Another exciting academic year has just finished on Bison Hill, and we give thanks for the opportunity to send forth more graduates to engage a diverse world and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ. These graduates are visible examples of our partnership in the worthy calling and work of Oklahoma Baptist University. The generosity and support of countless alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the University enable us to achieve great things around campus and for our students.
In March, we hosted the sixth annual OBU Green and Gold Gala, with Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton serving as the keynote speaker. This year’s gala generated $40,000 for the general endowed scholarship fund, making an impact on countless current and future students at OBU. Also, as a direct result of the Gala, new supporters have emerged providing resources for scholarship endowments and other gifts.
Our Vision for the New Century Campaign 2.0, with the elevated goal of $60 million, is now within sight with nearly $51 million gifted toward that goal. These funds have accomplished remarkable things including the renovation of Ford Hall, a modern gathering place for all students in the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts. Significant gifts have also supported our new Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, which you have read about in this magazine, including an extremely generous gift from the Kemp family who was inspired by the purpose of this facility. You can read about their gift and their passion for the clinic on the bottom of this page.
OBU’s Women of Vision giving circle completed its third year with more than 80 members joining together to provide a gift of more than $70,000. During their annual luncheon, members voted to use the dollars raised to renovate a portion of the lower level of the Geiger Center to move Spiritual Life from Montgomery Hall to that location, adjacent to Student Life. This will offer students more space and resources for meaningful spiritual encounters and a more visible space for Spiritual Life in the heart of campus. That project will be completed this summer.
The Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach prepares hundreds of students and mentors each year to serve the worldwide community through global engagement opportunities in the United States and throughout the world. The Harder Missions Endowment, now valued at more than $600,000, helps offset the cost of these trips for students, faculty, and staff. We are thankful for supporters of this endowment and for the generous contribution of Betty Harder, who upon her passing left an estate gift that established this endowment. She and her family had a passion for seeing more students participate in GO trips, so that they might be transformed as they transform the world with the power of the Gospel.
This year alone, 243 students and mentors have participated in 24 GO Trips, to locations including Greece, Brazil, east Asia, Ghana, Hawaii, North Africa, Ethiopia, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. These trips are made possible by the generosity of people like you, who give directly to students and who provide transformational resources like the Harder Missions Endowment to help reach the world for generations to come.
Since 2009, the University has established eight new endowed faculty chairs and professorships that allow us to recruit the very best scholars who believe and live the mission of the university. Professors such as Dr. Vickie Ellis and Dr. Warren McWilliams, both of whom are featured in this magazine, exemplify the world-class caliber and faithfulness of OBU faculty, and the support of donors who establish endowments helps to perpetuate that legacy of teaching excellence. Likewise, through your investment of endowed faculty development funds for nursing and teacher education, faculty remain on the cutting edge of their disciplines and grow in their knowledge within their fields, ultimately leading to the best possible education for their students.
As we begin the summer and reflect upon this past year, we do, indeed, have much for which to be grateful. As we celebrate these successes, may we continue onward, working together to build on the foundation of excellence long established on Bison Hill, as we strive to forge an even brighter future for generations of Bison to come.
Ronald N. and Lou T. Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic
Dr. Ronald and Lou Kemp visited campus May 16 to tour the new Ronald N. and Lou T. Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic. The Kemps generously donated a $250,000 endowment to help fund the operation of the new clinic. Dr. Ronald Kemp, ’58, and his wife, Lou Kemp, ’57, served as marriage and family therapists for many years, investing their lives to restore family relationships.
Green and Gold Gala 2018
Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gold medalist, delivered the keynote address to a packed house at OBU’s sixth annual Green and Gold Gala March 8 at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. Designed to generate support for student scholarships, the 2018 Gala added $40,000 to the student scholarship endowment.