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University Recognizes Outstanding Seniors, Retirees During Awards Chapel May 5

May 5, 2021

Oklahoma Baptist University held its annual awards chapel May 5 in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on the OBU campus in Shawnee. The University recognized outstanding seniors in various disciplines and honored retiring faculty members during the ceremony.

The University presented the W.P. Blake Award to Tyler Koonze. The W.P. Blake Award is the highest award given for a senior man at Oklahoma Baptist University. The award is named for the chairman of OBU’s first board of trustees, who was an Oklahoma Baptist pioneer from Okmulgee. It 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.”

The University presented the Rosalee Mills Appleby Award to Brooklynn James. The Rosalee Mills Appleby Award is the highest award given for a senior woman at Oklahoma Baptist University. The award is named for its donor, Rosalee Mills Appleby, who was a member of the class of 1920. She 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.

The Evans T. Moseley Leadership Award was presented to Jackson Winn. The award is given to a rising senior who demonstrates the greatest leadership potential. It 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.

The John Wesley Raley Scholar Award was presented to Evelyn Griffin. The scholarship is awarded annually to a rising senior with a grade point average of at least 3.00 who plans to continue at OBU. Additional criteria which guide the selection committee's nomination to the university president include leadership, moral courage, self-determination and communicative skills. 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 Paul Dickinson College of Business presented its award for outstanding senior in business to Tyler Koonce.

The Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts recognized three outstanding seniors within its three divisions. Afton Urton received the outstanding senior in art and design while Emili Ramos received the award in communication arts. The outstanding senior in music went to Katherine Logan.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences recognized four outstanding seniors from its divisions. The Division of Language and Literature recognized Rachel Compton as its outstanding senior. Alexandra O’Steen received the award for the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences, while Nathaniel Worley was awarded the outstanding senior in the Division of Health and Human Performance. The Division of Teacher Education recognized Nicole Withrow as its outstanding senior.

The College of Nursing presented its award for the outstanding senior in nursing to Malia Leatherland.

The James E. Hurly College of Science and Mathematics presented awards in both of its divisions. The Division of Mathematics recognized Gage Bullard as its outstanding senior while the Division of Science presented the award to Andrea Redmond.

The Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry recognized three seniors from within the College. Tyler Koonce was the award as the outstanding senior in religion. Zach Evans won the award for Christian and cross-cultural ministry while Jonathan Soder won the award for philosophy.

The University also recognized four retiring faculty members. These included Dr. John Cragin, professor of international business and social entrepreneurship; Dr. Norris Russell, chair of the Division of Health and Human Performance and professor of health and human performance; Dr. John McWilliams, W.B. Blackstock Family Chair in Science Education and professor of natural science; and Dr. Lee Hinson, professor of church music.