Oklahoma Baptist University

Two Professors Fill OBU Endowed Academic Chairs

Two Oklahoma Baptist University professors were installed to new academic chairs this week, filling posts provided by estate gifts from Tulsa residents who were longtime supporters of the university.

Dr. Jeanne Akin, OBU associate professor of teacher education, and Dr. Dan Reeder, OBU professor of business, were installed into the academic positions during the university’s awards assembly Wednesday, May 9, in OBU’s Raley Chapel.

Akin holds the Mary A. White Chair of Teacher Education. Reeder holds the Albert J. Geiger Chair of Business.

Endowed chairs enhance salary, benefits, and certain expenses, such as travel, research, or secretarial assistance. Historically, faculty members holding endowed positions are considered among the institution’s most distinguished faculty members. This chair position requires a minimum endowment of at least $500,000.

“One might think of being named to an endowed chair as an honor,” said Akin. “I do feel honored, but I don’t think that is what is significant. It pushes me to hold myself to an even higher level of expected excellence and integrity of work.”

Oklahoma Baptist University professsor Dr. Jeanne Akin receives a medal from OBU's senior vice president for academic affairs Dr. Debbie Blue during the university's awards assembly on May 9. The OBU professor was installed to a new academic chair.
Mary Augusta White’s career as a kindergarten teacher spanned 41 years. She taught in several Tulsa elementary schools, as well as Holland Hall.

A member of the First Baptist Church of Tulsa, she participated in missions organizations and was a teacher in Sunday School and Training Union for 33 years. She was a member of several educational and civic organizations, including the Tulsa/Parent Coalition and the Association of Childhood Education International. She was a member of OBU’s President’s Council.

The only child of an apple farmer and school teacher, White was born in Bentonville, Ark. Her family moved to Bixby, Okla., early in her childhood. She graduated from Tulsa’s Central High School and was an alumna of the University of Missouri, the University of Iowa, and the University of Tulsa. She died January 19, 2006, at the age of 93.

“Mary White sowed seeds for Christ throughout a 41-year teaching career,” Akin said. “Through her gracious generosity and well-thought life, she has made possible for OBU to add, exponentially, to her seed-sowing for the Kingdom. With God’s help, I want to walk worthy of her investment of resources.”

Akin received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Nazarene University, her master’s degree in education from the University of Central Oklahoma, and her doctorate from Oklahoma State University. She has taught at OBU since 1996.

“For me, teaching at OBU is the perfect playground,” she said. “It involves people, ideas, faith and giving to others: students, colleagues and the broader community. I feel extremely fortunate to get to do, as my life work, something that is so personally fulfilling to me and yet a contribution to society as well.”

Reeder joined the OBU faculty in 1991. He teaches a variety of courses in finance and investments. He served as dean of OBU’s Paul Dickinson School of Business from 1999-2004.

Oklahoma Baptist University professsor Dr. Dan Reeder receives a medal from OBU's senior vice president for academic affairs Dr. Debbie Blue during the university's awards assembly on May 9. The OBU professor was installed to a new academic chair.
“Given Mr. and Mrs. Geiger’s dedication, service and love for Oklahoma Baptist University, I am honored to be the recipient of the Geiger Chair. They are an example of excellence, hard work and integrity,” said Reeder.

Al Geiger’s relationship with OBU began through the courtship of his future wife, Laura Belle Lawson, a 1938 OBU graduate. The couple was married in 1940 in the parlor of OBU’s WMU Memorial Dormitory.

A former chairman of OBU’s board of trustees, Geiger served four terms on the board over several decades. He was a member of OBU’s President’s Council and the university’s National Board of Development. In 1988, he was named an honorary alumnus by the OBU Alumni Association, and in 1996 he received an honorary doctorate from the university.

OBU’s Geiger Center for University Life was named in recognition of the Geigers’ leadership and contributions to university life.

Geiger was born in Dewey, Okla., and earned a petroleum engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1939. He formed a business as an independent oil producer in 1954. He retired in 1990. A longtime member of the First Baptist Church of Tulsa, he was a Sunday School teacher and served as a deacon for more than 40 years. Geiger died August 25, 2005, at the age of 89.

A native of Depew, Okla., Reeder earned bachelor’s and M.B.A. degrees at the University of Tulsa. He completed his Ph.D. degree at Oklahoma State University.

“I love teaching my business students about the exciting field of finance and that, as a Christian professional, studying finance is so much more than just making money,” he said. “I truly have the best job in the world because I get paid to do what I love – teach OBU students.”

OBU currently has 11 endowed academic chairs and 12 endowed academic professorship positions.