Oklahoma Baptist University recently completed another successful academic year on Bison Hill.
On Friday, May 18, the University awarded diplomas to 288 graduates during OBU’s 104th Spring Commencement. Of this number, six students came to the University this spring from St. Gregory’s University to complete their degrees. The University conferred degrees to 136 students during Winter Commencement in December 2017.
In April, the University experienced the second largest Priority Enrollment Day in school history, registering 380 new students for the fall semester on a single day. Earlier that month, OBU opened the new Ronald N. and Lou T. Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic on Kickapoo just south of the OBU Art Annex. Funding for renovation of the building was provided by the Avedis Foundation. OBU alumni Dr. and Mrs. Ronald and Lou Kemp, graduates of 1957 and 1958, also provided a gift of $250,000 to support the ongoing operational needs of the MFT clinic. Currently serving members of the University community, the clinic plans to expand services to the community at large.
OBU formally celebrated the reopening of Ford Hall during a dedication ceremony this spring. Formerly known as Ford Music Hall, this facility has been completely renovated and modernized. Beginning with a new roof and cupola and replacement of the heating and air system last summer, and culminating in a complete overhaul, the building now features space for students from all divisions within the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts – Music, Art and Design, and Communication Arts. Each area is built to enhance collaborative learning, providing students a multi-disciplinary hub of creativity. The building now includes modernized practice rooms, a recording studio, art studios, a Yamaha digital piano pedagogy lab, an art and animation lab, the Bison Glee Club’s rehearsal room and more. All pianos in the facility have been replaced by new Steinway manufactured instruments.
In March, OBU hosted the sixth annual 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.
OBU’s Women of Vision giving circle completed its third year with 89 members and donations of $75,000. During their annual luncheon in the fall, members voted to use the dollars raised to fund the renovation of the Spiritual Life offices and meeting rooms which will be moved from Montgomery Hall to the lower level of the Geiger Center and adjacent to Student Life. This will offer students one and a half times more space once the project is completed this summer.
This year, 243 students and mentors are participating in 24 Global Outreach Trips to locations including Houston (where they provided disaster relief), along with Greece, Brazil, East Asia, Ghana, Hawaii, North Africa, Panama, South Asia, New York, Ecuador, England, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Israel, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.
The end of this year marks the completion of OBU’s first year as full members of NCAA Division II. The Bison teams have met the challenge, both on the field and in the classroom, rising to the occasion of NCAA competition and standards.