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Women of Vision Select Annual Project During Meeting Oct. 19

October 19, 2023

The OBU Women of Vision held their annual meeting and dinner Oct. 19 at the Cargill Advancement and Alumni Center on the OBU campus in Shawnee. With about 100 women in attendance, the event was held to generate support and contributions towards projects that greatly impact students and the OBU campus. The event set the stage for a host of festivities taking place during The Weekend Oct.19-21.

Women of Vision is a giving circle dedicated to empowering women through promoting philanthropic endeavors that support OBU’s mission. Membership is open to all alumni and friends of the university with activities that foster networking and connection with one another and the OBU community. A key component of Women of Vision is its mission to provide financial resources needed to make lasting improvements and impacts on Bison Hill.

Featured speakers for the evening were OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas and OBU First Lady Jill Thomas, who serves as director of the program.

OBU student Emma Thomas, a junior communications major, was awarded a $2,500 Women of Vision scholarship.

The Women of Vision scholarship fund was created in 2018 through an endowed gift and is presented annually to a female OBU student(s) in their junior year. Students apply and a personal interview is conducted as part of the selection process. A goal of the Women of Vision advisory board is to increase the scholarship fund to offer additional assistance to students in the future.

Each year, the Women of Vision vote to fund one of several project proposals they are presented with during their annual meeting. This year, the Women of Vision voted to fund an academic classroom in Shawnee Hall as their project. This 20 to 25-seat classroom will feature classroom technology OBU’s education students will use as they move into teaching positions following graduation. This project will function as a part of the overall Shawnee Hall Capital Campaign that is focused on transforming the 113-year-old building following damage caused by a tornado that hit the campus on April 19.

Last year’s approved project was an outdoor classroom. That project was delayed because of the tornado but will now also be a part of the Shawnee Hall renewal.

Past projects have included street lighting around designated areas of campus to promote safety, the installation of keyless card access among buildings to enhance security, and the placement of multiple blue safety phones around campus that connect to emergency services.

Other enhancements funded by Women of Vision include significant remodeling, new furnishings and updates to key buildings on campus including the interior lobby of the admissions office and the student life office. Projects have also provided exterior updates on campus featuring outdoor seating, picnic tables, umbrellas, benches and common gathering spaces. The goal of each of the Women of Vision projects is to enhance the overall campus experience for students, employees, alumni and guests.

“Women of Vision values the support and participation of women in all seasons of life,” Jill Thomas said. “Our desire is to create opportunities for more women to participate and connect with the mission of OBU and to give back in whatever ways they can to benefit our students and the University as a whole. We feel honored to join collectively and build a legacy on Bison Hill.”