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Whitlock Named Oklahoma Baptist University President

October 10, 2008

Dr. Whitlock, who has served as the associate provost and dean of the college of business and computer science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., will assume the presidency of OBU on Nov. 3.

"I see now how God has been preparing me each step along the way to serve in this day and in this place," Whitlock said during a campus-wide announcement of his presidency. "So I pledge to you today that I will be a faithful steward of my experience for the betterment of this university.

"God's providence has entrusted me with this great opportunity," he said. "Knowing His timing is perfect, that His commandments are His enablements, and knowing He has prepared me and called me to this place of service, I humbly ask for your prayers as we work together for such a time as this."

Founded in 1910 by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, OBU is governed by a 33-member board of trustees elected by the convention. It is the only university operated by the BGCO. OBU's overall enrollment this fall is 1,753, with students from 39 states and 20 other countries. The university offers 10 bachelor's degree programs, with 83 areas of study, and graduate programs in business administration and nursing education. "Having been born and raised in Oklahoma, Dr. Whitlock will fit us well," Fannin said. "Having been mentored by Dr. Bob Agee and Dr. Pat Taylor, both who know OBU well, he is well prepared for this assignment. The people of Oklahoma's 1,700 churches will be excited to meet this very down-to-earth person who radiates the Lord Jesus Christ."

Whitlock's tenure will follow the 12-month tenure of John W. Parrish, who has served as OBU's interim president following the retirement of Dr. Mark Brister in November 2007. As the university's 14th president, Brister served OBU from 1998-2007.

OBU's trustees unanimously elected Whitlock to the presidency on Friday morning after three days of on-campus interviews for the presidential candidate. Whitlock was recommended for the presidency by an 11-member presidential search committee, chaired by 1995 OBU graduate and current ONEOK attorney Stephen Allen. The committee included seven trustees, the 2007-08 chair of OBU's Faculty Council, the 2007 president of the OBU Alumni Association, the 2007-08 Student Government Association president, and Dr. Anthony Jordan, BGCO executive director.

"I am delighted that the Board of Trustees has voted to call Dr. Whitlock as the 15th president of OBU," Allen said. "Dr. Whitlock's experience, vision and passion will enable him to continue in the excellent tradition of OBU's past presidents. As we look forward to OBU's 100-year anniversary and beyond, I am confident that OBU's greatest days are ahead of us."

Abby Jeffers, who served on the search committee as the 2007-08 OBU student government president, said she anticipates growth for the university under Whitlock's leadership.

"I believe that Dr. Whitlock will bring exciting new vision and guidance to OBU," Jeffers said. "His view on faith and how he actively applies it to his life and to his career is outstanding. I believe that his understanding of and appreciation for the liberal arts will contribute greatly to OBU's growth and development."

Whitlock has served on the administration of SBU since 1999. He also is a professor of business at the university. Prior to joining the Missouri Baptist institution, he taught for 14 years at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He joined the Southeastern faculty in 1985 as an instructor of business, was promoted to assistant professor in 1991 and associate professor in 1996. He was named chair of the university's business information management program in 1995 and served in that role until moving to SBU.

In addition to his academic work, Whitlock has served in a bi-vocational role as co-pastor of Wellspring Baptist Fellowship in Bolivar, Mo., since 2002. He was bi-vocational pastor of Silo Baptist Church in Silo, Okla., from 1996-99, and Hendrix Baptist Church in Hendrix, Okla., from 1993-94. He was licensed to preach by the First Baptist Church of Durant in 1993.

"From my perspective as the faculty representative on the Search Committee, Dr. Whitlock has a devotion to Christ, a commitment to and understanding of academic excellence, and considerable personal warmth and genuineness that will serve OBU well, both on campus and in our relations to external constituencies," said Dr. Bill Hagen, OBU professor of English.

A fifth-generation Oklahoman, Whitlock was born in Purcell and graduated from Wayne High School. He completed a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Southeastern in 1984, a master's degree in business administration from Southeastern in 1985, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Oklahoma in 1995.

During Whitlock's tenure as dean of SBU's college of business and computer science, the program has grown in enrollment and earned recognition as a "top 10 Christian business school" in rankings of career placement and faculty quality, according to Business Reform magazine.

Whitlock has served as associate provost at SBU since 2006, a position responsible for accreditation activities with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Whitlock aided in SBU's 10-year review process for continued accreditation during the 2005-2006 school year. In 2007, Whitlock also was appointed dean of SBU's adult and off-campus programs. In that role he oversees planning and administration of all the university's graduate programs and administers off-campus programs in three locations. From 2001-2006, he served as assistant to SBU President C. Pat Taylor for strategic planning, coordinating the institution's five-year strategic plan. Taylor formerly served as OBU's provost before becoming SBU president in 1996.

Whitlock has played an active role in international programs, working with educational organizations in the United Arab Emirates, China, Russia, and several European countries.

Active in a variety of professional organizations, Whitlock has served as a consultant-evaluator with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 2006. He has completed four academic institution evaluation visits, including a site visit to a Chinese institution. He also is an evaluator and mentor with the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, working with institutions standing for accreditation by the ACBSP. While at Southeastern, he directed the university's Small Business Institute from 1990-97, working with small business development in the Durant area.

Whitlock has been an author, co-author or editor of four books related to business fields, and has been a contributing writer for numerous works.

Whitlock and his wife, the former Dana Searles, were married in 1987. They have four sons: Joshua Christian, Ryan Wesley, David Searles and Landon Allen.