On the Hill Spring 2016

OBU Welcomes New College of Fine Arts Dean

OBU is pleased to welcome Dr. Chris Mathews as dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts. Mathews will assume his duties effective June 1.

Mathews earned a Bachelor of Music in sacred music with a major in piano and a minor in organ from Union University, graduating summa cum laude. He then earned a Master of Music in choral conducting from Southwest Missouri State University. He later earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting from the University of Kentucky, receiving a graduate certificate in music theory pedagogy.

He is professor of music, chair for the department of music and director of choral activities at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Prior to joining the faculty at Union in 2008, he served at Clemson University in South Carolina from 2004-08 as assistant professor and both assistant director and ultimately director of choral activities. From 2000-04, he was assistant conductor and staff instructor at the University of Kentucky. He has served in the music ministry in several churches in Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Chris Mathews as the dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts,” said Dr. Stan Norman, provost and executive vice president for campus life. “Dr. Mathews has demonstrated exemplary leadership and character in his service both in Christian higher education and in ministry. His knowledge and skillset, along with the vision the Lord has given to him, will be invaluable assets for the College of Fine Arts in the years to come. We have a tremendous faculty, and I’m anxious to see how they and Dean Mathews work together under his leadership to accomplish the College’s goals.”

Mathews says he was powerfully drawn to OBU. “From the mission statement to the strategic plan, OBU is clear about its focus to transform lives for the sake of the kingdom of Christ,” he said. “There is simply no better avenue from which to pursue this calling than through Christian higher education. Moreover, from president to staff, the people of Bison Hill have demonstrated genuine kindness, compelling enthusiasm and a warm invitation to join them in their story.

“I have been asked to step into a timeline that includes a significant legacy of leaders and influence, a remarkable assembly of faculty, staff, students, and resources, and an exciting potential for service and growth. I look forward with great optimism to contributing to the continued success and renown of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts as we serve our University, our community, our churches and our Lord.”

Mathews plans to focus on three things as he begins his role as dean: relationships, collaboration and development.

“I want to take time getting to know the people of OBU, meeting the pastors, congregations, and leaders of the BGCO, and introducing myself to the community of Shawnee and the surrounding region,” Mathews said. “I also hope to think creatively about how divisions within the College of Fine Arts can benefit one another and the school through collaborative work and how this can expand to our common calling with the other colleges on campus and with churches and schools that share our mission. I likewise want to enhance our efforts to attract great students and generous support, positioning the College of Fine Arts as a national leader in its respective disciplines in Oklahoma, the nation and beyond.”

Mathews and his wife, Leslie, have been married for 22 years. She currently serves as assistant professor of special education at Union and hopes to begin PhD work upon moving to Oklahoma. The couple has three daughters: Ellen, a college freshman; Becca, a high school junior; and Natalie, an eighth grader.