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OBU Celebrates 30 Years Of Local Scholarship Program

September 1, 2001

For three decades, Oklahoma Baptist University students from Shawnee and surrounding communities have benefited from the Howard T. and Leoti Riddle Scholarship. The university will celebrate the scholarship program's impact during its Convocation chapel Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Riddle Scholarships are awarded to high school seniors from Pottawatomie, Lincoln and Seminole counties who have demonstrated financial need. The scholarships may be maintained up to four years. This year, 50 OBU students will be awarded almost $200,000. In the last 30 years, 2,937 scholarship awards have been made, totaling $2,056,914 in assistance. The support has come through two scholarship trusts. The first was established by the estate of Mrs. Riddle, who died in 1970. The second was through the estate of Mr. Riddle, who died in 1973.

Started with a combined market value of approximately $650,000, the trusts now are valued at more than $6.2 million. Interest on the endowed funds is distributed for scholarship aid.

"Through the years, we have been very fortunate to provide significant aid to residents of Pottawatomie, Seminole and Lincoln counties who have desired to attend OBU," said John A. Patterson, OBU vice president for development. "For that, we are most appreciative of the philanthropic foresight demonstrated by the Riddles.

"Literally thousands of students have been impacted over the last 30 years based on the generosity of a couple who wanted to make a difference for the communities where they lived and worked. Their thoughtful gift has already impacted a generation and will continue to do so for future generations."

Mr. Riddle finished an eighth-grade education in Prague. After studying at a business school, Riddle started a banking career in 1906 as a stenographer at the Prague National Bank. He and Leoti were married that same year. Riddle spent more than 65 years in the banking business in Prague, Shawnee and Seminole. He served as chairman of the board of the American National Bank and Trust Co. until his death.

ANB was acquired by ARVEST Bank Group in 1998. The Riddle trusts are managed locally through ARVEST Trust Company. ARVEST operates banking institutions in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

The Sept. 5 chapel recognition will be part of the university's annual Convocation. OBU President Mark Brister will be the featured speaker at the 10 a.m. program in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium on the OBU campus.

Following the service, OBU will host a Riddle Scholarship appreciation luncheon for ARVEST bank and trust officials, educational leaders from Pottawatomie, Seminole and Lincoln counties, local civic leaders, and several current and former Riddle Scholarship recipients.