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Bosch Awarded OBU Dean Emerita Status During Winter Commencement

December 17, 2022

OBU conferred degrees upon 110 graduates during Winter Commencement Dec. 17. The ceremony took place in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium.

After an official welcome by OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas, and a congratulatory greeting by Dr. Todd Fisher, executive director-treasurer of Oklahoma Baptists, an investiture was conducted to award Dr. Debbie Bosch, former dean of OBU’s James E. Hurley School of Science and Mathematics, with OBU Dean Emerita status.

“In the tradition of honoring great men and women who distinguish themselves and bring honor to our own University, OBU is pleased today to award Dean Emerita status to Dr. Debbie Bosch,” Thomas said.

“In honoring Dr. Bosch, Oklahoma Baptist University is keeping faith with the high ideals we have set for granting such status. Her life exemplifies high standards, excellence in achievement, and genuine concern for others,” he said.

Bosch graduated from OBU in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree. She completed a Master of Science in mathematics from the University of Tulsa in 1975 and earned a Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Oklahoma State University in 1991.

Her professional life at OBU began in 1980 when she joined the faculty as instructor of mathematics and achieved the academic rank of professor of mathematics in 1998. She held multiple teaching and administrative positions and became the first female dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1996. She was named OBU’s chief academic officer in 2006.

Bosch served as the founding dean of the James E. Hurley School of Science and Mathematics and as OBU’s senior vice president for academic services. She was appointed to serve on the Oklahoma State Board of Education from 1998-2010 and was a member of the Oklahoma State Board of Career and Technology Education from 1998-2010.

Following the investiture was the singing of a congregational hymn. Dr. Contessa Edgar, chair of the division of science and associate professor of biology, shared the scripture reading.  Senior musical arts student Brock Brown, sang “There is a Time.”

Thomas then introduced Dean Emerita Bosch as the commencement speaker. In her message, Bosch spoke of her experiences as a student at OBU. She reflected on the value of her learning and the way in which OBU helped her expand and enrich her understanding through the fields of history, literature, philosophy and math.

“You may ask yourself if some of the things you have learned will matter for what you will be doing in the future,” she said. “May I say to you, keep an open mind in that regard. Look for ways to adapt your learning and apply it to whatever comes your way.  You will discover how many of your experiences here will be foundational for a new chapter ahead of you.”

She shared a quote from Søren Kierkegaard saying, “Life can only be understood backward, but must be lived forward.”

“Just like the headlights of a car in the dark, you can see just enough of what you need to move forward. You don’t have to see too far ahead. In that same regard, keep moving forward in excellence. Excellence will never go out of style. Don’t settle. Do the hard work in whatever you are called to do,” she said.

Bosch summarized her speech with four points. The first was the challenge to each graduate to be a life-long learner and to continue the habit of learning throughout their entire life.

Secondly, she encouraged students to let God direct their path.

“Stay rooted in God’s word and talk to him daily,” she said. “He often speaks to us in a still small voice.”

Bosch made a third point reminding students of the peace that comes when they let Jesus be the anchor of their soul.

“I have discovered with Jesus, as my anchor, Christ offers strength to face the challenges that come our way,” she said.

Her final charge to the graduates was to stay in touch with the university.

“Find ways to partner with OBU and make a difference in the world,” she said. “Whose future will you shape and how will you do so? I’ll be curious to hear.”

Following Bosch’s address, the undergraduate class was presented by Hannah DeMoss, president of the OBU Student Government Association.

The presentation of bachelor’s degree candidates was made by Dr. Larinee Dennis, dean of business, health science and education, professor of education, and co-interim provost, and by Dr. Matthew Emerson, dean of theology, arts and humanities, professor of religion, and co-interim provost. Emerson also led in the presentation of Summa Cum Laude candidates.

The presentation of the graduate class was made by marriage and family therapy graduate student Michelle Whitlock. The master’s degree candidates were presented Dennis and Emerson.

Following the presentation of all degree candidates, Lea Ann Quirk, director of the OBU Alumni Association, inducted the graduates into the Alumni Association.

In his final charge to the graduates, Thomas said, "Today I charge you to be people of the sunrise. Sunsets are beautiful. But sunsets remind us that the day is done. Your time at OBU is done, but the sunrise awaits you. God’s mercies and opportunities await you. Mistakes and forgiveness await you. Healing and hope await you as you look to Christ, our sunrise. Live as people of the sunrise, not those looking to the sunset,” he said.

“Yours is the generation that can effect positive change if you strike up the courage to step boldly into the moment of today. We need your influence. From Bison Hill, I charge you to go into our world and make a difference for God and for good in our cities and neighborhoods. Go and live well. Go and serve your community. Go and serve our Lord. You have been equipped. So, go do something beautiful for our God. Sunrise awaits you,” Thomas said.

The president’s charge was followed by “The Hymn to the Alma Mater,” led by Dr. Louima Lilite, McGavern-Montgomery Professor of Music. The benediction was led by Dr. Daryl Green, Dickinson Chair of Business and associate professor of business.

Watch the video of OBU's December graduation ceremony on YouTube.