OBU held a dedication and ribbon cutting for the Ford Family Home Tuesday, May 12. The home was donated by the Ford family, founders and owners of Shawnee Milling Company, now known as Shawnee Mills. The home is located on North Broadway in Shawnee. It was originally built in 1912 and has housed four generations of the Ford family.
The university will use the facility to house global consultants, who serve overseas, while they are home in the United States. During each academic year, these consultants will meet with students to provide training, prayer and encouragement while students prepare for careers of service abroad.
Dr. Bill Ford, president of Shawnee Mills, spoke about the family's history as well as the history of the company they founded and still operate today. He retraced the history of his grandfather, J. Lloyd Ford, who moved to Oklahoma in 1901 and founded Shawnee Milling Company in 1906.
Joe Ford, vice president for operations at Shawnee Mills, personally helped restore the home beginning in 2005. "As I worked on this house, I felt so lucky to be preserving something in my family's history," he said. "We are so thankful that OBU will be using it for this purpose. We are very proud to be a part of that tradition."
OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock reflected on the significance of the longstanding relationship between the Ford family and Oklahoma Baptist University. "Perhaps no other name is more closely associated with OBU than the Ford family. For 105 years, the Ford family has been a champion for distinctively Christian higher education and specifically for Oklahoma Baptist University." He recalled how J. Lloyd Ford was instrumental in the formation and early success of OBU.
"That relationship between the Ford family and OBU continues today and on into the distant future with the gift of this home," Whitlock said. "We are sincerely grateful for the Ford House."