Oklahoma Baptist University President David W. Whitlock has named Dr. Mark McClellan as dean of the university's Joe L. Ingram School of Christian Service. McClellan, who also will serve as a professor of theology and missions, will begin his tenure on Monday, Feb. 9.
McClellan's career has included work as an educator, administrator, theologian, missionary and attorney. He has served as professor of theology and missions at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., since 2004. He previously was an associate professor of theology and director of the Arizona campus for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary from 2000-2004.
Whitlock announced the appointment of McClellan to lead the School of Christian Service after he was recommended by a search committee comprised of OBU faculty and administrators.
"Mark McClellan brings a rare skill set to the dean's post," Whitlock said. "He has strong academic credentials and insight from his unique experiences in missions, the legal field, and military service. I am delighted that he has joined our community, and I know he is looking forward to working with our students and serving with Oklahoma Baptists."
McClellan fills the full-time post vacated by Dr. Mike McGough, who resigned in January 2008. Dr. Warren McWilliams, OBU's Auguie Henry professor of Bible, has served as interim dean of the school for the past 13 months.
"Dr. McWilliams has done a superb job as the interim dean and OBU owes him a debt of gratitude," Whitlock said.
Prior to his work in higher education, McClellan was a church planter/developer appointed by Southern Baptists' International Mission Board. He served in Central America and Central Asia during his tenure with the IMB from 1983-98. Along with international experience, McClellan is familiar with Oklahoma Baptist programs. In 1998, following his return to the United States, he worked with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma as a church extension specialist, and also as a consultant for creation of the BGCO's Robert Haskins School of Leadership. He has served as a pastor and Hispanic church planter in Arizona and Indiana while working with GGBTS and Boyce College.
"Mark has a passion for missions and he is coming to a university with a long history of equipping missionaries and missions leaders," Whitlock said. "His life's work dovetails very well with our institution's history and reputation, particularly OBU's strong tradition as a mission-sending university."
McClellan is a frequent conference presenter and speaker. He has written a variety of training materials for missions and evangelism activities, and is co-author of a missiology textbook written in Spanish.
McClellan earned a Ph.D. degree in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2000. He also earned a master of divinity degree from SWBTS in 1983. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he completed a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Cincinnati in 1971, and earned a juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University in 1977. He practiced law with firms in Arizona from 1978-83 before moving into full-time missions work.
A U.S. Army veteran, McClellan was an Infantry Officer from 1971-75 with the U.S. Armed Forces Southern Command, based in Latin America, serving as a Ranger with Airborne and Special Forces. He was an operations officer with the 12th Special Forces Group from 1975-77, and was discharged with the rank of Infantry Captain.
McClellan and his wife, Cindy, have three sons, Joshua, Baptist Collegiate Minister at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma; Jeremy, a student at the University of Louisville; and Jared, associate student pastor and Refuge worship pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla. Cindy will complete a master of arts degree in Christian education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in May 2009.
OBU's School of Christian Service has nine full-time faculty members, and an enrollment of 368 students for the fall 2008 semester. The school offers 11 academic majors and 15 minors, as well as an associate of arts degree in Christian studies. The school operates OBU's Ministry Training Institute, an innovative off-campus program which offers classes across Oklahoma and in several other states.
According to a recent report from the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, OBU has more alumni currently serving as IMB missionaries than any other university.