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OBU Recognizes Outstanding Alumni During Homecoming Festivities

November 7, 2014

The OBU Alumni Association recognized two Alumni Achievement Award winners at the annual Harvest Dinner during homecoming festivities Friday, Nov. 7. Alumni Achievement Awards are the highest honors given by the OBU Alumni Association. Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievement in his or her profession, business, vocation or life service, of such nature as to justify pride on the part of the OBU community for its part in the contribution. Pictured above, left to right: award winner George Wilson, '52; OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock; and award winner Bob Hoffman, '79.

Wilson was a career Southern Baptist missionary and administrator. He was previously honored with the Alumni Association's Profile in Excellence award in 1984 and honored by the University with an honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1992. Hoffman is a former OBU men's basketball player and head coach. He led the Bison men's basketball team from 1990-99, claiming a coaching record of 243-79 at OBU and earning 1993 NAIA Coach of the Year honors. He was inducted into the OBU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. For a full story on each award winner, view the OBU Magazine.

Eleven winners of the OBU Alumni Association's 2014 Profile In Excellence Award were honored during the annual Harvest Dinner Friday, Nov. 7. These awards are given to former students who have demonstrated recognizable accomplishment in his or her profession, business, avocation, or life service. The event took place during homecoming festivities on the OBU campus in Shawnee. Pictured above, front row, left to right: Dr. Kay Harris Mizell, '69; Kay Casey Smith, '81; Dr. Elbert Smith, '80; Glen Redding, Jr., '76; and Brad Leslie, '61. Back row, left to right: Kevin Klinger, '94; Andy Harrison, '89; Ryan Abernathy, '97; Ray Ballew, '55; Julie Jennings, '93; and Susan Baker Wooten, '74. Not pictured: Ryan Powell, '97.

Each of the twelve recipients has been featured in a 2014 edition of the OBU Magazine.

Ryan Blackwell, '06, a pastor and church planter, received the Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award at the annual Harvest Dinner during homecoming festivities Friday, Nov. 7. The GOLD Award is presented annually by the OBU Alumni Association to honor an outstanding young alum each year for special achievement and loyal service in their pecific field of endeavor. Blackwell recently completed his fourth year serving as Lead Pastor of a church re-plant of First Baptist Church, San Francisco, California. Over that span of time, the church has experienced revitalization and has grown from 100 to over 300 people attending on a weekly basis. He was unable to attend the event, and his parents accepted the award on his behalf, pictured above with OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock. Read a full story on Blackwell.

Dr. Robert O. Laessig was inducted into the OBU Faculty Hall of Fame during the annual Harvest Dinner Friday, Nov. 7. Laessig passed away in 1987 and was represented by family to accept the award in his behalf. A native of Germany, Dr. Laessig first came to OBU in 1947 as associate professor of German. He was later named professor of German and distinguished service professor of humanities. Besides German, he at times taught Russian, led the OBU band and taught music appreciation classes, as he played several instruments. He spoke 12 languages fluently and could read and write around 20 more. Pictured above, Laessig's sons receive the award from OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock.