March 6, 2009
Dr. Don Kammerdiener, a longtime Baptist global missions leader, will present Oklahoma Baptist University's 17th annual J.M. Gaskin Lectures in Baptist History and Heritage on Monday, March 23. Kammerdiener is the retired executive vice president of Southern Baptists' International Mission Board.
The first lecture, on the topic "Those Who Carried the Torch," will be at 10 a.m. The second lecture, titled "Keepers of the Flame," will be at 7 p.m. Both lectures will be presented in the upper level of OBU's Geiger Center.
Kammerdiener and his wife, Meredith, both graduated from OBU in 1958. Following his time on Bison Hill, Kammerdiener attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. The Kammerdieners were appointed Southern Baptist missionaries in 1962 and served in Costa Rica, Columbia and Argentina. For two decades, he was part of the leadership team of the International Mission Board, serving as executive vice president from 1990 until his retirement in 2001.
Kammerdiener received the OBU Alumni Association's top honor, the Alumni Achievement Award, in 1987. He received an honorary doctorate from OBU in 1994.
In 2005, OBU honored Kammerdiener with the opening of The Don R. Kammerdiener Center for Missiological Research. The center is an online data base connecting students, faculty, staff and constituents with a wealth of information about countries, people groups, religions, languages, bibliographies and practical knowledge related to missions. The goal of the center is to provide academic and practical support for students, missions volunteers, church leaders and missionaries as they prepare to go into the world with the message of Christ.
Friends of Dr. J.M. Gaskin and advocates of the preservation of Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage established the J.M. Gaskin Lectureship. The objectives of the lectureship are to provide and sustain a series of lectures which will preserve and promote the study of Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage. In addition to students, faculty and staff, others interested in Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage are invited to attend the lectures.
Gaskin served as the BGCO's first historical director. Known as "Mr. Oklahoma Baptist History," he led in forming the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Commission in 1952 and was elected as the organization's first historical secretary in 1953. He also was founding president of the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Society in 1956 and has been the only editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Chronicle, which was begun in 1958. In 1976, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma employed Gaskin as director of history for the convention's Historical Commission.
Gaskin has written 15 books about Oklahoma Baptists. He provided the major impetus for Oklahoma Baptist research and publication over the last four decades. The lectureship recognizes his contributions to the preservation and promotion of Baptist History and Heritage.