Executive Vice President Emeritus
ARC Baxter, First Floor
OBU Box 61275
500 W. University
Shawnee, OK 74804
John W. Parrish, who served as OBU’s interim president Nov. 11, 2007, to October 10, 2008, has worked with the University in various capacities since 1964.
Currently executive vice president emeritus, Parrish retired from the OBU administration in November 2002, after more than 38 years at the institution. However, he continued to serve the university through sports broadcasting, and as chairman of OBU’s Centennial Committee.
Parrish was born Nov. 1, 1939, in Drumright, Oklahoma. His family moved to Eureka, Kansas, while he was a high school student. He graduated from Eureka High School in 1957. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Oklahoma State University in 1961, with a major in industrial editing. He completed a master of science degree in journalism from Oklahoma State in 1964. He was a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1961-67, and was on active duty from October 1961 through August 1962, during the Berlin Crisis.
Parrish was editor of the Tulsa Southside Times newspaper from 1963-64, before joining the OBU faculty and staff. He was hired by OBU President James Ralph Scales and Dr. William Neptune, dean of OBU’s College of Liberal Arts. He joined the faculty as instructor of journalism in 1964 and was promoted to assistant professor in 1967. He was chair of the journalism department from 1964-76. He also joined the OBU staff as director of publications and publicity in 1964. He was named director of public relations in 1966 and served in that role until 1979, when he was named director of alumni and annual giving. He was promoted to assistant vice president for development in 1983, and named vice president for institutional advancement in 1986. In 1991 he became senior vice president for business and external affairs. In 1995 he was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Parrish has worked with OBU athletic information at various stages throughout his career. He currently is the play-by-play voice for the Bison basketball team, and also served in that role from 1973-79 and 1989-92, before resuming the post in 2001. He was OBU’s sports information director in the 1960 and 1970s, and has served as an administrator for the Bison Athletic Association throughout the athletic fund raising organization’s history. He has written two books, The Glory Years of Bison Basketball: Oklahoma Baptist University 1964-65, 1965-66, and 1966-67 Seasons, published in 2004, and OBU Hoops: A History of Oklahoma Baptist University Bison and Lady Bison Basketball, 1911-2007, which was released in late 2007.
Parrish has received numerous honors and awards from OBU, including having the university’s public relations office suite in Agee Residence Center named in his honor when he retired in 2002. He was named an honorary member of the OBU Alumni Association in 1989, and inducted into the OBU Athletic Hall of Fame the same year. He received OBU’s Meritorious Service Award in 1989, and the OBU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1974.
He served as president of the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society for 2006 and 2007.
Parrish is married to the former Mary Kay Higginbotham. Mrs. Parrish taught music at OBU from 1964-2002, and directed the renowned University Ringers handbell choir. The Parrishes are members of University Baptist Church in Shawnee, where Parrish is a deacon and has served in an array of leadership roles. The Parrishes have two children. Dr. John Michael Parrish, 34, is assistant professor of political science at Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif. Robin Lynn Parrish McAlister, a summa cum laude graduate of OBU, is a graduate student in public policy at Duke University.