Oklahoma Baptist University

Outstanding Honorees to be Recognized at Harvest Dinner

Five distinguished honorees will be recognized during OBU’s 2012 Homecoming festivities, with two receiving the Alumni Achievement Award, one receiving the Graduate of the Last Decade Award and two being inducted into the OBU Athletic Hall of Fame.

Dr. Debbie Blue Johnny Cullison Dr. Caleb Harris

Dr.Deborah (Hopkins) Blue and Johnny Cullison will receive the Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by OBU’s Alumni Association. Dr. Caleb Harris will receive the Graduate of the Last Decade (or GOLD) Award. Quinn Wooldridge and Pat Brown will be inducted into the OBU Athletic Hall of Fame.

The recognitions will be featured at OBU’s Harvest Dinner on Friday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. in the university’s Geiger Center.

The Alumni Achievement Award is given “in recognition of outstanding life service which has brought honor to the individual’s alma mater.”

Blue, a lifelong supporter of Bison Hill, serves as dean of OBU’s James E. Hurley College of Science and Mathematics and as senior vice president for academic services. A Shawnee native, she graduated from OBU in 1972. She completed a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Tulsa in 1975. She earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Oklahoma State University in 1991. Prior to returning to her alma mater, she was an adjunct instructor at Tulsa Junior College, and she taught junior high school and middle school mathematics for six years.

Blue joined the OBU faculty in 1980. She became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest academic division, in 1996. She was named OBU’s chief academic officer in 2006. She was named to her role as dean of the College of Science and Mathematics in 2011.

While fulfilling all the duties of an academic dean, Blue’s responsibilities as senior vice president for academic services include administration of library and media services and the Intensive English Program. Blue also maintains responsibility for OBU’s Learning Communities.

Blue is an active member of First Baptist Church, Shawnee. She was married to the late James Blue, who was retired from a 24-year career as principal of Tecumseh High School at the time of his death. She has four children: Jami (Blue) Veenstra, ’94; Bethany Blue, ex ’96; Clay Collum, ’02; and Andrea (Collum) Murrell, ’06 and ’11. Blue also has three grandsons: Hayden and Harrison Blue-Hicks and Jaden Veenstra.

Cullison built a career on keeping OBU in peak condition. A 1974 graduate, Cullison worked at Oklahoma Gas and Electric as an engineering technician and in various positions in OBU’s physical plant department.

During his tenure and since his retirement, Cullison has remained at the forefront of many OBU expansion efforts. He directed or was otherwise involved in the construction and renovation of numerous buildings across campus, including the new Montgomery Hall, MacArthur Apartments, Bailey Business Center and Taylor Residence Center, as well the renovation of Craig-Dorland Theatre in Shawnee Hall and the stage in Potter Auditorium in Raley Chapel. He skillfully constructed and finished the bookcases in Owens Hall, utilized by numerous faculty members through several generations of students.

Cullison retired in 2003 as assistant vice president for business affairs/physical plant. The OBU Board of Trustees gave him the title of “administrator emeritus” in 2007. The same year, the board recognized him with a certificate of distinguished service for his leadership during construction of OBU’s Recreation and Wellness Center and work related to expansion and renovation of the Noble Complex.

A member of University Baptist Church in Shawnee since 1956, Cullison serves as a deacon and choir member, as well as a member of many committees. He also is a member of the Oklahoma State Committee of Home Inspector Examiners and served for many years with Habitat for Humanity of Shawnee, Inc.

Cullison is married to Janell (Roberts) Cullison, who retired as Pottawatomie County Treasurer. They have three sons: Gary Cullison, ’82; John Cullision, ’85; and Gregory Cullison.

The GOLD Award is presented to a young alum who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in his or her life and career and brought pride and honor to the University.

Harris, ’02, has built on his liberal arts education from Bison Hill to share his musical gifts around the world and with future generations of musicians. He serves as associate professor of music at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

He enjoys an active career as a pianist, chamber musician, conductor and vocal coach. Possessing a broad and diverse repertoire, he is equally at home on the keyboard as he is at the podium. He has appeared throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

In 2001-02, Harris was the Nat King Cole Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He earned the master of music degree, doctor of musical arts degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. He has studied piano extensively with Billie Jo Forney, Ronald Lewis and Douglas Humpherys.

He currently attends St. Patrick’s Presbyterian Church in Greeley, where he is helping establish a concert series utilizing the church’s superb acoustical environment. He is president of Blue Sky Flyers and a member of the College of Performing and Visual Arts Community Advisory Board.

The OBU Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes former athletes and coaches for their record-setting tenure at the university.

                     
    Quinn Wooldridge         Pat Brown          

Wooldridge, a native of McAlester, Okla., played four years at OBU on basketball teams that had a 124-24 record. He is the Bison all-time leader with 362 three-point field goals and is third on the all-time scoring list with 1,886 points. He also set the school record with 115 three-pointers made in 1997. He played in four NAIA Tournaments, including one appearance in the national championship game in 1997.

Wooldridge was named All-Conference in 1999 and All-SAC Tournament in 1997. He earned a bachelor’s degree from OBU and a master’s degree from East Central. He and his wife, Andy, have two sons, Michal and Lukas.

Brown, who came to OBU from Lawton, set the school indoor record in the 60-meter hurdles at 7.91 seconds in 2005, and later that year set the school record for 400 intermediate hurdles outdoors at 49.51 seconds. He won the 2004 indoor national championship in the 55 meter hurdles at 7.37 seconds. In 2005, he swept the outdoor hurdles, taking the national championship in both the 400 hurdles with his school record time and the 110 high hurdles at 14.05 seconds. He also was a member of the national champion 4x400 relay team in the 2005 outdoor meet.

In his career, Brown had seven indoor All-America honors and 13 outdoor All-America honors to make for a rare 20-time All-America career. Additionally, Brown was a runner-up in five NAIA championship races.

Tickets for the Harvest Dinner, which are $15 each, may be purchased by Friday, Nov. 2. Call the OBU Alumni Association at (405) 878-2706 for more information.

For a full 2012 Homecoming schedule, visit here.

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