Vernon Receives Meritorious Service Award

Dr. James Vernon, a longtime faculty member, received Oklahoma Baptist University's Meritorious Service Award during the university's recent spring Commencement.

The Meritorious Service Award is one of three major university honors presented during the spring graduation ceremonies each year. The award honors a faculty or staff member who has "distinguished himself in service to the university as acknowledged by former students, current students, peers, and other university friends."

Vernon joined OBU's faculty in 1990 as an assistant professor of music. He currently is an associate professor of music and chair of the university's division of music. He has filled various faculty leadership roles during his tenure. Additionally, he founded OBU's Bison Bicycle Classic, which began in 2001. The annual event, which benefits the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, attracts cyclists from across the region.

Vernon directed the Bison Glee Club during his first two years at OBU. He teaches courses in music composition and theory and directs music composition studies. He has composed works for instrumental, choral, and vocal idioms, as well as music for stage play productions. He became the first chair of the division of music in 1999.

Dr. James Vernon receives OBU's Meritorious Service Award from President David Whitlock during the university's recent spring Commencement May 23.

As he presented the award to Vernon, OBU President David Whitlock cited remarks from a colleague who nominated the professor, saying "his godly example and enthusiasm for service to others are life lessons for those around him which go far beyond the classroom."

Vernon is the first OBU faculty member to receive all three of the university's major honors. He received the Promising Teacher Award in 1994 and the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005.

"In winning this award he becomes our first ‘triple crown' winner, joining the likes of Secretariat and Seattle Slew," Dr. Whitlock quipped.

A native of Chesapeake, Va., Vernon earned a bachelor of arts degree from Old Dominion University, and completed his master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also completed additional studies at the University of North Texas.

Vernon currently is minister of music at University Baptist Church. He and his wife, Lisa, have one daughter, Meredith.