October 22, 2009
Shortly after Dale and Cindy Hanchey came to Bison Hill in 1985, the Louisiana natives introduced Oklahoma Baptist University to its first personal computer. They had arrived on campus to find 16 Macintosh computers with 128k RAM, floppy drives and two dot-matrix printers - a relatively basic technology stock, even for that time.
After more than 20 years of advocating for increased campus technology, the Hancheys retired in May 2009. They have seen OBU's computing resources expand across the campus.
"Dale and Cindy have shepherded OBU's computer science program from the pre-Internet days of the mid-1980's through the current digital age," said Dr. Kyle Tresch, dean of the Paul Dickinson School of Business. "Their 24 years of teaching and service to OBU have consistently produced well-educated, highly proficient graduates who have served around the globe in the ever-changing world of computer science."
Arriving to teach at OBU was not Dale Hanchey's first stay in Oklahoma. The Vietnam War veteran had completed an Army officer's course at Fort Sill. He vowed he would never live in the Sooner State. It was too far, in his estimation, from the humidity, trees and seafood of Louisiana. A native of Mittie, La., he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Dale met his bride, the former Cindy Meyer, in an undergraduate mathematics class at LSU. Born in Crowley, La., Cindy also earned bachelor's and master's degrees at LSU. She earned a doctorate in computer technology in education with a specialization in computer education from Nova Southeastern University.
As OBU's McCasland associate professor of computer science, Dale taught all levels of computer science courses along with management and business technology classes. He received the Business Teacher of the Year Award for 1987 and OBU's Promising Teacher Award for 1987. He also served as the faculty advisor for OBU's student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
Dr. Cindy Meyer Hanchey served as Ernest C. Wheeler associate professor of computer science. She was active in many professional groups and consulted for the National Science Foundation and other organizations. She taught courses including information technology, programming and ethics. She also taught information technology at OBU's International Graduate School in Oklahoma City.
The Hancheys said they find the constantly morphing field of computer science both challenging and fulfilling. They keep up with emerging technology and the latest trends by reading journals, bulletins and news sources; scouring the Internet; attending conferences; and interacting with peer groups.
"If you don't want to learn new things, and you don't want change, you should not touch this field, because this is ever-changing," Dale said.
"I was a senior at OBU when the Hancheys first joined our faculty in August 1985," Tresch said. "I am struck by how much the computer sciences have evolved since then and amazed at the demands placed on faculty members in that discipline. Yet, the Hancheys have always kept their program and their students ahead of the curve."
The Hancheys successfully helped build OBU's technology base while expanding their personal knowledge of computer science. But the biggest reward, they say, is their graduates: seeing students achieve success in the classroom followed by success in the workplace.
"It's easy to have a good relationship with students if, when they graduate, they get jobs," Dale said. "I don't remember the last time we had a graduate who wanted a job and didn't get a job."
"Demand for our majors has remained extremely high," Cindy added. "I'm constantly being contacted by people who want to hire an OBU computer science grad because they know the quality of the program."
Computer science has been changing since they arrived, and, after leaving OBU, the Hancheys know Bison Hill's areas of technology will only continue to transform.
"We've come a long way," Dale said. "But have we arrived? You never arrive. That's the way technology is."