During their spring meeting on the Shawnee campus May 18, the Oklahoma Baptist University Board of Trustees attended the University’s 104th Spring Commencement, approved faculty promotions and new faculty contracts, and authorized remodeling a portion of the Geiger Center.
The board approved a recommendation from the OBU benefits committee to add two energy conservation days to the week of Thanksgiving, beginning with the 2018-19 academic calendar. According to Jeff Moore, Board of Trustees chair of the academic services committee, this action will allow buildings to be closed the full week of Thanksgiving resulting in energy savings to the University. It also allows employees who have students in area schools already taking those days off to be with their children.
Trustees authorized construction contracts for remodeling a portion of the lower level of the Geiger Center to allow Spiritual Life offices and meeting spaces to be moved from Montgomery Hall to a space adjacent to Student Life. OBU’s Women of Vision provided $70,000 for the remodeling of the new Spiritual Life Center. Money for the rest of the project, to be completed this summer, will be provided by the University and OBU alumni and supporters.
In his report to the Board of Trustees, OBU President David W. Whitlock said, “The remodel will offer students much more space for spiritual life and student life activities. In fact, their meeting space will be one and a half times larger than their current space and will provide spiritual life a much more visible location in the heart of campus.”
Faculty promotions were approved for Dr. Tawa Anderson, from assistant professor of philosophy to associate professor of philosophy; Dr. Michael Dean, from associate professor of piano to professor of piano; Dr. Contessa Edgar, from assistant professor of biology to associate professor of biology; Dr. Kaine Ezell, from assistant professor of English to associate professor of English; Dr. Yvonne Mbote, from assistant professor of chemistry to associate professor of chemistry; and Dr. Brent Newsom, from assistant professor of English to associate professor of English.
Board members approved new faculty contracts for Jacob Yenish, assistant professor of theatre, design technician; Kelsey D’Emilio, assistant professor of music; Dr. Patricia Nelson, associate professor of music education; Jason Eaker, head men’s basketball coach and instructor of physical education; Samantha Messer, head softball coach and instructor of physical education; Dr. Nathan K. Drake, associate professor of mathematics; and Dr. David N. Gambo, assistant professor of applied ministry.
Trustees also attended OBU’s Spring Commencement ceremony where 288 graduates received their diplomas. The Rev. Dr. John A., Reed Jr., senior pastor of Fairview Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, delivered the commencement address to an overflow crowd in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. Reed also received the Honorary Doctor of Divinity from the University.
Stephen Allen, chair of OBU’s Board of Trustees, moderated the board’s plenary session. Allen is senior vice president, general counsel and assistant secretary at ONEOK.