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Annual Celebration Promises A Festive Flavor

November 9, 2001

Alumni and friends will journey to Bison Hill Nov. 9-10 for Oklahoma Baptist University's 81st annual Homecoming. The weekend will include dozens of events and reunions designed to help former students renew friendships and share memories of their days on campus.

"2001 Odyssey: A Festival of Friendship and Memories" is the theme for the celebration, which kicks off with reunions for the Class of 1951 and the 50-Year Club on Friday morning, Nov. 9.

"2001 has been a great year for the word 'Odyssey,'" said Martin O'Gwynn, executive director of the OBU Alumni Association. "We believe it is a fitting way to describe our Homecoming celebration any year. The word describes an intellectual or spiritual journey. When alumni come back to campus, they are taking a journey back to a place where they started such journeys."

Friday activities include reunion luncheons for alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago, and for members of the Class of 1951, who are celebrating their golden anniversary.

The Homecoming golf tournament will tee off at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Shawnee Country Club. The four-person scramble will cover the club's new 18-hole course.

Back on campus, there will be fellowship opportunities for alumni from reunioning classes Friday afternoon.

In addition to reunion activities for class years ending in "1" and "6," the weekend will include presentations of annual awards, the Homecoming chapel service, a tribute to the 1965-66-67 Bison basketball teams and the late Al Tucker, and dozens of reunions for campus organizations.

Celebrating Achievement

Five alumni will be honored during the Friday evening Harvest Dinner. Alumni Achievement Awards will be presented to Dr. Jay Chance, '56; and Al Clark, '71. The Graduate Of the Last Decade Award will be presented to Tiffany Sprague Brown, '93. In addition, former Bison basketball head coach Bob Hoffman, '79, will be inducted into the OBU Athletic Hall of Fame. (See page A4 for more information on alumni honorees.)

All of the University's musical performance groups will be featured Friday at the 8:30 p.m. Homecoming Musical Gala. The event will be in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium, and will be followed by a ice cream float reception for all alumni in the lower level of the Geiger Center.

Saturday morning's Homecoming Chapel service will include recognition of the 12 Profile in Excellence Award recipients for 2001. Dr. Michael Prince, '71, pastor of Robertsville Park Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn., will deliver the Homecoming chapel message. Following the service, the Profile in Excellence Award recipients will be honored at a reception in the Helen Thames Raley Parlor, on the west side of Raley Chapel.

Also at 11 a.m. Saturday, there will be a dedication of the renovated Art Building on the southeast corner of the campus. The facility, which was totally gutted and rebuilt during 2000, now houses a gallery, faculty offices, a large classroom, and laboratories for ceramics, weaving, printmaking, and computer graphic design.

Following the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting, there will be a reception and open house in the Art Building.

The Classes of 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996 will have special reunion luncheons Saturday. Class members will lead in programs that give alumni the opportunity for fellowship and sharing of memories from their days on campus.

The OBU Lady Bison and Bison will face National Christian University in basketball action starting at 1:30 p.m. in the Noble Complex. Both OBU teams are well-stocked with talent as they prepare to challenge for the national championship this year.

Enjoy The Theatre

One special new feature of Homecoming is a production offered by OBU Theatre. Arthur Miller's award-winning "All My Sons" will be presented at 3 p.m. Saturday, as well as at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. Showcasing outstanding theatrical talent, the presentations will be in Sarkeys Theatre, inside Sarkeys Telecommunication Center.

A Special Tribute

Saturday evening will feature a special tribute to the late Al Tucker, who led OBU to three straight appearances in the NAIA men's basketball championship game in 1965, 1966, and 1967. Tucker died in May 2001, and his teammates, friends and family will gather to honor his memory, as well as pay tribute to the Bison teams of that era. The program will start at 7 p.m. in the Geiger Center, and will include remarks from former Bison players, as well as a presentation of photographs and video from the three-year run.

Showcasing Talented Alums

Alumni Showcase and the annual Harvest Festival will bring Homecoming 2001 to a climax Saturday evening. The Showcase will feature talented alumni from reunioning years, and will be followed by a mini-concert by noted Christian worship leader Dennis Jernigan, '81. After that presentation, the 2001 Harvest Court will be introduced and this year's Harvest Queen and King will be crowned.

"This will be a great time of celebration. Our alumni make Homecoming one of the high points of the year on our campus, and their presence helps current students realize that they are part of a great family that is linked together by the traditions and the rich heritage of OBU," said O'Gwynn.