Corey Fuller, associate professor of graphic design and chair of the Division of Art and Design, was installed into the Ruth Jay Odom Professorship of Fine Art during Oklahoma Baptist University’s annual Convocation service Aug. 30.
Endowed chairs and professorships are the most distinguished teaching posts at Oklahoma Baptist University and are awarded only to professors who are outstanding teachers and who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their academic disciplines. The gift, which provides an endowed academic position, is invested in the University’s permanent endowment fund, and the annual earnings are used to assist with compensation.
During the installation, Dr. Stan Norman, provost and executive vice president for campus life, presented Fuller with a certificate in recognition of exemplary scholarship and excellence in teaching, and OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock presented him with the medallion representing the professorship.
Following the Convocation, a luncheon was held in recognition of Fuller’s achievement. Dr. Chris Mathews, dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, introduced Fuller to the attendees.
“The beauty of God, the love of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit are clearly evident in this man, God’s workmanship displaying the incomparable riches of His grace,” Mathews said. “I’m honored to be his dean, proud to serve as his colleague and inspired to call him friend.”
Fuller joined the OBU faculty in 2009 after completing a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Central Oklahoma. He received OBU's Promising Teacher Award in 2013, was promoted to associate professor in 2015, and was named the chair of the Division of Art and Design in 2016, only the third chair in the division’s history.
He has given solo exhibitions at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum of Art in Oklahoma City, the Beard Arts Center in Indiana, and Space 38/39 in New York City. In addition to teaching, Fuller has remained active as a freelance designer, assisting clients with branding and marketing efforts. Clients include Legacy Bank, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, The Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Community Renewal, Habitat for Humanity and the United Way.
He has served on the educational board and as vice president of the Oklahoma chapter of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists). His work has earned recognition from the American Marketing Association and the American Advertising Federation, including several Gold Addy awards. In 2014 Fuller co-founded, along with Dr. Brent Newsom, the journal “Ink & Letters,” a journal of art, creativity and Christian faith.
Fuller and his wife, Kara, have three daughters, Karlee, Harper and Nora, and are members of University Baptist Church. He counts it an honor and privilege to serve alongside OBU's faculty and to be a part of the Shawnee community.
Fuller was humbled by this recognition.
“I’m so grateful that the Odoms chose to make this wonderful gift to support the College of Fine Arts at OBU,” Fuller said. “We consider it a privilege to continue to honor the legacy of Ruth Odom and her passion for education, particularly in the realm of visual arts.”
A lifelong resident of Oklahoma and Texas, Ruth Jay Odom was born July 10, 1909, in Chelsea, Oklahoma, to Rufus and Minnie Jay. She was the only daughter of five children. After attending local schools, she entered Oklahoma College for Women then transferred to Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) where she graduated in 1935. On April 17, 1937, she married German Pratt Odom, whom she later predeceased by 12 years.
She enjoyed a 30-year teaching career at the elementary and high school levels in Haskell, Cleveland and Chelsea. She taught while German served in North Africa and Southern Italy during World War II. In 1975, she retired as an art teacher at Irving High School in Irving, Texas. She won many awards relating to her teaching and her art.
Odom was an avid painter who delighted in her art and her teaching, and cherished each student she taught. She worked in charcoal, oil, pastels, pencil and watercolor. Her style saw its beginning at Oklahoma A&M with artist/instructor Doyle Reed. She later studied with water colorist Ella Jack, and did post-graduate work in painting and sculpture at the University of Dallas. Ruth and German retired to Haskell in 1976. They were active members of the First Baptist Church before her death in 1987 and his in 1999.