Editor's Note: OBU alums Doug Melton, a 1983 OBU graduate, and Lana (Dotson) Melton, a 1986 graduate, are 2013 recipients of the OBU Alumni Association's Profile In Excellence Award. The award is given to a former student who has "demonstrated recognizable accomplishment in his or her profession, business, avocation, or life service in such a way as to bring pride and honor to the University." Each year, Profile In Excellence recipients are featured in OBU Magazine.
Oklahoma Baptist leaders Doug and Lana (Dotson) Melton love OBU, an affection founded on a long legacy of fellow OBU graduates and experiences, and they are building a legacy of their own with a family which has followed in their footsteps on Bison Hill.
Doug, a 1983 OBU alum, serves as senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Other than a youth ministry position while he completed a master's degree and doctorate at the University of Texas, Melton has only worked one other place: OBU.
Melton joined OBU's Admissions Office following graduation. He later worked as associate director of admissions; as director of development for foundation and corporate giving; and, as dean of students.
"Third to my relationship to Christ and my marriage, OBU has been one of the greatest influences in my life," Doug said. "The summer after I graduated, OBU gave me the opportunity to go to work for them, and I would never imagine that, 16 years later, I would still be working with the university. A great number of the skills I learned that have been so helpful -- not only in the university setting but also church life -- I acquired at OBU."
As pastor of Southern Hills, Doug juggles the roles of under-shepherd, preacher, teacher and administrator to the church's 3,500 members, while reaping the reward of "seeing people's lives changed for the glory of God and getting to be part of his Kingdom's work," he said.
Doug is well-known to thousands of Baptists not only for his involvement in student's lives at OBU, but also for his role as president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma from 2010-12, among other BGCO executive leadership roles. He also served on the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee from 2003-11.
Lana, a 1986 alum, is administrative assistant at the OBU Graduate School in Oklahoma City. Her education degree from OBU not only prepared her for many years in preschool and children's ministry, but also for raising four sons. Lana said OBU instilled in her a drive for hard work, diligence, perseverance and the desire to be a life-long learner. She credits Dr. Jimmie Russell for challenging her students to adopt innovative and forward-thinking methods of teaching.
"Her influence has stayed with me as a teacher, parent and in my years working with preschool/children's ministry," Lana said. "As a teacher, it was challenging to meet the needs of so many children who learned in different ways, and some more quickly than others. It required planning, preparing, organizing and, sometimes, thinking outside the box.
"Through the years, as I've worked with children in settings other than the classroom, and now even in my work as administrative assistant at the Graduate School, I find myself falling on these very same skills. How rewarding, though, to see learning take place and tasks accomplished!"
Three of the Meltons' four sons have attended OBU: Andrew, a 2010 graduate, is married to Brittany (Cook) Melton, '08; Zachary, '12, is married to Elizabeth (Hammons) Melton, '12; and Brandon is a rising senior in OBU's Class of 2014. Samuel, a rising senior in high school, is considering attending OBU, too.
And while the Meltons insist all their boys have been allowed to choose where they will attend college, their sons have found that, in their family, going to OBU is like going home.
View a list of others who have received the Profile in Excellence award.