OBU Centennial Committee Named

As Oklahoma Baptist University approaches its 100th anniversary, OBU President Mark Brister has announced a Centennial Committee which will coordinate the University’s historic celebration.

The 22-member committee involves representatives including current and retired faculty and staff, alumni, and students. John W. Parrish, retired OBU executive vice president, will serve as chair of the committee. Parrish’s OBU career spanned 38 years, before his retirement in December 2002.

Another long-time OBU administrator, Tom Terry, will serve on the committee. Terry joined OBU in 1967 and retired from his position as vice president for business affairs in 2000. He currently serves as the University’s archivist.

“I am pleased to announce this stellar OBU 2010 Centennial Committee,” said Dr. Brister. “This group represents a cross-section of the OBU family, and their demonstrated love for the University gives them a strong foundation from which to work. They will develop a series of programs and projects which will give us a substantial multi-year framework for this celebration.”

Student representation on the committee will be the responsibility of OBU’s student-elected Student Government Association president.

“The SGA president will be involved on an annual basis, determined by the annual elections,” said Brister. “In addition, ad hoc committees, including other students, may be formed as determined by the Centennial Committee.”

Committee members from the OBU faculty include Dr. Debbie Blue, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of mathematics; Dr. Jerry Faught, Dickinson assistant professor of religion; Rhetta Hudson, associate professor of music; and Dr. Pam Robinson, associate professor of education and chair of the division of teacher education. Dr. James Farthing, retired professor of history, also will serve on the committee.

Administrative staff representatives will include Cynthia Gates, director of the Geiger Center; Monica Mullins, assistant dean of students; Martin O’Gwynn, associate vice president for alumni affairs; Teri Walker, degree counselor; and OBU’s public relations director, when that position is filled.

External representatives on the committee include Bill Ford, CEO of Shawnee Milling, a past OBU trustee, and a current member of OBU’s Shawnee Advisory Board; Nadine McPherson, a current OBU Board of Trustees Advisor and an OBU alumna; and Dr. Doug Melton, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and an OBU alumnus. Brister said an additional representative from the OBU Alumni Association Board of Directors would be named to the committee later this spring.

Ex-officio members of the committee include Brister; Dr. Jim Colman, senior vice president for academic affairs; Randy Smith, senior vice president for business affairs; John Patterson, senior vice president for development; and Tonia Kellogg, director of the OBU executive offices.

“Each member of this committee has accepted the responsibility to help the OBU family commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime milestone,” said Brister. “Since our founding in 1910, OBU has been richly blessed as we have fulfilled our mission of distinctively Christian higher education. Our centennial is an opportunity to reflect on the blessings of the past, and look forward to the bright promise of the future.”

Brister said Parrish, with his deep roots as a member of the OBU faculty and staff, will provide essential leadership for the committee. Hired by OBU in 1964 as director of publications and publicity and instructor of journalism, Parrish was promoted to director of public relations two years later. He became director of alumni and annual giving in 1979, and was promoted to associate vice president for development in 1983. He was appointed to the vice president for institutional advancement post in 1986. In 1991, he was named senior vice president for business and external affairs and then was promoted to executive vice president in 1994. He served as the University’s chief financial officer until his retirement.

OBU is owned by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and governed by a 32-member board of trustees elected by that convention. OBU offers 10 bachelor’s degree programs, with approximately 70 academic majors. The University’s fall 2004 enrollment was 1,684. The institution has a 189-acre campus, known as Bison Hill. In 2005, for the 13th consecutive year, OBU was ranked as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report.