Three OBU professors will be installed into academic positions during the University’s annual Founder’s Day chapel Feb. 3. Dr. Mario Melendez will be installed as the Auguie Henry Chair of Bible; Dr. Matthew Emerson will be installed as the Floyd K. Clark Chair of Christian Leadership; and David Greenwell will be installed into the Bill and Twyla Horne Professorship in Accounting.
Endowed chairs and professorships are awarded to select professors who are outstanding teachers and who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their academic disciplines. Endowed positions are funded by gifts to the university which are specified for this purpose. The funds are then invested in the University’s permanent endowment fund, and the annual earnings are used to assist with the chair or professorship’s compensation.
Dr. Mario Melendez, assistant professor of Old Testament and biblical studies, is the second recipient of the Auguie Henry Chair of Bible. The Auguie Henry Chair of Bible was made possible through a gift from Raymond A. Young of Oklahoma City. The first recipient of the Auguie Henry Chair of Bible was Dr. Warren McWilliams, professor emeritus of theology, who held the position from 1982 until his retirement in 2018.
Melendez earned a Bachelor of Christian Ministry in 2010 from Leavell College in New Orleans. He then went on to earn a Master of Christian Studies in 2012 from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He continued by earning a Master of Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and then most recently completed a Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation, also from NOBTS.
Prior to joining the OBU faculty, Melendez served both the church and the academy. He most recently served as senior pastor of Gretna Covenant Church in New Orleans from 2015 to 2020. Before pastoring at Gretna, he served in Hispanic, Asian and English churches in various pastoral roles. He taught at NOBTS as an adjunct professor and worked as an academic affairs specialist for the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies. He has likewise served as an Old Testament adjunct professor and academic counselor at Victory University in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as an adjunct professor at Union University, where he was also a coach of the Union Judo Club.
His research interests include biblical interpretation, Ancient Near Eastern backgrounds and themes, language acquisition, and multi-ethnic psychology and ministry. As a multi-ethnic believer, he has been a guest lecturer on several multi-ethnic ministry topics.
Melendez and his wife, Rebekah, married in 2012 and have a German Shepherd. His wife has served as a licensed social-worker in Memphis and New Orleans. In his spare time, he enjoys practicing Judo, Karate and Jujitsu. He also is an avid furniture maker.
Dr. Matthew Emerson, dean of the Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and professor of religion, is the third recipient of the Floyd K. Clark Chair of Christian Leadership. The Floyd K. Clark Chair of Christian Leadership was made possible when OBU alumnus Al Clark gifted resources for an endowed academic position in honor of his father, Floyd K. Clark. The gift recognizes Floyd Clark’s commitment to providing educational opportunities through OBU to his sons and to the undertaking of Baptist higher education.
Emerson earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and an M.Div. and Ph.D. both from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Emerson joined the OBU faculty in 2015. He previously taught at California Baptist University, where he served as Chair of the Arts and Sciences Department in the OPS Division.
Emerson has authored or co-authored more than 20 publications. His research interests include the Old Testament’s use in the New Testament, early Christian interpretation, and theological method. He serves as co-executive director of the Center for Baptist Renewal, co-editor of the Journal of Baptist Studies, steering committee member of the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, and senior fellow for the Center of Ancient Christian Studies. He is also a member of a number of scholarly societies, and blogs at Biblical Reasoning.
Emerson and his wife, Alicia, are both from Huntsville, Alabama. Married in 2006, they have five daughters.
He has served in local churches, both vocationally and as a volunteer, as a guest preacher, Sunday school teacher, small group leader and men’s ministry director. He and his wife are both members at Frontline Church in Shawnee.
David Greenwell, assistant professor of accounting, is the first recipient of the Bill and Twylah Horne Professorship in Accounting. The Bill and Twylah Horne Professorship in Accounting is named for Bill and Twylah Horne, longtime supporters of OBU. Bill spent his career in public accounting. He was a tax consultant at Horne & Company P.C., Certified Public Accountants and a board member and chairman of the board at Vision Bank. He was also a member of the OBU Board of Trustees and was inducted into the Oklahoma Accounting Hall of Fame.
Greenwell joined the faculty of the Paul Dickinson College of Business in 2020. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Oklahoma City University and an MBA in accounting from the University of Oklahoma. He has also earned an executive certificate in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is currently enrolled in the executive Ph.D. in business program at Oklahoma State University.
Prior to coming to OBU, he was a partner with RSM US, LLP, the fifth largest CPA firm nationally and internationally. He has provided insightful tax and consulting services to clients from a wide range of industries including, energy, technology, manufacturing and real estate for more than 40 years. In addition to his tax and consulting experience, he was the financial investigation and disputes leader for RSM in Oklahoma. For more than 20 years, he led forensic investigations and provided expert testimony in numerous federal and state district courts, as well as representation before the Internal Revenue Service Appeals Division.
Greenwell was inducted into the Oklahoma Accounting Hall of Fame in 2020. He is the former chairman and current board member of the Oklahoma Accountancy Board, and has served on several professional committees with the OSCPA and AICPA. He is a former expert resource person for the White Conference on Small Business and served as an instructor for RSM's internal professional training and external events such as the Tax Executive Institute.Since 2011, he has served on the City Council of Oklahoma City, representing Ward 5. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority, Good Shepherd Ministries, and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.