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Mabee Foundation Issues $1 Million Challenge Grant

July 25, 2013

Located on the corner of MacArthur Street and Kickapoo Ave., Stavros Hall will be one of the first buildings seen as visitors arrive on the Shawnee campus. The foundation's grant is contingent on the university securing the additional $8.378 million for the project by July 9, 2014. To date, $6,752,084 has been secured toward the challenge grant.

"Since its inception, the OBU College of Nursing has led Oklahoma in preparing graduates who live out a Christian ministry in their daily professions as nurses and nurse educators," said OBU President David W. Whitlock. "Grants such as these empower the College of Nursing to provide students a cutting-edge education with a Christian foundation."

"One of my consistent statements to the faculty and staff at Oklahoma Baptist University is, 'What we do matters,'" Dr. Whitlock said in a letter to the Mabee Foundation. "Likewise, what you have done for us matters. Your investment in Oklahoma Baptist University will assist us for years to come as we continue to educate students from a Christian worldview."

The OBU College of Nursing was the first baccalaureate nursing program in Oklahoma and the first baccalaureate program in Oklahoma accredited by the National League for Nursing. The program has maintained continuous accreditation (currently through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) throughout its history. Founded in 1952, the first graduation was in 1956 with 10 students. Since then, the College of Nursing has graduated more than 1,000 students with baccalaureate nursing degrees. OBU has experienced a 177 percent increase in enrollment from 1999 to 2012-13, with 237 students enrolled in the College of Nursing.

Lepaine McHenry, dean of the OBU College of Nursing, said one of the best ways to promote healthy lifestyles is to provide nurses who are educated and prepared to address the health needs of individuals, families and communities and, OBU has seen an increased enrollment to the bachelor of science in nursing degree program.

"Students are able to participate in a wide array of patient encounters provided by our clinical partners that prepare our graduates to meet the health needs of individuals across the life span and along the continuum of health and wellness," McHenry said. "However, in order to expand enrollment and broaden career opportunities in nursing, new facilities, simulation laboratories and classroom space is essential to accomplish this need. Preparing students with cutting-edge technology utilizing evidence based practice in a rapidly changing health care environment is paramount in their ability to impact the delivery of high quality care."

"The receipt of the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation grant toward the construction of the Jane E. & Nick K. Stavros Hall (College of Nursing Building) will be instrumental in assisting us in achieving this goal," McHenry said. "This facility will provide students an environment that will be conducive to the development of a well-rounded education in the liberal arts and sciences that are critical to meet the physical and psychological needs of individuals, families and communities. We are excited for the opportunity to expand our territories with this generous donation."

In 2006, the Mabee Foundation issued a $717,000 challenge grant for OBU's The Winning Spirit Campaign for Wellness and Athletics, which included the renovation of the Noble Complex for Athletics; construction of the Recreation and Wellness Center; construction of the Eddie Hurt Jr. Memorial Track Complex; expansion of the Jay P. Chance Track Building to include the Bob Keck Indoor Practice Facility; construction of the Harry E. Coates Sr. Baseball and Softball Facility; and relocation of the fields for the McDowell Family Intramural Program.

Other projects the Mabee Foundation has supported at OBU during the past 40 years include the John Wesley Raley Chapel and the chapel's Mabee Fine Arts Center; the Mabee Learning Center, OBU's main library; the 2,400-seat Mabee Arena in the Noble Complex; the W.P. Wood Science Building; Montgomery Hall; Devereaux West Apartments; Mrs. W.S. Kerr Memorial Dormitory; and the Bailey Business Center. In 1998, the foundation issued a $400,000 challenge grant for the university's fine arts renovation projects.

Founded in 1948 by John and Lottie Mabee, the foundation assists religious, charitable and educational organizations which "combine sound character and stability with progressiveness and purpose." The foundation makes grants to institutions and organizations in a six-state region, including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.