OBU students honored seven faculty and staff members Wednesday, April 14, for their contributions to the campus community. The honorees received the Seven Who Care Award during the university’s annual Hyde Park Day chapel service in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. SGA likewise presented the Presidential Award, given to an individual who goes above and beyond, as selected by the SGA president. Current members of OBU’s Student Government Association (SGA) presented the awards.
The Seven Who Care Award is given by SGA to honor the hard work and dedication that the university’s faculty and staff exhibit every day. The recipients are selected based upon nominations by students, faculty and staff, with one faculty member being recognized from each College in addition to one staff member being included as well.
Noah Graves, outgoing student body vice president, announced the award winners and was assisted by other SGA members in the presentation of the awards.
The 2021 Seven Who Care recipients include Dr. John McWilliams, W.B. Blackstock Family Chair in Science Education and professor of natural science; Dr. Bobby Kelly, Ruth Dickinson Professor of Religion; Dr. Shaelene Fipps, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Justin Pierce, assistant professor in instrumental music; Dr. Jonathan Callis, assistant professor of English; Dr. Rich Rudebock, Robert L. and Sara Lou Cargill Chair of Business and professor of business; and Rachelle Helmbacher, administrative assistant, Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry.
SGA also gave a special Presidential Award to Jill Thomas, OBU’s first lady. She was recognized for showing love and passion for the student body, going above and beyond over the past year in planning special events for students and the campus community, and for working to bring the campus together through various activities and gatherings throughout the year.
Noah DeMoss and Avery Miller ran unopposed as the next student body president and vice president respectively. They each spoke and shared their vision for the upcoming year. Elections began following chapel for all remaining 2021-22 SGA offices.
Gavin Yoesting, outgoing SGA president, concluded the service with his farewell address, reflecting upon his time as SGA president, sharing his gratitude for so many who supported him and worked alongside him during his time in office, and remembering all that has been accomplished by the students at OBU over the past year.
Hyde Park Day was instituted at the university in 1958 after Dr. John W. Raley, then OBU president, visited Hyde Park in London, England. At “Speakers’ Corner” in Hyde Park, anyone may set up a soap box and lecture all those in earshot on any topic. Spectators then are allowed to question the speaker. When the event began at OBU, based on the idea of free oratory, SGA candidates would gather in the quadrangle on campus, set up “political booths” and vie for students’ votes.