2004 January Term will be offered Jan. 5-29.
Edmond businessman Pat Adams, a 1979 OBU graduate, presided at the meeting. It was the first board session for 11 new trustees. Eight board members were elected to four-year terms during the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma annual meeting Nov. 12. New trustees include Ernie Currier, Enid; Rev. Tom Elliff, Oklahoma City; Dick Freeman, Tulsa; Rev. Dennis Hooper, Purcell; Paula Meese, Tulsa; Rev. Scott Morie, Broken Arrow; Rev. Doyle Pryor, Sapulpa; and Carter Stewart, Hollis. Dr. Bill Jackson, of Woodward, was elected to complete a one-year term on the 32-member board. Pete Cantrell, of Ada, and John W. Norman, of Edmond, were elected to fill three-year terms as trustees.
The board approved the nomination of Dr. Tom Hewett, an Oklahoma City pathologist, to the trustee advisory board. Trustee advisors serve as non-voting members of the board. OBU currently has six trustee advisors. Hewett served as an OBU trustee from 1998-2002 and was chairman of the board for the 2000-01 year.