Five graduates were honored for earning the master of business administration degree from Oklahoma Baptist University's International Graduate School during a luncheon and ceremonial hooding Friday, Dec. 18, in OBU's Geiger Center. The event preceded OBU's Winter Commencement in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium.
The graduates, who comprise the third cohort from the International Graduate School located in Oklahoma City, included Joseph Fredrick Bechtel from Duncan, Okla.; Vicky Fine from Meeker, Okla.; Juli McKenzie Gibson from Pawhuska, Okla.; Jana McQuain from Shawnee, Okla.; and Michael Spears from Meeker, Okla. Fine was unable to attend the graduation events.
Dr. Scott Harris, director of the International Graduate School, hosted the event which included remarks from OBU President David W. Whitlock. The luncheon also included reflections from Dr. Kyle Tresch, dean of the Paul Dickinson School of Business; graduate Juli Gibson; and Dr. Rich Rudebock, Cargill associate professor of business.
"We are so proud of you accomplishing this significant achievement," Dr. Whitlock said. "You are one of the few in the world who hold the designation 'master of business administration.' You are one of a fewer set that holds that MBA from Oklahoma Baptist University. That's significant, and that's special.
"It's no small achievement to have done well at a place with such an excellent academic reputation," he said, noting OBU's consistently high ranking by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes.com.
Whitlock said the graduates must learn to balance their work in the business world with their life of Christian faith, despite what might sometimes seem like a challenge to their personal ethics. He said they are called to be good examples of Christians in a fairly dark corner of the world.
"I hope you are determined to live out Christian ethics, to live out a biblical worldview, and that you will pledge to be a witness for Christ in an area of our nation where 'salt' and 'light' is so badly needed," he said, referring to the biblical analogies of effective Christians.
Tresch compared the graduates' new degree to a set of effective tools. He said while many people visit a home improvement store and stock up on tools which appear attractive but may go unused, the graduates have been acquiring educational tools for the business world which will lead them toward success.
"You have spent a lot of hours acquiring tools at the OBU MBA hardware store," Tresch said. "And those tools are in the hands of the right people. With those tools, you can build."
Tresch said the graduates can build themselves by continuing to learn; build relationships, just as they did in their cohort; and build God's kingdom by significantly impacting the lives of other people.
Gibson reflected on the value of her education through the International Graduate School, noting the international business project, which is a part of the IGS MBA program.
"One of the richest experiences of my life was the trip to Brazil," she said.
Gibson said the intangible moments through the IGS courses - moments which cannot be programmed into a degree plan - were priceless to her. She thanked the MBA professors for building a Christian worldview in the global marketplace.
Rudebock summed up his reflection from a professor's perspective in 11 words: "Find what you love to do, and do it well."
He also offered four life lessons garnered from time on the racquetball court: Serve, communicate, don't look back, and celebrate accomplishments.
The luncheon concluded with the hooding ceremony of the MBA graduates.
MBA Graduates Honored - OBU's International Graduate School conferred master of business administration degrees on five students Dec. 18. Pictured, from left, are Michael Spears, Jana McQuain, Juli McKenzie Gibson, and Joseph Bechtel. Not pictured is Vicky Fine.