During their spring meeting on the Shawnee campus May 14-15, the Oklahoma Baptist University Board of Trustees approved faculty promotions and contracts, participated in three groundbreaking ceremonies and attended OBU's 100th Spring Commencement Ceremony.
Board members and members of the university community attended groundbreaking ceremonies for three new facilities on campus: Jane E. and Nick K. Stavros Hall, the fourth building in the Residential Village, and the Mathena Center.
Designed to be a leading-edge nursing education facility, Stavros Hall will house the College of Nursing in 31,000 square feet of classrooms, labs, meeting rooms and office space. The new Residential Village structure will house 162 students in 41,810 square feet of suite-style housing, with a large space to be shared by all students in the Residential Village. The Mathena Center, a free-standing building to be constructed in the Eddie Hurt Athletic Complex, will provide athletic medical facilities to attend to injuries and rehabilitation for OBU student-athletes.
In his report to the board, Dr. David Whitlock, OBU president, told trustees the $42 million Vision for a New Century Capital Campaign has resulted in gifts and pledges totaling more than $38.6 million.
"We have seen the amazing hand of God at work through outstanding alumni, donors, friends, faculty and staff of the University," Whitlock said. "We rejoice over the provision of more than $17 million to establish 118 unique endowed funds at OBU. Most of these endowed funds are scholarships, allowing more students to experience the life-transforming educational experience found on Bison Hill."
The board approved promotions for six faculty members. Dr. Vickie Shamp Ellis was promoted from associate professor of communication studies to professor of communication studies. Dr. Krista Hands was promoted from assistant professor of mathematics to associate professor of mathematics. Dr. Louima Lilite was promoted from assistant professor of voice to associate professor of voice. Dr. Jennifer McQuade, was promoted from assistant professor of voice to associate professor of voice. Dr. Rich Rudebock was promoted from associate professor of business to professor of business. Dr. Tony Yates was promoted from assistant professor of science to associate professor of science.
Board members approved contracts for nine new faculty members. New faculty include Dr. John Cragin, professor of social entrepreneurship and international business; Dr. D. H. Dilbeck, assistant professor of history; Dr. Alan Noble, assistant professor of English; Dr. Michael Travers, professor of English, chair for the division of language and literature, associate dean for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Kellie Young, assistant professor of education; Megan Smith, assistant professor of nursing; Natalie Tapley, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Garrett J. Rea, assistant professor of mathematics; and Rita Williams, assistant professor of nursing.
Trustees renewed OBU President David Whitlock's contract and extended the length from three years to four years.
The board approved the rank of professor emeritus for five retired professors including Dr. Carol Ann Bell, retired associate professor of music; Dr. Paul Hammond, retired dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts; Dr. Jim Hansford, retired Burton H. Patterson professor of music and director of bands; Sandra Meyer, retired associate professor of music; and Dr. Robert Dawson, retired professor of applied ministry and WMU professor of missions.
Dr. Brad Jett, OBU's James E. Hurley, professor of biology, delivered the commencement address during OBU's 100th Spring Commencement ceremony honoring a graduating class of 293 students in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium.
David Lawrence, chair of OBU's 31-member board of trustees, moderated the board's plenary session. Lawrence is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Weatherford, Okla.