Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was the featured speaker during OBU's third annual Green and Gold Gala March 3 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Huckabee is a New York Times best-selling author and former host of the top rated weekend news program on Fox News. He gave an impassioned plea for the importance and significance of a Christian education, challenging attendees to give generously to support student scholarships at OBU. Over 550 people attended the event.
Kirsten McIntyre Gantz, OBU alumna and former Oklahoma City TV personality, served as master of ceremonies for the evening. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a former OBU student herself, welcomed the crowd and talked about the importance of an education at OBU.
"OBU is very near and dear to my heart," Fallin said. "My dad went to Oklahoma Baptist University…I went there my first two years of college."
"We are very proud of Oklahoma Baptist University," she said. "It is a world class institution. The students here should be very proud that you are attending such a great university that's going to offer you such a high quality education, which not only provides you an opportunity to establish yourself in your career, but also a university that cares about character, cares about values and teaches you the wonderful Christian heritage that OBU has. It's something I know that has served me very well as governor of the state of Oklahoma."
OBU student Hailey Atkinson led the invocation, while a student vocal group, "Voce Vera," provided the dinner entertainment.
OBU President David W. Whitlock greeted guests and reminded them of the significance of their support and generosity in the lives of OBU students.
"As I speak to groups around the world and around the country, I always explain to them that what we do at OBU matters," he said. "As an integral part of our family, what you do at OBU matters, too. Your generosity and your support make a powerful impact on our students and faculty. It makes a powerful impact in our state, in our nation and around the world. But most importantly, your support impacts the kingdom of God."
"With the blessings of more students on Bison Hill comes the increased need for scholarships," he said. "Our desire is to help ensure that every student that wants to attend OBU has the financial resources to follow God's call to Oklahoma Baptist University. When you impact a student's life, you're also touching the lives of everyone they encounter, whether they're on the mission field in Asia, in a corporate board room in Oklahoma City, in a pediatric ward in Texas or wherever their career may take them."
OBU alumnus Gary Underwood then took the stage to introduce Huckabee. Underwood serves as the chief information officer for the Arkansas State Treasurer's office. He worked for Huckabee as director of media operations in the governor's office and served on both his gubernatorial and presidential election campaigns.
Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas and served from 1996 to 2007, making him one of the longest serving governors in Arkansas history. He served as Lieutenant Governor for three years until July 1996, when his predecessor resigned as governor. He was one of the youngest governors in the country at the time. He was elected to a full four-year term as governor in 1998, attracting the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, and was re-elected to another four-year term in November 2002.
Most recently, he hosted "Huckabee," the number one rated weekend show on Fox News Channel and currently hosts The Huckabee Report three times daily on radio stations across the country. He is a New York Times bestselling author of 12 books. Time magazine honored Huckabee as one of the five best governors in America, and Governing magazine hailed him as one of its "Public Officials of the Year" for 2005. He has been honored by numerous organizations for his commitment to music education. He served as the chairman of the prestigious National Governors Association, as well as the Education Commission of the States, the Southern Governors Association and the Interstate Oil and Gas Commission.
Huckabee gave an impassioned plea for the importance and significance of a Christian education at OBU. "When a student goes to Oklahoma Baptist University, he's going to get more than an education," he said. "He's going to get a spiritual grounding and an understanding that his ultimate accountability is not to a professor, or a boss, and not even to a wife - it's to God."
"One of the reasons I'm happy to be here tonight, and I'm happy to urge you to give generously to the scholarship fund at Oklahoma Baptist University, is because while it's wonderful to build buildings…what makes OBU such an extraordinary place for the students is that it is a place where they will not only be challenged mentally, academically and intellectually, but they will be challenged spiritually, not just to be all that their peers are, but to be all that God has created them to be. Now, that is an education worth having."
"I cannot tell you what an impact it had in my life to be able to go to a college where I was not only challenged intellectually but where I was challenged spiritually," he said. "The reason this scholarship fund is so very important is because you don't know if there is some kid like me who really doesn't just want a Christian education, but really, really needs one. The difference between that kid going to OBU and just going somewhere, is you. You're making the investment in that kid's life, but there's a good chance they could be a teacher in one of your schools, they could be a surgeon that saves your wife's life in surgery. They might be a judge that properly adjudicates a case that's been raised against you because he has an understanding of Christian ethics as well as the law."