Jones, Wimberly to receive honorary doctorates from SBU

James (Jim) Jones ’86 and Louise Wimberly ’49, both of Bolivar, will receive honorary doctorates from Southwest Baptist University during the annual Founders’ Day chapel service at 10 a.m. Monday, March 16, in Pike Auditorium.

SBU awards honorary doctorates annually to recognize outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to society and to kingdom work.

James Gatlin Jones ’86

James Gatlin Jones ’86

James Gatlin Jones ’86

Jones was born and raised in southwest Missouri and graduated from SBU in 1986 with a double major in economics and business. He earned an M.B.A. at the University of Arkansas in 1987.

His professional career began at Metropolitan Life in Springfield, Mo. In 1992, Jim returned to SBU to join the College of Business and Computer Science faculty. During his tenure at SBU, he was the recipient of the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award, served as secretary/treasurer of Faculty Senate and served as faculty adviser for Enactus (formerly Students in Free Enterprise) for four years.

Jones founded Sterling Investment Advisers LLC in Bolivar in 1995 and began working full time in the business in 2000. He serves as the president and portfolio manager of the company. He holds professional designations as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), 1994, and chartered life underwriter (CLU) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC), 1989, the two latter designations conferred by the American College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

In 2010, Jim received the Donald Tuttle Excellence in Grading Award, and in 2008, the C. Stewart Sheppard Award, CFA Institute. Jim is a current member of the CFA Institute CEO Search Committee. He has served as a CFA Exam Grader since 1995; served on the Board of Governors, CFA Institute, in 2010 and 2013 and chaired the CFA Institute Board of Governors Planning Committee in 2012.

Jim and his wife, Cheri (Leonard) Jones ’85, have been married for 28 years and have two daughters: Alexandra and Ashton Rutherford. Jim and Cheri are active members of First Baptist Church of Bolivar.

Louise Wimberly ’49

Louise Wimberly ’49

Louise Wimberly ’49

Louise Wimberly was born in Bolivar in 1928, one of five children born to Otis and Grace Wimberly. After graduation from Bolivar High School in 1946, she went to work at the “Bolivar Free Press,” the local Republican newspaper, as a copy reader and officer worker for 25 cents an hour. Wimberly left the newspaper to attend Southwest Baptist College, graduating with an associate of arts degree in 1949. During her time at SWBC, she played on the women’s basketball team, was a member of the band and the “Omnibus” staff, which at that time, had two staff groups known as The Purple and The White.

After receiving her college degree, Wimberly worked for the Polk County Treasurer for a brief time. Her next job was working as an office worker at Bolivar Wholesale Grocery Co. A few years later, she was asked by the then pastor of First Baptist Church of Bolivar, Knox Lambert, to join the FBC staff , which she did in 1954. FBC is where Louise invested the remainder of her professional career until she retired in 1993.

While working full time at the church, Wimberly found time to invest in the community of Bolivar. One of her outreach projects, which continues today, is mowing lawns for Bolivar residents who are unable to maintain them. Also, for more than a decade, she spent her Sunday afternoons picking up trash on the square and the surrounding blocks immediately off the square. The sheriff of Bolivar asked Wimberly if a prisoner could assist her on Sunday afternoons, and she viewed this as another opportunity to minister. Today, she still cares for a three-block area near her home.

In 1997, a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was formed in Bolivar, and Wimberly is a charter member. Also, she was a member of the local Bolivar civic club known as Twenty Club. In 1996 she received the Life Service Award at SBU, and in 2007, was awarded the prestigious Bolivar Civic Service Award.

When Louise isn’t performing an act of love for or visiting one of her numerous friends, she enjoys reading, crosswords, cross stich and needle point. She has been a member of First Baptist Church of Bolivar since she was a teenager.​

Founders’ Day chapel is open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Brad Johnson, vice president of university relations, at (417) 328-1805.


Weather-related status for today, March 4, on all SBU campuses

Bolivar campus: Campus is OPEN Wednesday, March 4, and classes ARE in session (see inclement weather policy below)

Springfield campus (Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU): No classes 10 a.m. or later (including evening classes); offices closing at noon

Mountain View campus: Closed all day

Salem campus: Closed all day

Here is a summary of the University’s Inclement Weather Policy:

Because SBU is a residential campus, the University rarely cancels classes on the Bolivar campus due to inclement weather. However, students will be notified by Angel and/or SBU email if a faculty member cancels a class today due to inclement weather.

Students who commute should use good judgment regarding traveling to campus and notify professors if not able to attend classes. Professors will make reasonable accommodations for commuters who are not able to travel safely to campus.

We appreciate all of our employees who are working to clear campus streets, parking lots and sidewalks. Above all, please be careful!

Singer-songwriter John Mark McMillan to perform acoustic concert at SBU

Singer-songwriter John Mark McMillan returns to Southwest Baptist University at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 5 for his first concert there since 2013. The performance, presented by SBU’s University Activities Council, will be a special all-acoustic show on campus in SBU’s Pike Auditorium.

JMMMcMillan has penned widely known songs like “How He Loves,” which was famously covered by other noted Christian artists such as David Crowder Band, Todd Agnew and others. In his decade-long career, McMillan has released four studio albums, his latest being Borderland, a folk-rock praise and worship record which peaked at number three on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart and in the top 40 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart.

With ID cards, SBU students, faculty and staff  are permitted free admission to the concert. $10 general admission tickets will be available for sale at the door and online at

SBU to stage “Pinocchio” children’s opera

Southwest Baptist University’s Opera Theatre ensemble and the SBU Theatre program together invite students, faculty, staff and the community to their production of “Pinocchio, a one-act opera for children that will be staged on campus at 7 p.m., March 12-14. Members of the media interested in viewing, photographing or filming the performance are welcome to attend media night at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 10. ​

The 50-minute opera is based upon the beloved Italian tale about a wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy and learns the value of honesty. The production, which is in English, incorporates selections of famous operas by masters such as Mozart, Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi and Jacques Offenbach.

“Pinocchio” will be presented in the Davis-Newport Theater, which is located on the SBU campus within the Jester Learning and Performance Center.

To purchase tickets for the production, please contact the Box Office by phone at (417) 328-1691. Ticket prices are $3 for SBU students and children under 13; $5 for students of other schools, senior citizens and alumni; and $8 for adults.  Current and retired faculty and staff may attend at no cost.

For more information about the production, please contact theatre instructor Jonathan Wehmeyer, who may be reached at (417) 328-1954 or Members of the media interested in attending the media performance may contact Charlotte Marsch, Director of Marketing and Communications.

SBU student gives sermon at National Festival of Young Preachers

Nickolas Bettis ’16, a student in Southwest Baptist University’s Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry, joined almost 130 other up-and-coming preachers from across the country to participate in the sixth annual National Festival of Young Preachers. Hosted by the Academy of Preachers in Dallas, Texas, on Jan. 2-5, the festival supports young people with the call to gospel preaching.

“The academy is a nationwide, interdenominational organization whose purpose is to encourage and develop young preachers and bless all of those who feel called to preaching,” said Dr. Mike Fuhrman, professor and chair of SBU’s Department of Christian Ministry. “I have always been impressed by how our student participants’ sermons have [so much] biblical content. Nickolas did very well in interpreting the scriptures—he had excellent storytelling and very positive application.”

The festival provided youth like Bettis, including some as young as 13 and from a myriad of Christian backgrounds, the opportunity to participate in instructive programming, hear dozens of sermons by their peers, and share their own messages on the theme of “Tell Me a Story,” which encouraged participants to incorporate narrative and imagery into their talks. Bettis spoke on Acts 3 and encouraged listeners to allow the Lord to “start writing your story.”

Originally from Nixa, Mo., Bettis is currently pursuing a major in pastoral ministry with minors in biblical studies and evangelism. In between his studies, Bettis spends much of his time at Stockton United Methodist Church, where he serves as the director of children’s and youth ministries. Bettis participated in the Festival of Young preachers at the suggestion of Dr. Furman, who has brought students to the event intermittently since 2010.

“I loved the idea of coming together with preachers from different traditions, styles and backgrounds, to hear their sermons and to preach and be evaluated,” Bettis said. “No matter what denomination or background you are from, there’s something to learn [at the festival]. It is an opportunity to broaden your horizons. The value [comes in] being able to learn how to learn and keep your eyes open.”

Bettis’ sermon, which was evaluated by noted author and Perkins School of Theology professor Dr. Alyce McKenzie, will be published later this year in the annual volume compiling sermons from each year’s festival. The sermon is also available online at

For more information about the Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry and the Department of Christian Ministry, please contact Dr. Mike Fuhrman at (417) 328-1773 and

SBU’s Driskill Art Gallery debuts new two-person exhibition

Southwest Baptist University’s Driskill Art Gallery has debuted a new exhibition, which is on view through March 12 and showcases landscapist Cindy Kopenhafer and ceramicist Bari Precious.

A pastel by artist Cindy Kopenhafer

A pastel by artist Cindy Kopenhafer

Pleasant Hope-based Kopenhafer is a realistic landscape artist whose work is inspired by a love of nature and history. As a plein air artist, Kopenhafer works on location using natural light to create artworks portraying scenes of the ocean, countryside, mountains and more.

Vancouver native Bari Precious is a ceramicist exhibiting functional pottery. Her one-of-a-kind pieces like teapots, bowls, vases and mugs are crafted to be functional, yet decorative. She has exhibited extensively in and around the region.

Both artists will be on hand to discuss their respective works and artistic processes during a reception to be held at the gallery at 6 p.m., Friday, March 6.

The Driskill Art Gallery, situated on the SBU campus in the Jester Learning and Performance Center, is free of admission and open to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the exhibition or the Driskill Art Gallery, please contact gallery director and art instructor Dawn Katzer, who may be reached at (417) 328-1651 and

SBU’s Speaking Bearcats team achieves top honors at state competition

For the third consecutive year, Southwest Baptist University’s Speaking Bearcats forensics team triumphed as the champions in Overall Team Sweepstakes at the annual Missouri Association of Forensics Activities (MAFA) State Championship tournament held Feb. 13-14 on the campus of Crowder College in Neosho.

Pictured from Left to Right (back row): Head Coach Dr. David Bailey, Reed Dressler, Tyler Middleton, Nik Fischer, Will Wheeler, LeeAnn Maloney, Lydia Swisher, Lyndal Doherty, Assistant Coach Mrs. Rebecca Godsey. From Left to Right (front row): Meg Burns, Tiana Brownen, Kensey Slone.

Pictured from Left to Right (back row): Head Coach Dr. David Bailey, Reed Dressler, Tyler Middleton, Nik Fischer, Will Wheeler, LeeAnn Maloney, Lydia Swisher, Lyndal Doherty, Assistant Coach Mrs. Rebecca Godsey. From Left to Right (front row): Meg Burns, Tiana Brownen, Kensey Slone.

The event involved various categories of speaking, debate and oratory competition, in which the Speaking Bearcats competed with entrants from 14 other schools. Due to the tournament’s “open” format, which allows the inclusion of participants from other states, Missouri students were joined in the competition field by others from states such as Kansas, Illinois and Kentucky.

In addition to excelling in the overall sweepstakes, the Speaking Bearcats also finished first in individual event sweepstakes and debate sweepstakes.

SBU had five debate teams in the tournament, all of which posted a winning record, such as partners Meg Burns and Will Wheeler finishing as semifinalists in parliamentary debate. In public forum debate, the Speaking Bearcats received two top spots, with Tiana Brownen and her partner Lydia Swisher finishing first and partners Kensey Slone and Tyler Middleton placing second.

Although they did not advance to elimination rounds, two teams—Reed Dressler and Nik Fischer in parliamentary debate and LeeAnn Maloney and Lyndal Doherty in public forum debate—were recognized for their winning records.

In their final MAFA tournament, two SBU seniors succeeded in various categories of competition, including Meg Burns, who earned first place in informative speaking; second in communication analysis; second in duo interpretation, alongside her partner Lydia Swisher; third in impromptu; and sixth in poetry. Meanwhile, senior Nik Fischer was awarded first place in extemporaneous speaking; second in oratory; third in informative speaking; and fifth in communication analysis.

Additionally, both Burns and Fischer placed highly in the pentathlon competition, in which results from competitors’ top five individual events are compiled, resulting in Burns placing first and Fischer placing third.

Moreover, for the second year in a row, Fischer earned the honor of representing Missouri at the Interstate Oratorical Competition, which annually gathers the two top finishers from each state tournament. This achievement marks the seventh consecutive year in which SBU has had at least one qualifying student move on to the national tournament.

Other MAFA top finishers from SBU include Will Wheeler, with third place in communication analysis, fifth in oratory and sixth in extemporaneous; Lydia Swisher, with second in duo interpretation alongside partner Meg Burns and fourth in duo interpretation with partner Tyler Middleton; Reed Dressler, with sixth in informative speaking; and Lyndal Doherty, with fourth in program of oral interpretation.

Two SBU novices earned special honors, including Kensey Slone, who was named Top Novice in communication analysis and Tiana Brownen, who was named Top Novice in informative, in which she also received second place. Brownen also placed fifth in impromptu and seventh in extemporaneous, earning Top Novice in each.

The team will conclude its 2014-2015 season at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament and Convention, occurring March 4-8 in Athens, Ohio. For more information about the team, please contact Dr. David Bailey at

SBU faculty, students to present special concert featuring tuba and euphonium

Southwest Baptist University’s Department of Music presents a concert at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 3, highlighting its faculty and student musicians specializing in the tuba and euphonium. The performance will feature music professor Dr. Terri Knupps, who in the first half of the concert will be joined on piano by fellow music professor Dr. Melinda Smashey Jones and on the organ by Dr. William Brown, provost. During the second half of the evening, Knupps will perform alongside SBU’s Tuba/Euphonium Quartet.

“I am excited to feature some of my low brass students in this recital,” Knupps said. “Many people have not had the unique opportunity to hear a group of just tubas and euphoniums. This ensemble showcases the virtuosity and sonority possible within the instruments of the tuba family. For those who think of tubas as ponderous practitioners of the ‘Oom-pa’ [sound], be prepared to be surprised!”

The evening’s program will include works by a variety of composers from disparate historical eras and musical styles, such as Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach, modern composer Thom Ritter George, and early 20th-century composer Gustav Holst, whose “Jupiter Chorale” from his famed orchestral suite “The Planets” will be performed by an eight-member ensemble to conclude the evening. The concert will also include renditions of much-beloved traditional hymns including “Amazing Grace” and “Just a Closer Walk.”

Dr. Knupps obtained both her Doctorate in Musical Arts in euphonium performance and Master of Music in music history and literature from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has performed widely and earned numerous state and regional awards for her work individually and with various ensembles, including the Kansas City-based Fountain City Brass Band, of which she is a founding member.

In addition, Dr. Knupps is part of SBU’s Tuba/Euphonium Quartet, the members of which also include Daniel Lewis, euphonium, a sophomore church music major from Kansas City; Austin Hicks, tuba, a freshman music education major from Buffalo; and Jared Van Manen, tuba, a senior church music and music education major from Farmington.

The concert will be held in Jane A. Meyer Recital Hall, which is housed on the SBU campus within the Casebolt Music Center. For more information about the performance, which is free and open to the public, please contact the SBU Music Office at (417) 328-1644.



Feb. 20 guest artist talk cancelled

Originally planned for 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, a talk featuring guest artist Terry Thacker has been cancelled due to the travel difficulties caused by the wintry, inclement weather in Missouri, as well as in Thacker’s hometown of Nashville, Tenn., where he serves as a professor at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film.

Although the talk has been cancelled, Thacker’s exhibition will still be on display at SBU’s Driskill Art Gallery through Friday, Feb. 20. The show features a variety of Thacker’s photographic collages, installations and paintings done in the encaustic method, which involves the application of wax-based paint to a surface.

The Driskill Art Gallery, situated on the SBU campus in the Jester Learning and Performance Center, is free of admission and open to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the exhibition or the Driskill Art Gallery, please contact gallery director and art professor Dawn Katzer, who may be reached at (417) 328-1651 and

SBU physical therapy students and faculty attend, present at national meeting

Earlier this month, eight Southwest Baptist University Doctor of Physical Therapy faculty members, as well as 20 students, alumni and current clinical instructors from the program, attended the momentous Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the organization representing and promoting the work of more than 90,000 physical therapy practitioners and students.

From left to right: third year physical therapy students Dan Heller and Nick Allard with SBU physical therapy professor Dr. Sarah Jones

From left to right: third year physical therapy students Dan Heller and Nick Allard with SBU physical therapy professor Dr. Sarah Jones

The conference, which was held Feb. 4-7 in Indianapolis, Ind., gathered more than 10,000 physical therapy professionals from across the nation for programming designed by all 18 of the APTA’s specialty sections, ranging from cardiovascular and pulmonary to neurology, oncology, women’s health and sports physical therapy.

SBU’s students and faculty took advantage of opportunities during the event to present and defend their research in various facets of physical therapy, including a group presenting on platform on “The Impact of a Walking Program on the Quality of Life of Geriatric Patients with Dementia: A Systematic Review.” In addition, SBU’s physical therapy program was able to display and discuss the impact of and future plans for its Global Health Outreach, which mobilizes physical therapists to provide physical therapy services to underserved populations around the world.

For more information about Southwest Baptist University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, please contact Aaron Weaver, the department’s admissions and alumni coordinator, at or (417) 328-1690.