Dr. Will Smallwood
Advancement Fall 2016

Campaign Update

Dr. Will Smallwood, Senior Vice President for Advancement and University Relations

Since the University’s founding, the academic disciplines within the fine arts curriculum have been an essential part of the OBU liberal arts tradition. When classes resumed in the fall of 1915, Ola Gulledge taught piano and voice, Joshua Lee instructed students in public speaking and the dramatic arts, and J. Louis Guthrie directed the University’s band. By 1920, the OBU Men’s Glee Club – more than 20 students strong – was already practicing for an ambitious spring semester concert tour in Oklahoma and Texas. Two years later, the Men’s and Women’s Glee Club were firmly established, and in May of 1925, the OBU debaters demonstrated excellence by winning 11 of 14 events at a regional debate championship.

Building upon the foundations set by those early Bison, the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts is carrying forward the rich traditions of excellence in the areas of music, art, graphic design, journalism, theatre, digital media arts and strategic communications. With the addition of Scot Loyd to the faculty this academic year, OBU is offering courses in the areas of forensics and debate with plans to relaunch the OBU College Debaters.

At its core, the Angell College of Fine Arts provides opportunities for all OBU students to explore and experience the fine arts as an integral part of a Christian liberal arts education. The college’s diverse course offerings and performance opportunities enable students to acquire a comprehensive background of artistic and performance experiences built on the foundation of a biblical worldview.

Students in the college receive individual attention, maximizing the opportunity for artistic, academic and spiritual growth. The faculty seeks to lead students in developing an appreciation for the fine arts, artistic creation and aesthetic judgment with the purpose of transforming the lives of our students to reflect the artistry of the Creator.

In addition to bolstering the academic programs, OBU is currently raising resources for a significant investment in one of the University’s major fine arts facilities. Generations of students on Bison Hill have honed their musical talents inside Ford Music Hall, the primary practice facility for OBU’s Division of Music and home to the OBU Music Preparatory Department. Constructed in 1951, the facility greets guests as they enter campus on University Street from the east. A planned update of nearly $1.4 million will allow students to benefit from this iconic building for many generations to come.


After more than six decades of continuous use, the three-story facility needs a fresh look and updates for today’s music student. Renovations include a new heating and cooling system to alleviate humidity issues that impact the tuning and sound of instruments, significant interior updates, new windows and a new roof. To further student safety, renovations call for the installation of a keyless card-access entry system to the building.

Your gift will help make it possible for students to perfect their musical craft while studying to perform, teach, lead worship, or use their talents in many other ways. Your generosity will preserve the legacy of Ford Music Hall, touching the lives of future Bison and impacting generations through the power of music.