Oklahoma Baptist University senior D.H. Dilbeck, a history and religion double major from Edmond, Okla., was recently recognized as a Nigh Academy Scholar for the various leadership roles he has held on Bison Hill. Dilbeck was one of 34 Oklahoma students to be awarded the honor.
Dilbeck was nominated for the academy by John Parrish, OBU executive vice president emeritus who served as the university's interim president from Nov. 11, 2007, to Oct. 10, 2008.
"I nominated D.H. because of his outstanding leadership among students at OBU," Parrish said. "He was a very effective president of the Student Government Association and was involved in a variety of other activities. I felt that he would profit from the Nigh Academy experience and that others there would benefit from his participation."
All Oklahoma college and university presidents were invited to nominate one student leader from their school.
"Spending time with fellow student leaders from universities across the state proved highly beneficial," Dilbeck said. "We learned from each other's successes and failures, while charting out new ways to collectively engage in productive dialogue with state political leaders concerning the future of higher education in Oklahoma."
Dilbeck's participation as Student Government Association president, his role as Welcome Week Steering Committee chair and his other active memberships in various campus organizations qualified him for the Nigh Academy.
The 2009 Nigh Scholars Academy spanned five days and consisted of many stimulating activities for the scholars. Visits to the Oklahoma State Capitol and a tour of both the Oklahoma History Center and Oklahoma City National Memorial lined the agenda for the week.
Scholars also had the opportunity to hear from several current and past Oklahoma state leaders including: Drew Edmonson, attorney general; Glenn Coffee, president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate; Glen Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; and former governor George Nigh and his wife, Donna.
"Hearing from the state's most prominent political leaders shed light, for me, upon the often-forgotten difficulties accompanying a life of public service," Dilbeck said. "I was frequently reminded of the necessary skill it takes to fulfill such a role effectively."
On the final evening, a dinner was hosted by Governor Brad Henry and his wife, Kim, in the Governor's Mansion. Those in attendance were all Nigh Academy participants, university presidents responsible for nominating the scholars, other prominent Oklahoma state leaders and Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins, who acted as the keynote speaker for the dinner.
The Nigh Academy was first founded by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to honor former Oklahoma Governor George Nigh and his wife, Donna, for their work in advocating higher education. In its 10th year of existence, the academy continues to promote student leadership in higher education by providing opportunities for students embarking on careers in public service.