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OBU December Graduates Challenged to Leadership

December 29, 1999

A total of 87 graduates participated in Oklahoma Baptist University's winter Commencement Dec. 17 in the University's Raley Chapel.

OBU President Mark Brister, who presented the Commencement address, challenged the graduates to "finish well" as they move beyond their undergraduate experiences and embark on their careers.

More than 800 people attended the graduation exercises in the chapel's Potter Auditorium.

Dr. Brister told the graduates that there was a difference in their diplomas and people "would know the difference not by a well-framed piece of paper on a wall, but by the life you lead."

Referring to chapter two from the book of Proverbs, the president challenged the graduates to have an affinity for spirituality, know God's presence, and walk with integrity.

Brister said noted writer C.S. Lewis wrote that all people follow one of two tracks. "Some say, 'My will be done' and others say, 'Thy will be done.' Determine to live your lives in such a way as to say, 'Thy will be done in my life,'" Brister said.

"C. S. Lewis also wrote what I believe should be the difference in your OBU diploma. He said, 'I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun. Not only because I see it and believe it, but because by it I see everything else," Brister said, noting that an OBU education should be a balance of academic excellence and Christian values.

He concluded by telling the students that the graduation was not the end of a road, but a beginning.

"Just as you are finishing your OBU degree well, I challenge you to make it your objective to finish well as an OBU graduate," Brister said. "Finish the journey."

Several individuals participated as program personalities. Dr. Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, brought greetings from the convention. The Rev. William Rains, director of church and personal development for the Tulsa Metro Baptist Association, led the invocation. Dr. David Meacham, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Nevada, led the benediction. The University's faculty chorale, directed by Dr. Paul Hammond, brought the special music.

December 1999 graduate Melissa Meacham Busby and Dr. Joseph R. Weaver, OBU vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduating class. Dr. Thomas A. Wilks, OBU's Huitt professor of religious education, read scripture. Following the presentation of degrees, Martin L. O'Gwynn, executive director of the OBU Alumni Association, inducted the new graduates into the association.