OBU will award an honorary doctor of divinity degree to Dr. Thomas D. Elliff, president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, during the Spring Commencement ceremony Friday, May 11, in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium.
The presentation will be made by OBU President David W. Whitlock.
A third generation Southern Baptist pastor, Elliff was named president of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2011. Prior to serving as the president of the IMB, he served as the founder of Living in the Word Publications, a speaking, writing and conference ministry focused on the necessity of spiritual awakening.
Elliff was senior vice president for spiritual nurture and church relations of the IMB and served as the senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Del City, Okla., for 21 years. He was pastor of Applewood Baptist Church in Lakewood, Colo., from 1983-85; an IMB missionary to Zimbabwe from 1981-83; and pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church in Tulsa from 1972-81.
Born in Paris, Texas, he received the bachelor of arts degree in history from Ouachita Baptist University in 1966, the master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1971, and in 2007, he earned a doctorate of ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Elliff is the author of numerous books, and he served as a contributing author to various publications such as "Master Life," "The Disciples' Study Bible" and "The Family Worship Bible."
He has served through a variety of responsibilities within the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Elliff served as the Southern Baptist Convention president in 1996-97 and again in 1997-98. He has led multiple crusades and conferences in the United States and overseas.
Elliff and his wife, Jeannie Thomas, have been married for 45 years. They have three daughters and one son: Beth Cox, Amy Jarboe, Sarah Mann and Dr. Jon Elliff. They are the grandparents of 25 grandchildren.