OBU presented the Herschel H. Hobbs Award for Distinguished Denominational Service, named in honor of a legendary Southern Baptist pastor and denominational statesman, to Dr. David S. Dockery on Tuesday, June 11, at a reception in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.
The reception was part of the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Dockery, who serves as president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., received the award from Dr. David W. Whitlock, president of OBU.
"David Dockery has had a profound impact on Christian higher education, generally, and OBU, specifically," Whitlock said. "In the providence of God, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities paired me with Dr. Dockery in their first-year mentorship program when I became president of OBU. His wisdom and influence was so important to me in that first year, and I count it a blessing to consider him a friend."
The award is named to honor the noteworthy Southern Baptist denominational service of Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs, a prolific author, preacher and radio program host. Hobbs was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City from 1949-72. He died in 1995.
"I was so privileged to get to know Dr. Hobbs during the end of his life," Dockery said. "He had a profound impact on me and my understanding of the Southern Baptist Convention. To receive this award is indeed a high honor."
Dockery was elected the 15th president of Union University on Dec. 8, 1995. A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., he earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He earned master of divinity degrees at Grace Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned a master's degree from Texas Christian University and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas System. He has completed additional studies at Drew University. In addition to his role as president of Union, he also serves as university professor of theology and the Christian tradition.
Under Dockery's leadership, Union has established a School of Theology and Missions and a School of Pharmacy. In addition to several professorial chairs, the university also has established the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership; Rosebrough Center for Educational Practice; Ryan Center for Biblical Studies; Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice; Center for Religion and Politics; Hammons Center for Faith and Science; Center for Media, Faith and Culture; Center for Racial Reconciliation; Hundley Center for Academic Achievement and Keystone Programs; Institute for International and Intercultural Studies; Center for Faculty Development; Center for Just and Caring Communities; and R. G. Lee Centers and R. G. Lee Society of Fellows.
Prior to his presidency, Dockery served as vice president for academic administration (1993-96), dean of the School of Theology (1992-96); and professor of New Testament Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1990-92, he served as a general editor for Broadman and Holman Press at the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources).
He has served in various ministerial roles in churches in Alabama, Texas and New York, with several interim pastorates in Texas, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. He also has served as visiting professor of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; affiliated professor of theology at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary; distinguished professor of theology and Baptist studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and visiting professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School. He has been a conference speaker, lecturer, teacher and preacher at numerous places including the C. S. Lewis Institute at Oxford University; White House Christian Fellowship at Qingdao University in Qingdao, China; and the Baptist Theological Seminary of Singapore, among many more. He is the author of 12 books and has served as editor and contributor to many additional works.
Dockery is married to Lanese Dockery, a magna cum laude graduate of Union University who also attended the University of Alabama. They have three sons and five grandchildren.