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Three Long-Time Educators Retire from Posts

August 13, 2010

Dr. Carol Bell, associate professor of music, and Dr. Jim Hansford, Burton Patterson professor of music and director of bands, both retired in July, following 20 years of service at Oklahoma Baptist University. Earlier in 2010, Diane Shank retired as technical services librarian. She joined the OBU faculty as a librarian in 1969.

Bell earned a bachelor's degree from William Carey College, and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. At OBU, she taught courses including class piano, piano sight reading, piano literature, major and minor applied piano, piano ensemble, principals of choral accompanying and choral accompanying lab.

Dr. Carol Bell

Dr. Jim Hansford

Diane Shank

"Dr. Bell's investment in her students has helped them become better pianists as well as better persons," said Dr. Paul Hammond, dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts. "While we have often joked about her Mississippi accent, her gentle spirit and warm personality belie the discipline and high expectations she has for her students."

In the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association, she has served as an adjudicator, presenter, local association president and state composition competition chair. She has served as the South Central Division composition competition coordinator for the Music Teachers National Association. She was chapter secretary of Pi Kappa Lambda in 1991-92. She also is a member of Delta Omicron, College Music Society and American Brahms Society.

Bell was married to the late Digby Bell, who taught and performed at OU for more than 40 years. For 25 of those years, he served as the chairman of the OU keyboard department. The Bells were well known in Oklahoma as a duo pianist team. Following his death in March 2004, Bell and her fellow OBU music faculty established the annual Digby Bell Memorial Recital, presented at OBU each spring.

Bell is a member of First Baptist Church in Shawnee, where she has served as the church pianist. Her hobbies include reading and walking. She has three grown children: Stephen, Richard and Elisabeth.

Hansford earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of North Texas. At OBU, he taught courses including advanced conducting, instrumental methods and procedures, marching band techniques, band literature and applied low brass, in addition to serving as conductor of the Symphonic Band and the OBU-Shawnee Community Orchestra.

Hansford stays active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in the public schools and churches of Oklahoma, Texas and the Southwestern United States. He regularly supervises student teachers and educators in their entry-year residency programs. In the summer of 2004 Hansford lectured at the School of Music at Xinjiang Normal University in Urumqi, China. He has served as conductor of the Oklahoma Baptist All-State Symphonic Band since 1992, including tours to England and British Columbia and trips to Boston and Phoenix.

"During Dr. Hansford's tenure, the annual fall M&Ms Concert continued to grow in popularity, and his choice of concert literature raised the bar for the next director," Hammond said. "It has been a special privilege for me to work with Jim as the founding director of the OBU-Shawnee Community Orchestra."

Hansford is an active member of First Baptist Church in Shawnee where he sings in the choir and serves as a deacon. His wife, Conchita, a children's music specialist who directs the Shawnee Honor Choir, is director of OBU's Preparatory Department. They have two daughters, Candace and Tamara, and two grandchildren, Channing and Clark.

Hansford plans to continue conducting the OBU-Shawnee Community Orchestra following his retirement.

Shank earned a bachelor's degree at the University of North Texas, and a master's degree at Louisiana State University. Before coming to OBU, she worked as a children's librarian at the Dallas Public Library.

"She has invested 41 years of service on the University campus, helping OBU negotiate many changes in library services over that span," said OBU President David Whitlock.

Shank was a member of the Oklahoma Library Association and the Southern Baptist Librarians Association. She enjoys antiques, reading and dogs.