Features Spring 2023

A Grace/Love-filled Academic Environment

About B.J. Glover

OBU appointed Beverly J. Glover as vice president of university culture in November 2022 following a two-year term as interim vice president. She is the University’s first African American to serve on the executive cabinet.

In her previous role as interim vice president, Glover established significant groundwork in providing tools and support for identifying and addressing systemic barriers to a more diverse campus community. She will continue that process to promote new pathways for transforming the University’s culture into one that prioritizes being welcoming and hospitable to all people while remaining true to its Christian values and principles. Glover is building the infrastructure necessary to create a culture of belonging throughout the campus.

“Guided by Scripture, OBU works to see kindness, mercy and humility on display in our students, faculty and staff, because we desire to live out our Christian faith,” said OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas. “OBU strives to instill the biblical values of love of God and love of neighbor within our University. The installation of the vice president for university culture is designed to help us do this better and with consistency across all areas of campus. We continue to develop a culture that engages our diverse world and sees people the way Jesus sees people.”

“B.J. Glover’s experience and proven leadership will help OBU move forward in our university culture. She is an accomplished professional, with decades of experience in leading organizations in diversity initiatives. Her deep Christian faith, her knowledge, her love for our students and her passion for our mission all came together and made her the obvious choice for this role. She is committed to help us make positive change governed by Christian Scripture, committed to our mission, and driven by Christ’s love.”

Glover is the founder of B.J. Glover Learning and Consulting, helping organizations and individual clients reach their desired goals through consulting, leadership development and professional coaching. She is an entrepreneur, human resources leader, public speaker and former television news anchor and talk show host, with decades of experience in helping organizations with their diversity goals.

Glover retired in 2015 from Johnson Controls, then a $55 billion Fortune 100 global enterprise. While there, she earned a Master of Science in human resource development at Villanova University as well as the SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications.

What is your main responsibility as vice president for university culture?

I’m charged with leading a cultural transformation on Bison Hill to become the grace-filled, Christ-centered academic institution God has called us to be. We want all our community members to be seen, loved, recognized and respected. I am responsible for making sure we remain true to biblical principles and standards as we create a more hospitable campus for individuals from every nation, tribe, people and language (Rev. 7:9).

What excites you most about serving in this role?

After working in secular corporations for 30 years, I’m ecstatic about being able to approach what is commonly called “diversity, equity and inclusion” from a distinctively and openly biblical perspective. Here at OBU, I can stand up for Christian standards with others who share those same values.

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your position?

One rewarding thing about my role is discovering how my presence on Bison Hill provides comfort and reassurance to parents of students who are racially or ethnically diverse. Also, it is fulfilling to receive feedback from students and even community stakeholders saying they are so happy that I am doing this work because it is so important and so needed. Finally, it is so rewarding to encounter people who admit that they have a lot to learn about diversity and are willing to learn from me.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of your position?

I often joke that the hardest part of my job is trying to schedule anything with anyone else because people here are so busy and have such different schedules. Seriously, though, the biggest challenge for me is hearing false accusations of saying or teaching things that are contrary to our biblical position on diversity issues. Sometimes the allegations are against me personally and other times against other leaders or the University as a whole. I want everyone to understand clearly our heart for honoring Christ, staying true to the Bible, and loving people well.

What do you think sets OBU apart from other universities?

Aside from our Christian distinctive mentioned above, I think the authenticity of our President around diversity is rare. Dr. Thomas genuinely sees the importance of addressing this issue at this time – not only because of the business case, but also because of the spiritual imperative of emulating God’s heart about the diversity He designed in the creation of humanity.

Why did you choose to come to OBU?

You know, there have been many times or seasons in my life when I wondered if I was where God intended me to be. Being here at OBU is one time that I have no doubt that I’m right in the center of God’s will for me. I can see now how He started engineering my circumstances years ago to get me here at this time and place. I came because it was clear to me that God had a purpose in having me here and that He’s up to something significant on this campus.

What is your vision for university culture at OBU?

My vision is that OBU will become the place where students or staff who have not had much exposure to diversity can come to know and experience rich relationships with diverse people who normally would not be in their lives. Also, I hope people who have not known the love of God will find it through people they encounter here (as many have done). Finally, my vision is that OBU will become the model for other Christian universities with similar challenges and goals of balancing a commitment to the standards of the Bible with remaining agile and relevant in these dramatically changing times.

What are some things you enjoy doing when away from the office?

I love watching murder mysteries where, unlike in real life sometimes, we always discover the murderer and get justice. I love several genres of music – especially Black gospel, classical and smooth jazz. Finally, I love volunteering for my church in prison ministry and in civic organizations that have a strong positive impact in disadvantaged communities. For example, I’m on the board of an organization of women who give $100,000 grants to non-profits each year.