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OBU’s Winter Graduates Told to Keep Name in Perspective

December 14, 2001

Oklahoma Baptist University conferred degrees on 71 students Friday during winter Commencement in Raley Chapel on the campus.

More than 800 people attended the mid-year graduation ceremonies, as OBU concluded its fall semester.

In a commencement address by OBU track coach Ford Mastin, the honorees were challenged to consider the kind of reputations their names would carry during their careers.

Mastin, who was the recipient of OBU's 2001 Most Promising Teacher Award, explored the subtleties of a name in his address, the majority of which was presented as a poem.

"Your name earns its value each day," he said. "What atmosphere does your name create? What qualities do we associate to the name that we articulate? What inspiration does it make?

"The work you turned in is an extension of you. The things you half-heartedly said 'it will do' have already set the horizons you'll view."

Mastin described how he had failed to keep his own name in perspective recently.

"When the moment came for my name to be recognized, that hunger for glory was stronger than the desire to be an eternal influence," he said, challenging students to seek to honor God with their reputations.

"Nothing brings satisfaction as completely as obedience. God made us like that," he said. "For those whose goal is success, there is never enough. For those whose goal is obedience, your opportunities for satisfaction are unending and fulfilling.

"Your name, more than riches, honors you," he stressed.

Two OBU students graduated with the scholastic predicate Summa Cum Laude for maintaining at least a 3.95 grade point average on all work offered for their degrees. They are Laura M. Norton, a musical arts major from Winters, Texas; and Betsy Ruth Stevenson, a Spanish education major from New Ulm, Minn., who also graduated with honors.

Following presentation of their degrees, the graduates were challenged by OBU President Mark Brister to make a difference in their communities and careers.

"Please remember, we are very proud of you," Dr. Brister told the graduates.

Mastin, who joined the OBU faculty in 1996, was named 1998 NAIA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year. He's also captured region and Sooner Athletic Conference coaching awards in cross country and track and field. His first women's cross country team set a new standard for the OBU program and has progressed to the rank of NAIA power.

Mastin has a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a master of education degree from East Central University and is a 1977 graduate of OBU. He lettered in track from 1973-77 and was captain and Most Valuable Athlete in his senior season.