August 23, 2006
Oklahoma Baptist University’s 2006 Convocation will be a historic event. Dr. Debbie Blue, OBU interim senior vice president for academic affairs, will deliver the address on Wednesday, Aug. 30, at 10 a.m., in the University’s Raley Chapel.
Blue is the first woman to deliver the convocation address which normally is presented by the current OBU president.
OBU President Mark Brister was scheduled to be with a team visiting India and asked Blue to speak in his absence. Brister’s travel plans changed late last week, and he will be present to hear Blue’s address.
“I felt it only fair to honor that invitation extended to her long ago,” Brister said. “I look forward to hearing Dr. Blue at what may be the first OBU Convocation ever attended by the OBU president not delivering the address himself.”
OBU’s convocation service signals the start of the new academic year, said OBU archivist Tom Terry. During the service, faculty and university administrative staff wears academic regalia and enter in a processional, seated together in the auditorium.
“Typically, the convocation message is used to promote an atmosphere of collegiality and to encourage all to set high standards for accomplishing the task before them,” Terry said.
Blue, who has served as dean of OBU’s College of Arts and Sciences, has served in the interim role of chief academic officer since early June.
In addition to her administrative role, Blue holds the rank of professor of mathematics. The Shawnee native is a 1972 OBU graduate. She joined the university’s faculty in 1980 after teaching as an adjunct instructor at Tulsa Junior College, and teaching junior high school and middle school mathematics for six years.
Blue currently serves on the Oklahoma State Board of Education, having been appointed to the board by Gov. Frank Keating in 1998, and reappointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2004. She also is a member of the State Board of Career and Technology Education. She is vice chair of the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation and chairs that organization’s assessment committee, which oversees the state’s teacher certification examinations.
Blue earned a bachelor of science degree at OBU, and completed a master of science degree in mathematics from the University of Tulsa in 1975. She earned a doctor of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Oklahoma State University in 1991.
Blue’s husband, James Blue, is principal at Tecumseh High School. They are members of the First Baptist Church of Shawnee, where she has taught in the children’s choir program for 25 years, and currently chairs the church’s personnel committee. The Blues have four children, Jami Veenstra, a 1994 OBU graduate; Bethany Blue, Clay Collum, a 2002 OBU graduate; and Andrea Collum, a member of OBU’s Class of 2006. The Blues also have two grandsons, Hayden and Harrison Blue-Hicks.