OBU alumna Willa Ruth Garlow will present the University's Winter Commencement Address during the 2 p.m. graduation ceremony on Friday, Dec. 14, in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium.
The 2012 Winter Commencement will be the first ceremony to combine graduation ceremonies for both OBU's undergraduate students, who study on the Shawnee campus, and students from the OBU Graduate School, which is located in Oklahoma City.
Garlow is a motivational speaker, childhood specialist and writer. Her latest book is "Sharing God's Love and Joy," devotionals for senior adults. She has written two books for preschoolers, "My Church" and "Jesus is a Special Person." She also wrote "Outreach for Preschoolers" and helped coordinate LifeWay Christian Resource's "Preschool Extended Teaching Care Manual." She has written curriculum materials and articles for LifeWay publications and various other magazines and periodicals. She currently is writing curriculum for the Southern Baptist Stewardship Association.
A 1950 OBU graduate, Garlow also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1980, she was presented OBU's Alumni Achievement Award. In 2003, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the faculty of the School of Educational Ministries at Southwestern Seminary.
Garlow has spoken in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and 34 states in the United States. For two summers, she and her husband taught at the Baptist Seminary in Budapest, Hungary. She has served on local church staffs as minister to preschoolers and children. She served on the Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma from 2009-12.
Garlow's husband, Dr. J. Lyle Garlow, is retired associate executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Also a 1950 OBU graduate, he was awarded the University's Alumni Achievement Award and an honorary doctor of divinity degree.
The Garlows live in Oklahoma City and are active members of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. They have two children, Dawne and Sam, both graduates of OBU; five grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.