Early in the 20th century, the Baptist University of Oklahoma received its incorporation certificate, officially birthing a new university in Shawnee. Now in its 105th year of providing an excellent Christian liberal arts education, Oklahoma Baptist University continues its annual tradition of observing Founders' Day, honoring those who have left an imprint on OBU's legacy.
Each year in February, OBU commemorates a chapel service to those who have dedicated years of their lives to Bison Hill.
Robert Kellogg, president and CEO of the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, delivered the 2015 Founders' Day address Wednesday, Feb. 4, in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium. In his address, Kellogg examined three words - inheritance, legacy and stewardship - and issued a challenge to the OBU community.
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He first spoke on inheritance, and the opportunities afforded to students because of OBU's heritage.
"… Certainly inheritance has a deeper and richer meaning than just mere financial dividend. Inheritance is the important and valuable life lessons that have been hard earned, painfully learned, and zealously accumulated and protected - passed from one generation to the next," Kellogg said.
"It is the beliefs, traditions, achievements and experiences of our forefathers that shape who we are. It is their hopes, desires and dreams for us. Legacy is the history and heritage passed from generation to generation within a community, society or family. We - the students, faculty, staff and administration - are the beneficiaries of a rich inheritance."
Kellogg encouraged listeners to think of their own legacies and how they would impact future generations.
"Legacy, simply defined, is the inheritance we will leave behind for the next generation. It is how we will be remembered - what we did, how we did it and why we did it."
Kellogg said people are writing their legacy right now, intentionally or not.
"If you want to have a legacy of significance, you need to be found faithful now with the small things."
To successfully leave behind an impactful legacy, Kellogg said stewardship is key.
"Stewardship is the bridge from the inheritance you receive to the legacy you will leave behind. It is how you would administer the time, treasure and talents you have been afforded. It is how you receive, invest and account for, and distribute the opportunities. What will your legacy be?"
Kellogg encouraged students to make use of their inheritance at OBU.
"Students, if you will embrace the inheritance that you have received from this institution, and if you will steward it to the best of your God-given ability, you can leave a legacy of good days for yourselves, those who have invested in you, and those you come into contact with."
Kellogg challenged students with paraphrased words from a letter Abigail Adams once wrote to her son, John Quincy Adams.
"You have been the beneficiary of great advantages, and your increase should be in proportion," Kellogg said.
Following the address, OBU conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree upon Dr. Oteka Ball, OBU professor emerita of sociology and child care administration.
Ball joined the OBU faculty in 1989 as assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1995. She retired from the university in 2004.
She and her husband conducted marriage communication labs in the 1970s, and trained ministers and their wives to lead marriage communication seminars in the 1980s. Ball is a certified family life educator by the National Council on Family Relations. She also worked with Governor Frank Keating's Covenant Marriage Proposal in Oklahoma.
"Dr. Ball has dedicated her life to helping others, academically and professionally, working tirelessly for Oklahoma families," Dr. David W. Whitlock, president of OBU, said, prior to honoring her with the degree.
Learn more about OBU's history.