Fine Arts Honors Alumni Couple for Excellence
May 1, 2000The Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts will honor two distinguished alumni during Oklahoma Baptist University's music awards banquet, Monday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the university's Geiger center. A.L. "Pete" and Jo Ann Butler, retired professors of music at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and 1955 OBU graduates, will receive OBU's College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni award. With more than 25 years of local church experience before coming to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1983, the Butler's service at the Kansas City-based school provided "the launching pad for worldwide ministry," observed Midwestern Old Testament professor Al Bean. At OBU, the Butlers met and sang in the Bison Glee Club. He received his seminary education at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary while she completed a master's degree at East Central University in Oklahoma, and later taught on their music faculty for 15 years. They are frequent workshop leaders at Glorieta, Ridgecrest, and Windemere Baptist Assemblies. A member of ASCAP, he is a composer with four hymn tunes included in the newest Baptist Hymnal, and several published anthems and children's songs. He served as second vice-president of the Oklahoma State Baptist Convention, vice-president of the SBC Church Music Conference, and received an honorary doctorate from Southwest Baptist University. Her reputation as a children's choir authority was noted by James Steel of Chorister's Guild when he referred to her as one of the publisher's most popular writers. She has written over 200 articles, units, and other curriculum materials, including four books for the Baptist Sunday School Board (now known as LifeWay Christian Resources) and many pieces for Choristers Guild and other periodicals. After Butler joined the faculty at Midwestern to establish a church music program, Mrs. Butler taught part-time at both Midwestern and William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., before joining the seminary faculty full-time. The master of church music degree was approved in 1991 through the groundwork laid by the Butlers. The Butlers have been honored with the Geneva Casebolt Award from Southwest Baptist University, the W. Hines Sims Award from the SBC Church Music Conference, and the Honorary Music Faculty Award from William Jewell College. Recently, they have been selected to receive the Honorary Alumni of the Year Award from Midwestern Seminary.