Skip area navigation

Donovan Named Director of New Volunteer Services

February 25, 2011

In addition to coordinating volunteers into an effective and timely network, Donovan will assist in the creation of a training manual for the program, develop a list of needs on campus and communicate the opportunities to serve with potential volunteers.

Donovan has invested his career in local ministry through church staff involvement and through pioneering chaplaincy work. He has worked with hospital chaplaincy, as a chaplain with Heartland Hospice, and in prison chaplaincy. In addition to his career work, he has led previous efforts for hands-on assistance at OBU.

"Having served as a chaplain in both medical and correctional settings, I have seen how valuable volunteers are in providing 'value added' services," Donovan said. "I know that they can bring both quality and quantity of service which cannot be paid for. Volunteers are not a substitute for, but an adjunct to, the employed staff by having the time to do the extra 'little things' employees are unable to do because of time and work constraints."

Donovan graduated from OBU in 1955; his wife, Peggy, graduated from OBU in 1953. The couple met on Bison Hill, and Bill proposed to Peggy on the lawn in front of Shawnee Hall. They married in 1953. Following graduation, Donovan pursued a master of divinity degree. He served as pastor of Baptist churches in Oklahoma and Texas from 1947-75. The Donovans worked together through chaplaincy, volunteers and in-service staffs. Peggy also worked as a nurse.

In 1975, Donovan became senior chaplain at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., and he completed his doctorate. His role shifted in 1983, when he became administrator of religious programs for the Department of Corrections in Oklahoma City. In 1986, he became director of institutional and business-industrial chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board in Atlanta, Ga.

Retirement brought the Donovans home to Shawnee in 1995, where they are active in First Baptist Church. They have four children, all who attended OBU: Cynthia Donovan-Wallis, ex '79; Stephen Donovan, ex '80; Rebecca Donovan-Bushong, '79; and Lori Donovan, ex '86.

Through OBU's Volunteer Services program, volunteers will be used anywhere extra help is needed, Donovan said. Tasks might include routine office and clerical work; athletic and other special events; theater; library; maintenance; Geiger Center; landscape; and periods of heavy activity such as enrollment, graduation and Homecoming.

"They will be used wherever the need is wherever the requests are generated," he said. "The screening, orientation, training and security checks will make it possible to use them in most settings of the university. They will be much more than greeters, guides and hospitality providers."

OBU President David W. Whitlock said that shortly after OBU hosted the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's annual meeting in November, the university began seeking ways it could maintain the strong level of volunteer involvement that made the event possible. He said the new Volunteer Services program will allow OBU to intentionally connect with local residents who have skill sets that can help the university achieve its mission.

"As we embrace our Volunteer Services program, we will not only benefit from the expertise and experience of these volunteers," Whitlock said. "We also will create a team of OBU ambassadors who help our community know more about OBU and our mission."

OBU's mission is to transform lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.

Donovan said any interested person is welcome to apply to serve through the program. Volunteers approved to serve will have gone through a personal screening interview, assessment of skill level and security check, and they must affirm their agreement with the stated mission and goals of OBU. The same non-discrimination policy which applies to the hiring of OBU personnel applies to volunteers.

For more information about OBU's Volunteer Services program, contact Donovan at (405) 878-3279 or e-mail