Oklahoma Baptist University presented its highest faculty and staff honors during the university’s 105th Spring Commencement May 17. OBU Interim President Dr. Pat Taylor presented the awards before an overflow audience of more than 1,800 in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on OBU’s campus in Shawnee.

Each year, during Spring Commencement, OBU presents three important awards to recognize quality teaching and faithful, productive service: the Distinguished Teaching Award, the Promising Teacher Award and the Meritorious Service Award. Nominations for the awards are made by alumni, current students, faculty and administration. In addition to public recognition and a token of the university’s appreciation, the recipients receive cash awards provided by OBU graduates John and Janet Hudson of Edmond, Oklahoma.

Julie Blackstone, assistant professor of art, received the Distinguished Teaching Award. The highest honor for OBU faculty members, this award is presented to a faculty member who has taught at OBU for five consecutive years or more. This faculty member has exemplified in his or her teaching career those characteristics of the superior instruction delineated in the “Commitment to Excellence,” a statement of teaching expectations and objectives adopted by the faculty, administration and the Board of Trustees.

Blackstone joined the OBU faculty full-time in 1997, but her connections to the University go back much further. Her grandparents graduated in the 1920’s and her father in 1950. Numerous other family members are alumni, including her great-uncle Fred McCaulley, who brought “Ka-Rip” to OBU.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Education, also at UCO. Early in her career, she served as an intern with an advertising agency in Leeds, England. After her graduation from UCO, she worked as an artist/designer at the Glasshaus Stained Glass Studio while teaching as an adjunct at Oklahoma City Community College. Her first work at OBU began in 1981 in the ceramics lab. In the years before she became a full-time faculty member, she helped run the lab, sold artwork in galleries and taught private lessons. Although she teaches a variety of mediums, she is best-known for her textiles and fibers. Her work has been accepted in numerous shows, on a regional and national level.

Dr. Nichole Jackson, assistant professor of nursing and simulation director, received the Promising Teacher Award. This award is presented to a junior faculty member who has taught at OBU less than six years, has demonstrated outstanding potential as a teacher, and who has the characteristics of one who may be a future recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Jackson joined the OBU faculty in 2015 as assistant professor of nursing and the College of Nursing simulation director. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2015 from Duquesne University after completing both her BSN and MSN degrees from OBU, in 2007 and 2011. Her professional experience includes hospital nursing practice, undergraduate education and cross cultural mission nursing.

Jackson is a Certified Nurse Educator, a mark of excellence in the field of nursing education, as well as a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator. She was awarded a teaching excellence award in 2014 for outstanding commitment to students, as well as expertise, creativity, and leadership in the classroom and beyond. She also received a certificate of excellence from OBU in 2018.

Marcia McQuerry, registrar, received the Meritorious Service Award. This award is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has made a substantial commitment of years and service, and who has been a loyal and faithful faculty or staff member.

McQuerry joined the OBU staff 36 years ago. She came to Bison Hill in 1983 as a computer programmer assistant, after earning her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Oklahoma. She currently serves as the registrar at OBU, a role she has filled admirably since August 2010. Despite her substantial workload, she consistently takes time to advise and encourage students, faculty, administrators, and co-workers. Those under her supervision admire her for her approachability and job expertise.

For more information about OBU, or to view the 2019 Spring Commencement ceremony, visit www.okbu.edu.