Three exceptional OBU faculty members were installed to academic positions Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium. Dr. Keith Harman, professor of business, was installed to the Ernest C. Wheeler Chair of Business; Dr. Robbie Henson, professor of nursing, was installed to the Lawrence C. and Marion V. Harris Chair of Nursing; and Dr. Benjamin Myers, associate professor of English, was installed to the Crouch-Mathis Professorship of Literature.
In each installation, OBU Provost Stan Norman presented the recipients with a certificate in recognition of exemplary scholarship and excellence in teaching. OBU President David W. Whitlock presented the recipients with the medallions representing the chairs and professorship.
At OBU, endowed chairs and professorships are awarded to select professors who are outstanding teachers and who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their academic disciplines. The gift which provides an endowed academic position is invested in the University's permanent endowment fund, and the annual earnings are used to assist with compensation. OBU currently has 15 active endowed chairs and 12 active endowed professorships.
Dr. Keith Harman, Ernest C. Wheeler Chair of Business
The Wheeler Chair was established through the estate of Ernest C. Wheeler of Bartlesville, Okla. The faculty member holding the endowed chair teaches courses in business and provides instruction to students in the concepts of free enterprise and the application of Christian ethics to business. A longtime resident of Bartlesville, Ernie Wheeler enjoyed 32 years in retirement following a 38-year career with Phillips Petroleum Co. He began his career with Phillips in 1931 and worked in the areas of accounting and stenography. He died in 2001.
Wheeler was a longtime supporter of OBU. In 1984, he and his wife, Ruby, established the Phoebe Wheeler Memorial Scholarship, in memory of his first wife. In 1990, the Wheelers started the funding process of the Ernest C. and Ruby Wheeler Professorship in Business. In 2000, Wheeler made a planned gift to OBU that continued his support to these two funds as well as the creation of the Ernest C. Wheeler Chair of Business, which was funded following his death.
Harman attended OBU from 1970-72. He earned a bachelor's degree in social studies from the University of Oklahoma. His graduate degrees include a master's degree in vocational education from The University of Oklahoma; a master's degree in finance and operations management from Webster University; and a Ph.D. in higher education management from The University of Oklahoma. He also participated in a post-doctoral study program at MIT and later at the U.S. Army War College. Harman joined the OBU faculty in 2006. He previously taught at Southeast Missouri State University, National-Louis University and Northcentral University.
A native of Oklahoma, Harman grew up in Del City. His parents were charter members of First Southern Baptist Church Del City. His mother, Frances, served as one of the church's first WMU officers. His father, Kenneth, was an entrepreneur, and Harman worked in the family business until he graduated from Del City High School.
Harman has authored or co-authored 60 publications, served as a co-investigator on two dozen grant and research projects, and developed or co-developed three dozen courses and workshops. His research interests include knowledge management and business strategy, online education, scholarly communication and valuation of intellectual capital. He has served as a co-editor and founder of journals affiliated with the Informing Science Institute.
Harman's career includes service in higher education as a faculty member, department chairperson, dean, campus director, academic program director and university trustee. He spent six years in the U.S. Army, and he has served at the executive level in several organizations and agencies. He began his career in the commercial banking business. Recently he has served as an advisory board member to an IT consulting firm, a university executive MBA program, an insurance company, and as a consultant to a local arts organization.
Dr. Robbie Henson, Lawrence C. and Marion V. Harris Chair of Nursing
The Harris Chair of Nursing was established by Lawrence C. (Larry) Harris and Marion V. (Sanders) Harris. Larry Harris was born in Pleasant Valley, Okla. He attended public school in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. He became a student at OBU in 1937, majoring in economics. Harris was a member of the OBU Emethean Club, president of the B-Club and a quarterback on the football team. He graduated in 1941.
Marion V. Sanders was born in Roswell, N.M. She attended public schools in Roswell, graduating from high school in 1935. She attended Francis Shimer Girls School in the Chicago area for two years, and then she attended Indiana University, graduating in 1940 with a degree in speech and English.
Harris worked six years in the abstract and title business before entering the oil and gas industry as an independent land-man. Many years later, he is still in the energy business on a limited basis. Mrs. Harris deeply devoted her time to raising their three children: Judy, Scott and Abby. She also was committed to her church, PEO Chapter and Shakespeare Club. She died in 2004.
The Harris' investment in Bison Hill has included general annual support for OBU, support for the athletics program and capital projects, and displaying attributes of ongoing friendship, loyalty and support for the University.
Henson graduated magna cum laude from OBU with a bachelor's degree in nursing. She received her master's degree as a clinical nurse specialist and educator from the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned her Ph.D. in nursing research and theory development from the University of Colorado. Henson has completed additional graduate study at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Before beginning her teaching career, Henson worked as a medical-surgical and critical care nurse in Tulsa, Fort Worth and Shawnee, and as a maternal/newborn nurse in Fort Worth. She served as an assistant head nurse in hospitals in both Tulsa and Fort Worth. After teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington, Henson came to OBU in 1991 where she teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate nursing programs.
At University of Texas at Arlington, Henson was named the Outstanding Senior Class Faculty Member and was nominated for the Piper Excellence in Teaching Award. She has received OBU's Promising Teacher award and the Oklahoma Nurses Association Nurse Educator of the Year award. She has been recognized for excellence by the National League of Nursing as a Certified Nurse Educator. She received a research grant for work on her doctoral research, "Nurse/Client Mutuality in Health Care Planning." Her work has been published in both journals and books.
Henson has served as administrative vice president and chair of the Scholarship Grants Committee for Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society Beta Delta chapter. At OBU, she is chair of the Professional Status and Standards Committee, as a member of Faculty Council and as secretary of the Graduate Council. She is an active member of First Baptist Church in Shawnee where she serves on the Youth Committee. She has been a part of mission teams serving most recently in Mexico, Georgia and Missouri.
Dr. Benjamin Myers, Crouch-Mathis Professorship of Literature
The Crouch-Mathis professorship was established by Miss Martha Mathis and her twin sister, Miss Mary Mathis. The professorship was established in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Mathis, and their aunt, Miss Ida Crouch. Mrs. Mathis and Miss Ida Crouch were great-aunts of the late Dr. Laura Crouch, a longtime literature faculty member of OBU. The Mathis sisters graduated from Texas Tech in 1937. After the death of their parents and aunt in the '50s, Mary and Martha inherited the family farms and continued to operate them profitably until 1976. The faculty member holding this post teaches courses in English literature.
Myers earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of the Ozarks, graduating with the scholastic predicate summa cum laude. He earned his master's degree and Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, where he received the prestigious Cornelison Graduate Prize for his research on the work of Edmund Spenser.
Myers' poems may be read in many of the nation's best literary journals, including "The New York Quarterly," "32 Poems," "Christianity and Literature," "Measure," "Tar River Poetry," "Nimrod" and many more. He won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry, awarded by the Oklahoma Center for the Book, for his first collection of poems, "Elegy for Trains," which was published by Village Books Press in 2010. His second book of poems, "Lapse Americana," has just been published by New York Quarterly Books.
He is a frequent contributor to "World Literature Today," for which he reviews books of contemporary poetry and books about poetics. His essays on poetry have appeared in several prominent academic journals, including "Studies in Philology" and "English Literary History." He has written on topics ranging from the postmodern poet John Ashbery and his relationship to consumer culture to the poetics of the Protestant Reformation in 16th century Ireland. Myers also has presented his work at numerous academic conferences.
With his wife, Mandy, he is raising three children: Grace, Elizabeth and Isaac. They live just a few blocks from Dr. Myers' childhood home in Chandler, Okla.