OBU recognized outstanding alumni with special awards during its annual Harvest Dinner Friday, Oct. 22. The event took place during The Weekend, the University’s homecoming celebration Oct. 21-23 on OBU’s campus in Shawnee.
OBU Provost Dr. Susan DeWoody led the invocation, while Tim Rasnic, vice president for advancement, welcomed guests. OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas offered opening remarks. Dr. Jim Vernon, chair of the Division of Music and Burton H. Patterson Professor of Music, provided dinner music.
Michael Williams, president of the OBU Alumni Board of Directors, then led in the presentation of alumni awards while President Thomas joined him in congratulating each award winner. Multiple awards were presented, including Alumni Achievement Awards, Graduate of the Last Decade and Profile in Excellence Awards.
The Alumni Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by the OBU Alumni Association and is given in recognition of outstanding life service which has brought honor to the individual's alma mater. These awards are presented annually at the Harvest Dinner during OBU’s homecoming celebration. Anyone from the OBU community may nominate potential award recipients.
Lou Thelen Peterson Kemp, class of 1957, was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award. She graduated from OBU with a B.A. in secondary education, home economics. Later, she went on to earn her teaching degree and taught kindergarten at Bolivar Primary School in Bolivar, Missouri, for 26 years. During her teaching years, she continued her education at Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology where she took several family therapy courses. She then became a licensed marriage and family therapist and a registered play therapist. In 1998, she retired from teaching and took on a full time career in counseling at the Family Institute of the Ozarks where she was the co-director/owner. The Ronald N. and Lou T. Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic on the OBU campus bears her name along with the name of her later husband, Dr. Ronald Kemp.
Pamela Furgerson-Malloy, 1974 OBU graduate, was also awarded the Alumni Achievement Award. After earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing from OBU in 1974, she went on to earn a master’s degree in Nursing from UCLA in 1979. During her career of over 40 years, she has held positions at some of the country’s most prestigious hospitals, including Presbyterian Hospital in Oklahoma City, UCLA Medical Center and George Washington University Hospital. She has published over 50 articles in peer review journals, sharing her extensive knowledge in oncology and palliative care. She helped establish a hospice hospital and palliative care facility in Kenya, training providers in palliative care best practices.
Reverend Steve Whitaker, 1986 alumnus, was the evening’s third recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. Whitaker graduated from OBU with a Bachelor of Arts in religion and is the son of Southern Baptist missionaries Paul and Sharon Whitaker, as well as the 10th generation minister in his family. Steve came to OBU as an atypical student working two jobs, attending school full-time, being a husband and father all at the same time. While in Shawnee, he answered the call to ministry by serving as youth minister of Temple Baptist Church. Following that, he served as pastor of Romulus Baptist Church in southern Oklahoma for four years. During this time, he attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1989, he was called by John 3:16 Mission in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the purpose of innovating ministry outreach to inner-city youth and families experiencing homelessness or deep poverty. He began his career with the Mission by starting programs for inner-city children, youth and adults that eventually led to the creation of the mission’s Family and Youth Center facility in north Tulsa. In 2001, he became the Mission’s senior pastor and president. Under his direction, the mission has been transformed from a small “soup kitchen” style shelter with limited programs into a ministry offering the most comprehensive faith-based care and recovery services in the city of Tulsa.
The Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award is presented annually during Harvest Dinner at homecoming to a young alumnus or alumna, not necessarily a graduate, who in his or her life and career has demonstrated outstanding achievement and brought pride and honor to the University. Anyone from the OBU community may nominate potential award recipients.
This year’s recipient of the GOLD Award was 2011 graduate Dr. Derek Royer. He graduated summa cum laude from OBU with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry. He then earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the OU Health Sciences Center in 2016. He has served in several research positions at The OU Health Sciences Center and the Duke University Medical Center. He also held postdoctoral fellowships at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences and at Dean McGee Eye Institute. He has won numerous awards during graduate school and in his postdoctoral work, has authored 12 peer-reviewed publications and has delivered invited lectures at several prestigious institutions including Duke University, The Mayo Clinic, The National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Royer currently serves as department chair and assistant professor of biology at East Texas Baptist University.
The Profile in Excellence Award (PIE) is given to a former student, not necessarily a graduate, who has demonstrated recognizable accomplishment in his or her profession, business, avocation or life service in such a way as to bring pride and honor to the University. Anyone from the OBU community may nominate potential award recipients.
This year’s recipients include Robbie Carter, ’91, and Carrie Carter, ’93; Dr. Chris Sudduth, ’07; Mary Duffie, ’62; Sam Garlow, ’76; Dr. Michele Henry, ’91; and Scott Greenland, ’03.
Robert and Carrie Carter both attended OBU in the early 1990s. With a Bachelor of Science in exercise science, Robert went on to OU and earned another bachelor's degree in occupational therapy. Carrie, with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech language pathology, has worked as a pediatric speech pathologist for 22 years while Robert has worked in occupational therapy for 28 years. In 2008, Robert and Carrie became co-founders of Cargo Ranch, a mentorship program in Shawnee that individually mentors youth who face obstacles or struggles in their lives. Cargo Ranch is closely connected and to OBU, and over one thousand OBU students who done volunteer work over the years at the ranch.
Dr. Chris Sudduth graduated from OBU in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in biology. He then completed his medical training at the University of Oklahoma and concurrently earned a Master of Public Health in health administration and policy. He completed residency in combined internal medicine and pediatrics at the OU School of Community Medicine in Tulsa. He has practiced extensively as a hospitalist physician and has been actively engaged in the American Medical Association since 2009, elected in April 2021 to serve as an alternate delegate for Oklahoma. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Tulsa County Medical Society and was elected vice president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association in April 2021. He is also the co-founder of Remedy Health Direct Primary Care with independent primary care offices located in South Tulsa, Owasso and McAlester, with several additional locations planned.
Mary Duffie graduated from OBU in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. After graduating from OBU, she began working at Methodist Hospital and the VA Hospital in Houston, Texas. Her nursing career has included running a surgical ICU, consulting in the area of home health regulatory compliance, legal nurse consulting and as a clinical documentation specialist, among many other endeavors. She has been on five mission trips and remains active in her home church in Avondale, Georgia, where she serves as a deacon, teaches missions and holds numerous other leadership roles. She also works with the refugee population in Clarkson, Georgia, and volunteers with the USO at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Sam Garlow graduated from OBU in 1976 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. In 1977, he earned an MBA from the University of Oklahoma. He began working for Shawnee Milling Company in 1976, holding many leadership and executive level positions over the years. He retired from the cmpany in 2019 as executive vice president for the foods division. On top of his work at Shawnee Milling Company, he has served the community in other capacities such as the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce Board, the YMCA of Shawnee Board, the Gateway to Prevention Board and the United Way of Shawnee Board. He has also given his time and service to the Shawnee Kiwanis Little Olympics, the Faith Seven Basketball Committee and is active in the North American Millers Association. He also has served as treasurer for the Made in Oklahoma Coalition and has served on the OBU Board of Trustees. He has likewise served on the board of executives for the Paul Dickinson School of Business and as a member of the OBU Alumni Board.
Dr. Michele Henry graduated from OBU in 1991 with a Bachelor of Music Education. In 1992, she earned a Master of Music Education from the University of North Texas and then a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Minnesota in 1999. During her career, she has served on the faculty of several prestigious universities, including Malone University in Ohio and Belmont University in Nashville. She is currently the division director and professor of music education for the Baylor University School of Music. She is active on the Baylor campus, serving as faculty in residence for Brooks Residential College and as a participant in the Turkey and Greece study abroad programs. She is also involved in the Waco Tennis Association Board of Directors and the Youth Chorus of Central Texas Board of Directors. She was the developer and founder of Cloister at Cameron Park, which is a pocket neighborhood committed to preserving green space and low impact development practices.
Scott Greenland graduated from OBU with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 2003. He later earned a Master of Arts in intercultural studies from OBU, completing that degree in 2018. While an undergraduate student, he served as a part-time youth minister at Rock Creek Baptist Church in Shawnee. After graduation, he became the full-time youth and education minister there until 2006, when he and his family moved so he could serve as youth minister at Forgan First Baptist Church in Oklahoma and assistant football coach at Forgan Public Schools. In 2009, the Greenland family moved to Claremore, Oklahoma, where Scott served as youth minister at First Baptist Church of Claremore until 2013. While coaching football at Ketchum High School, he founded Cyprus Global Inc., a non-profit missions organization seeking to partner with local churches in assisting the church in the foreign mission field. In 2015, he and the board of directors of Cyprus Global Inc., along with strategic partners in Ghana, West Africa, established Cyprus Global Ghana. In 2019, the two organizations merged to base completely in Ghana, dissolving the US organization. Since 2013, he has led over 30 mission trips to Ghana and continues to do so during the summer months, serving as co-director of Cyprus Global Ghana. He also teaches psychology and sociology at Claremore High School.
Following the award presentations, Rasnic offered closing remarks, congratulating all of the award winners once again and thanking those who made the event, as well as the entire weekend of homecoming events, possible. Vernon then accompanied on piano while Emily Day, sophomore vocal music education major, led in the singing of “The Hymn to the Alma Mater” to conclude the event.