The Oklahoma Baptist University Board of Trustees approved a revised spring 2021 academic calendar, the 2021-22 budget and student costs for the next academic year during their meeting at the OBU Green Campus Nov. 6.
In his report to the Board of Trustees, OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas recounted the University’s visionary founding along with its continued commitment to achieve OBU’s mission of transforming students’ lives.
“Before the establishment of the state of Oklahoma, OBU’s founders determined for the good of our churches and the good of our communities, they needed a four-year, co-educational, institution of Christian higher education. The vision of these pioneers was a four-year education that transforms students’ lives in every sphere of life. In the charter, our founders had a vision for equipping the next generation in science, law, medicine, education and technology – both theoretical and applied. They saw a university that literally would touch every sphere of human existence in this new state, in all of life and all for Jesus.
“That vision was bold 110 years ago. That same vision is bold and necessary today. I believe the day of OBU has come once again. The promise of OBU that was given 110 years ago is a vision that needs to be captured for our day and beyond. Although we are dealing with the challenges of today, the quality of education and foundation of OBU is rock solid for the future.”
Due to the current and ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, OBU Trustees approved a reduced budget for 2021-22 of $63.4 million, a reduction of 12.76% over the current year budget.
“We are committed to tightening our belt effectively to move towards growth,” Thomas said. “Our financial indicators overall are very strong. However, we cannot ignore the environmental factors in play caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although OBU has a strong endowment, solid assets and healthy cash reserves, we must reduce our overall operational expenses to build toward a stronger future. This budget plan will accomplish that.”
The Board of Trustees audit committee, chaired by Shawnee businessman Sam Garlow, reported a clean audit opinion from CapinCrouse LLP without modification or adjustment.
“This represents a great deal of professionalism and hard work by the OBU staff,” Garlow said.
A report from the academic services committee was given by chair Dr. Eric Costanzo, who said, “A staple of OBU is her academic excellence. Take a look across the state, the country and the world and you will find excellent people who take a Christ-centered approach to everything they do, with their career, their families and their communities. We will continue preparing these excellent people here – these future shapers.”
Trustees approved a plan for tuition costs to increase $349 per semester and room and board to increase $110 per semester for an overall increase of 2.35 percent.
The Board of Trustees approved the amended spring 2021 calendar which moved the days that would have been given for a week of spring break and distributed those days as individual single days out of class throughout the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trustees also approved the 2021-22 academic calendar. Both calendars move the dates of spring and winter commencements to Saturdays.
The plenary session was presided over by Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Jeff Moore.
New officers for the 2021 Board of Trustees were approved including Sam Garlow, chair; Michael Gabbert, vice chair; Ronda Mikles, secretary; and Owen Nease, treasurer.