January 31, 2013
At OBU, Founders’ Day is an annual event commemorating the university’s incorporation in February 1910. Drawing from his decades of experience on Bison Hill, J. Thomas Terry, vice president for business affairs emeritus, will bring the 2013 Founders’ Day address on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 10 a.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium.
Terry joined the university staff in 1967 as treasurer and comptroller. He was promoted to vice president in 1975 and served as interim administrator (president) in 1982. He added the role of executive assistant to the president in late 1982. He retired from full-time service in 1995 and served as assistant to the president until 1998, when he became director of the university archives. He retired as university archivist in July 2011.
In 2005, Terry was named to the OBU Centennial Committee. He served as consulting editor of “Proudly Stand on Bison Hill: A Pictorial History of Oklahoma Baptist University,” compiled and written by Dr. John W. Parrish and published in 2010.
As vice president for business affairs, Terry held primary responsibilities in the University’s administrative, business and financial management issues. He supervised the offices of financial aid, business, business services and the OBU Physical Plant while providing oversight for campus construction and renovation projects.
Terry was born July 3, 1930, in Canton, Van Zandt County, Texas, the son of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Terry. He graduated from Canton High School in 1947. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Baylor University in 1951 and pursued graduate work on a master of business administration degree at the University of Texas in Austin. He married Patricia Trippet in 1960. The couple had two children, Scott Thomas and Susan.
From 1952-54, Terry served as an auditor with the Army Audit Agency while serving in the military. In 1955, he taught at the University of Texas. Later in 1955, he began a 12-year career with All-Church Press Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, where he served as chief accountant and later as controller.
During his 40-plus years on Bison Hill, Terry worked with construction of 13 major buildings and renovations or major improvements of seven other facilities. He served on various OBU committees, including the Business Affairs Committee and Planning Analysis Committee. He was a long-time member of the OBU Executive Cabinet.
In 1981, he received the OBU Alumni Distinguished Service Award, given to individuals who have brought honor to the University through their careers and/or life contributions. In 1990, he received OBU’s Meritorious Service Award, presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has made a substantial commitment of years and service, and who has been a loyal and faithful faculty or staff member.
In addition to his on-campus duties, Terry has been a member of the Oklahoma Association of College and University Business Officers, serving as president in 1970-71; the National Association of College and University Business Officers; the Oklahoma Association of College and University Personnel Administrators; Beta Alpha Psi national accounting fraternity; and the Southern Baptist Business Officers Conference, serving as general chairman in 1976-77, 1978 and 1992.
Terry served as a trustee of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources) from 1980-88. During his tenure, he was chairman of the Audit Committee, chairman of the Finance Committee and a member of the Investment, Plans and Procedures Committee.
In community service, Terry is a member of the Shawnee Noonday Lions Club, serving as president in 1980-81; a director for Shawnee Camp Fire Youth, serving as president in 1978-79 as well as finance chairman; a trustee of Shawnee Medical Center Hospital; Shawnee United Way drive chairman and president in 1991-92; and a past president of the Pioneer Library board.
He currently is president of the Pottawatomie County Historical Society and a member of Friends of the Shawnee Public Library.
He is a member of University Baptist Church where he has served as a deacon and choir member and taught preschool Sunday School classes for many years. He also served as a children’s choir accompanist and back-up organist for the church.
He enjoys reading and gardening. He is a member of the Multi-County Master Gardeners and writes a gardening column for The Shawnee News-Star during the growing season. He also has worked with the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce beautification efforts for many years.