Oklahoma Baptist University recognized outstanding students during Awards Convocation Wednesday, May 9, at 10 a.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium, with seniors Caleb Schantz and Haylee Belcher receiving the highest awards given. The University also recognized outstanding seniors in each of its six undergraduate colleges, as well as outstanding senior athletes.
Schantz, a theatre major from Yukon, was the eighth recipient of the W.P. Blake Award, the University’s highest award given to a male student.
The W.P. Blake Award is named for the chairman of OBU’s first board of trustees, who was an Oklahoma Baptist pioneer from Okmulgee. The award was established in 2011 to recognize an outstanding man in the graduating class who embodies Blake’s written desire that OBU “perpetuate the heritage of Christian citizenship.” A committee named by the University president makes the selection. The committee chooses the man of the graduating class who most nearly exemplifies the qualities which characterize the ideal OBU man, including personal character, scholarship, leadership, concern for others and Christian commitment.
Belcher, a communication studies major from Tahlequah, received the Rosalee Mills Appleby Award, the University’s highest award given to a female student.
The Rosalee Mills Appleby Award is named for the donor, a member of the class of 1920 who served for many years as a missionary, writer and teacher in Brazil. This award was established in 1936 as OBU’s first award and has been given annually since that time. A committee named by the University president makes the selection. The committee chooses the woman of the graduating class who most nearly exemplifies the qualities which characterize the ideal OBU woman, including personal character, scholarship, leadership, concern for others and Christian commitment.
Ashley Maxwell received the Evans T. Moseley Leadership Award. The award was established by the senior class of OBU in 1966 to honor the man who served as interim president of the University during that year. It is given to a rising senior who demonstrates the greatest leadership potential.
Jasmine-Rose Mitchell received the John Wesley Raley Scholarship. The John Wesley Raley Scholar receives a scholarship from funds provided by the Fay Taylor Pierson Trust, part of which was designated to establish a memorial to Dr. John Wesley Raley, who served as University president from 1934 to 1961 and as University chancellor from 1961 to 1965. The Scholarship is awarded annually to a rising senior with a grade point average of at least 3.0 who plans to continue at OBU. Additional criteria include leadership, moral courage, self-determination and communicative skills.
Dean Pam Robinson presented awards to the outstanding seniors within each division of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The outstanding seniors included Morgan Smith, Division of Language and Literature; Will Engle, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Megan Bowlin, Division of Health and Human Performance; and Amy Lashar, Division of Teacher Education.
Dean Chris Jones presented the award for the outstanding science senior in the James E. Hurley College of Science and Mathematics to Stephen Phillipe.
Dean David Houghton presented the Outstanding Business Graduate Award for the outstanding senior in the Paul Dickinson College of Business to Rebekah Briggs.
Dr. Susan DeWoody, dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies and interim vice president for academic affairs, stood in for Dean Heath Thomas to present the awards for the outstanding seniors in each division of the Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry. The Outstanding Senior in Christian and Cross-Cultural Ministry Award was presented to Haylee Belcher. The Outstanding Senior in Biblical and Theological Studies Award was presented to Chance Stillwell. The Outstanding Senior in Philosophy Award was presented to Victoria Groce Daughtery.
Dean Chris Mathews presented the awards for the outstanding seniors in the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts. The Outstanding Senior in Art and Design was presented to Rebekah Woo. The Outstanding Senior in Communication Arts was presented to Rebekah McPheeters. The Outstanding Senior in Music was presented to Trevor Schlosser.
Dean Lepaine McHenry presented the award for the Outstanding Senior in the College of Nursing to Ashleigh Gruns.
Director of Athletics Robert Davenport presented the awards to the outstanding seniors in athletics. Abby Hoover was recognized as the Outstanding Senior Female Athlete, and David Lambert was named the Outstanding Senior Male Athlete.
Dr. Carol Humphrey, professor of history, presented the Presidential Scholar/Athlete Awards. This award is given each year to the senior male and female athletes with the highest cumulative GPA. Megan Bowlin received the top female honor and Jack Tully took home the outstanding male award.
DeWoody also presented the Junior Class Marshals, the top-ranking junior men and women, based on overall grade point average, who serve as marshals for the senior class graduation. The marshals are Aaron Wicker, Abigail Welch, Alexis Besch, Andrew Joyce, Ashley Berkey, Bethany Cole, Carolyn Sosinski, Chandler Warren, Ellen Mathews, Hannah Axton, Isabella Scarinzi, Ivy Penwell, Jan Klonowski, Jana Satzler, Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Stewart, Kaitlyn Precure, Karsten Ladner, Lauren Martin, Libby UnRuh, Luke Fornea, Mackenzie Palmer, Megan Funderburk, Megan Kirkendall, Oliver Payne, Olivia Jones, Payton Olive, Rebecca Ward, Sarah Lee, Taylor Seacat, Tori Travis and Victoria Harrison.
OBU President Dr. David Whitlock closed the awards chapel by recognizing two retiring members of OBU’s faculty and staff. Dr. Warren McWilliams, Auguie Henry Professor of Bible, and Robin Scarberry, director of grants and prospect research, were both recognized for their years of service.