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OBU to Honor Retirees Henson, Nixon and Vernon May 12

May 5, 2022

OBU will host a retirement reception for three longtime faculty members Thursday, May 12, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Cargill Advancement and Alumni Center on the OBU campus in Shawnee. All members of the OBU community, including employees, students, alumni and friends, are invited to attend the come-and-go event.

Retiring faculty include Dr. Robbie Henson, chair of the School of Nursing, Lawrence and Marion Harris Chair of Nursing, and professor of nursing, after 31 years of service; Gerry Nixon, associate professor of accounting, after 13 years of service; and Dr. Jim Vernon, chair of the Division of Music, Burton H. Patterson Professor of Music, and professor of music, after 32 years of service.

Dr. Robbie Henson serves as chair of the School of Nursing, Lawrence and Marion Harris Chair of Nursing, and professor of nursing. She has wide-ranging clinical experience including maternal-newborn nursing, home health, mental health nursing and adult intensive care nursing. She has previously served as both dean and associate dean of academic programs for the College of Nursing (now the School of Nursing). She has received recognition from the National League of Nursing as a Certified Academic Nurse Educator. She received the Oklahoma Nurse Educator of the Year award and both the Promising Teacher Award and Distinguished Teaching Award at OBU. She has practiced professionally in health care agencies in the Shawnee area as well as in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Fort Worth, Texas. She earned a BSN at OBU, MSN at the University of Texas-Arlington and Ph.D. at the University of Colorado.

Gerry Nixon serves as associate professor of accounting in the Paul Dickinson School of Business. He came to OBU in 2009 with more than 35 years of accounting and higher education experience. He previously served as the budget director for Oklahoma Christian University and has held numerous other positions in higher education including controller, vice-president for finance and operations, and faculty member. He has also served as an athletic director and women's basketball coach at two previous colleges. In addition to his higher education background, he has worked in public accounting, serving as staff accountant, senior accountant, and manager, and has also served as partner in the accounting firm of Mierau and Nixon, CPAs, PC, in Nebraska. He earned an Associate in Arts from York College, Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma Christian University and MBA from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Dr. Jim Vernon serves as chair of the Division of Music, Burton H. Patterson Professor of Music and professor of music in the Warren M. Angell School of Visual and Performing Arts. He directs the OBU music composition program and has composed works for instrumental, choral and vocal idioms, as well as music for stage play productions. Vernon’s compositions have been performed throughout the United States and in parts of Western Europe. One of his most recent large projects was the completion of a full-length opera on the life and education of Laura Bridgman, the first blind-deaf person to learn language. The opera, “A Porcelain Doll,” premiered on the OBU campus in March 2017. Other more recent compositions include “Dover Beach” for wind ensemble and mixed choir, “My Words Are Like the Stars” for tenor and percussion, “In Retrospect” for cello and piano and “Love Came Down for Christmas” for women’s choir and piano. He has also served as director for several of the University’s musical ensembles, including many years as director of the Bisonette Glee Club. During the 2021-22 academic year, he served as director of both Symphonic Winds and the OBU Shawnee Community Orchestra. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Old Dominion University, Master of Music from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Doctor of Musical Arts from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.