You may have heard it said that “excellence needs a center.” In other words, for excellence to grow and thrive in a family, church, business, or institution, then it needs a place that helps it grow and thrive. My friends, OBU is that hospitable space to develop excellence! But we must be mindful of the kind of excellence we develop! If we are hitting all the academic marks but lose our vision of the lordship of Christ, then we are not developing the right kind of excellence. Rather, we will be excellent when we set the primacy of the Lord Jesus in the center of all things. At OBU, we are equipping the next generation of future shapers to live all of life, all for Jesus.
All of life. OBU is in the business of equipping our students to impact all of life: business, theology, education, healthcare, the arts, and now…engineering! We are thrilled to share the launch of three new engineering degrees in the Fall of 2023. This is a watershed moment in the history of our university. We will flex into this great need in our communities with our Christ-centered, liberal arts education.
But, engineering marks only one of our exciting new programs established this year! In January we launched our first ever fully online bachelor’s program, our BA in Christian Studies, even while we began our first ever fully online certification program, our ACCESS Program for teachers. Much more lay before us. We are asking, “What does our world need…and how can OBU help?” When we leverage our university to meet our world’s needs, then we can begin to make a positive impact.
I am also pleased to share how God is blessing OBU with a rejuvenation of our campus. We want the excellence of our facilities to reflect the excellence of our education. To this end, we have begun a major revitalization enterprise on our campus. Much has been done to existing spaces, but we have much more to come (yes, that means YOU, Shawnee Hall!).
All of the work described above informs our master plan development. The future of OBU will move along the lines of our master plan. So please pray for us as we develop it! And if you have thoughts, please let us know as well. This is important work indeed.
Why do we do this? Because excellence needs a center. OBU is the center that equips our students to go into their world and do something beautiful for God. OBU is the center that encourages our students not to waste their lives but leverage their lives for something greater than themselves. OBU is the center of excellence as we inspire our students to excellence: all of life, all for Jesus.
Dr. Heath A. Thomas