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Spring Commencement to Feature Address by Hall, Honorary Doctorates

May 3, 2016

OBU will hold its 2016 Spring Commencement Friday, May 13, at 3 p.m. The event will take place in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on the OBU campus in Shawnee. Tickets are required for admission.

Shane Hall, OBU alumnus and senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Del City, Oklahoma, will present the commencement address. During the ceremony, the university will confer honorary doctorates to three recipients, including Paul Milburn, J. Thomas Terry and Rev. Dr. Eric Mayes, Jr. for their various accomplishments and contributions to the university. 

Hall was born in Indiana in 1971 and graduated from OBU with a bachelor’s degree in education. He then went on to earn a Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has pastored churches in Oklahoma and Louisiana for more than 20 years, serving in his current position since December 2013. He and his wife, Misty, married in 2001 and have two daughters, Maci and Mallory.

Paul Milburn will receive an Honorary Doctor of Business during commencement. He is a land developer and the owner of Paul Milburn Acreages. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University. In 2012, OBU dedicated the Paul and Ann Milburn Student Success Center in honor of the couple’s financial contributions to the university. The Student Success Center is designed to assist students of all majors, classifications and academic needs with comprehension of course material as well as in the development of study, research, analytical, reading, writing and critical thinking skills. 

Milburn is a more than 50-year member of the Shawnee Lions Club. He has served more than 45 years as a board member of the Salvation Army and has worked with Boy Scouts, the Sister City Program and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He helped organize the Shawnee Police Foundation and established a library at the local prison. He is a member of the executive board of the Pottawatomie County Historical Society and is the instigator of the building campaign for an additional museum for the Society. He received the Max Brattin award in 2015 from the Shawnee Educational Foundation in recognition of his work to reduce the dropout rate at Shawnee High School.

J. Thomas Terry will also receive an Honorary Doctor of Business. Terry, OBU vice president for business affairs emeritus, joined the university staff in 1967 as treasurer and comptroller. He was promoted to vice president in 1975 and served as interim administrator (president) in 1982. As vice president for business affairs, he supervised the offices of financial aid, business services and the OBU Physical Plant while providing oversight for campus construction and renovation projects. He retired from full-time service in 1995 and served as assistant to the president until 1998, when he became the director of the university archives. He retired as university archivist in July 2011.

Terry graduated from Canton High School in Texas in 1947. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Baylor University in 1951 and pursued graduate work on a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1981, he received the OBU Alumni Distinguished Service Award, given to individuals who have brought honor to the University through their careers and/or life contributions. In 1990, he received OBU’s Meritorious Service Award, presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has made a substantial commitment of years and service, and who has been a loyal and faithful faculty or staff member.

Rev. Dr. Eric Mayes, Jr. will posthumously receive an Honorary Doctor of Divinity. Mayes served as pastor at Unity Baptist Church in Oklahoma City for 48 years. He also served as an instructor for Deacon Training for the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education. He designed the new members’ curriculum for the church, which was shared and adopted by many other churches in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. He developed ministerial workshop curricula that have been administered in countless churches and venues. He authored five books for the development of Christian service and leadership.

Mayes became the first African-American graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University when he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1963. He continued his education with a master’s degree in secondary education and religious education. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from International Seminary.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army during his junior year at Boley High School and served in France, Austria and Germany. He taught for several years in the Oklahoma City Public Schools. He also co-organized One Church, One Child Adoption of Oklahoma and was instrumental in placing a number of children in safe homes with loving families. He served as a member of the board of directors of the National Baptist Convention and as treasurer at the state level. He was a member of the Baptist Ministers Association of Oklahoma City and the first president of Concerned Clergy for Spiritual Renewal. He was a member of the Urban League of Greater Metropolitan Oklahoma City, the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Rev. Mayes passed away in September 2014 at the age of 90.