Author Archives: Charlotte Marsch

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!

Classes canceled, offices closed on Bolivar campus Feb. 16

Classes are canceled and offices are closed at Southwest Baptist University’s Bolivar campus Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, due to a winter storm that is expected to bring significant snowfall accumulation, causing hazardous roads. Students are encouraged to stay on campus until roads are adequately cleared for safe travel. Employees, please contact your supervisor concerning whether you need to report to work.

We want to extend an extra appreciation to employees who are working today to provide meals for students, to clear snow from campus streets, parking lots and sidewalks, to keep the wellness center open and more.

Even though classes are canceled, we must continue to provide essential services for students. The status of some campus services are listed below.

• Chapel: CANCELED
• Wellness Center: OPEN with special afternoon activities
• Mellers Dining Commons: OPEN 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Kaldi’s and Sports Cafe CLOSED
• Library and Computer Labs: CLOSED

Updates will be posted as more information becomes available.

SBU comes out on top in inaugural CatFight Giving Challenge

BOLIVAR, Mo. —Alumni and supporters of Drury and Southwest Baptist universities raised a total of $21,536 during the inaugural Highway 13 CatFight Giving Challenge. SBU came out on top in the friendly competition, raising $13,161 to Drury’s $8,375.

The fundraising event was a new addition this year to the longstanding on-court rivalry between the Panther and Bearcat basketball teams. The schools sought to raise $13,000 each over the course of six days. The final push for donations took place during tonight’s CatFight double-header at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

“It was refreshing to see students, alumni and friends of Southwest Baptist University get excited about giving generously,” said Megan Hibma, assistant director of annual fund at SBU. “Our Bearcats joined together to give back and collectively make a huge impact in the lives of our students. Together we reached and surpassed our goal of $13,000. On behalf of SBU and our students, we’re thankful that Bearcats Give Back.”

Money raised by Drury will support students through the Drury Fund and the athletics fund. Money raised by SBU will go to the university’s annual scholarship fund.

For more information about SBU’s annual scholarship fund, contact Hibma at (417) 328-1801 or

SBU to name Business College for Robert W. Plaster; Plaster Foundation donates toward business building renovation and expansion

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University will honor the legacy of businessman Robert W. Plaster with the naming of the Robert W. Plaster College of Business and Computer Science.

A seven-figure gift from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation in Lebanon, Mo., will help fund renovation and expansion of the Gene Taylor National Free Enterprise Center, which houses offices and classrooms primarily for the College of Business and Computer Science.

“It is a great honor to name our outstanding College of Business and Computer Science after an outstanding businessman who was passionate about free enterprise,” said C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D., SBU president. “The building renovation and expansion will enhance the college experience for our accounting, business administration and computer science students. We are so grateful for the generosity of the Plaster Foundation to SBU throughout the past few decades.”

About Robert W. Plaster

Plaster was a successful businessman who also was a co-founder and active supporter of Enactus (formerly Students in Free Enterprise), which started on the SBU campus before moving to headquarters in Springfield. SBU awarded him an honorary doctorate of business administration in November of 1982.

The Robert W. Plaster Foundation exists to expand the educational opportunities for students in the Midwest through named capital projects. These grants help provide state-of-the-art facilities to students and faculty that position them to have an effective learning environment. This enables educational institutions to keep their tuition lower for their students. The funding of these capital projects positions the Robert W. Plaster Foundation to make sustainable and lasting investments into the future of our nation and promote free enterprise for all.

The Plaster Foundation was formed in 1983 to help students by funding projects for colleges and universities. At SBU, the foundation has made significant contributions toward the construction of:

• Robert W. Plaster Stadium, original construction as well as the recent installation of artificial turf on the football field;

• Robert W. Plaster Athletic Center;

• Plaster Lodge, a women’s dormitory; and

• Jean Plaster (wife of Robert W. Plaster) Conference Room in the University Success Center.

“Southwest Baptist University is a wonderful institution that Dad supported for many years,” said Dr. Dolly Plaster Clement, daughter of Robert W. Plaster. “I know he would be very proud to help the students at SBU in their efforts to learn about our free enterprise system and how to achieve their goals within that system. We are excited to see the renovation and expansion of the Gene Taylor National Free Enterprise Center and the benefits it will bring to the students at SBU.”

About the College of Business and Computer Science

SBU’s College of Business and Computer Science is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs and offers 12 undergraduate degrees in accounting, business administration and computer science. The computer science program is accredited through ABET’s Computer Accrediting Commission, the only accredited program at an evangelical institution within a 500-mile radius and one of just six accredited Christian programs nationally.

College of Business and Computer Science graduates consistently rank high on the Major Field Test, with the 2014 graduating class scoring in the 97th percentile in the nation. The college’s four-year average is 91.25 percent nationally.

“I am continually impressed with the quality of students that our programs in the College of Business and Computer Science attract,” said Troy Bethards, D.B.A., associate professor of business administration and dean of the College of Business and Computer Science. “The data and feedback we receive indicates that our students continually excel and having an updated facility with which to work will enhance our ability to effectively meet the needs of our students as we move into the future.”

The Taylor Center was completed in 1981 and named in honor of former Missouri Congressman Gene Taylor, a good friend of Plaster. The renovation and expansion project is part of a more comprehensive campaign to be announced later that will include fundraising for endowment and capital projects.

For more information about The Robert W. Plaster Foundation, send an email to or call (417) 533-3007.

For more information about the SBU College of Business and Computer Science, contact Bethards at (417) 328-1757 or For information regarding SBU giving opportunities, information about endowment, estate planning or capital projects, contact Dr. Brad Johnson, vice president of university relations, at (417) 328-1805 or


Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. At SBU, the faculty and staff create a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. For more information, visit




Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU adds VP of operations; SBU names new chief technology officer

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of Southwest Baptist University in Springfield has added a vice president of operations position to coordinate administrative responsibilities at the SBU branch campus and oversee the University’s collaboration with Mercy Hospital. The college has record enrollment of 730 students this fall.

Bob McGlasson, Ed.D., assumed the new role of associate provost and vice president of operations for the Mercy College of SBU Nov. 3.

“This is a very significant move for us that will help our relationship with Mercy and the growth we continue to see on our Springfield campus,” said Bill Brown, D.M., acting president of SBU.

McGlasson has worked at SBU since 1990 and became vice president for information and technology services from 2003 to 2012, when he was promoted to associate provost for extended learning and technology services. He also served as interim dean of the Mercy College campus in 2013 and early 2014 until Kezia Lilly, D.N.P., was hired as dean of the college in April 2014.

“Mercy’s long-standing relationship with SBU has benefited our community so much by providing quality health sciences education,” said Lisa Person, chief nursing officer for Mercy Springfield. “It’s exciting to see enrollment continue to grow and to be working with Bob once again.”

Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU is a partnership between Mercy Hospital and SBU offering degree programs in nursing, radiography, and health sciences, designed for students to pursue a health care education in a Christ-centered environment.

Bolton named chief technology officer

Due to McGlasson’s move from SBU’s Bolivar campus to the Springfield campus, the Information Technology Services department has been restructured, including naming David Bolton, formerly director of administrative computing, as chief technology officer and director of computing and information services.

Bolton’s additional areas of supervision include instructional technology and extended learning.

“We are very grateful to David for accepting this new level of responsibility, and we know his experience and expertise will provide the leadership we need in these areas,” Brown said.

Bolton has worked at SBU since 1980, first working in accounting before transferring to information technology services as director of administrative computing.


Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. At SBU, the faculty and staff create a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. For more information, visit

SBU presents Madrigal Dinner Dec. 4 and 5

BOLIVAR, Mo. —The Chamber Singers of Southwest Baptist University will present the traditional “Ye Olde Madrigal Dinners” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 4 and 5, in the McClelland Dining Facility on the Bolivar campus.SBU Chamber Singers

The annual event features a five-course meal served to patrons amid the merriment, music, revelry and traditions of Elizabethan England. The Chamber Singers will present repertoire from Renaissance to contemporary genres.

“The music, the decor, costumes, the antics of our Lord of Misrule, the lovable Court Friar—this is truly an evening of great entertainment,” said Dr. Jim Tarrant, director of choral studies at Southwest Baptist University. “Add to that the fantastic food and you have an evening out full of memories. How can there be a better way to open the Yuletide season?”

Tickets are on sale now and must be reserved in advance by calling the music department at (417) 328-1644.

SBU Concert Choir, Bolivar Community Chorus concert Dec. 2

BOLIVAR, Mo. —The SBU Concert Choir and the Bolivar Community Chorus will present a fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, in Pike Auditorium on the SBU campus.

The concert will feature a five-song, song cycle composed by Paul Basler titled “Songs of Faith.” “Songs of Faith” includes texts from Psalm 150 and Psalm 23, as wellas an arrangement of the great hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” Basler’s “Songs of Faith” is composed for choir and will also feature French horn, to be played by SBU adjunct faculty member Eric Jackson.

Other selections to be presented include Joseph Martin’s “The Awakening,” Frank Ticheli’s “Earth Song,” Eric Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque,” and Z. Randall Stroope’s “Lamentations of Jeremiah.” There will also be a four-song set of Christmas pieces in honor of the upcoming holiday season that will include Gilbert Martin’s “The Jesus Gift,” William Mathias’ “Sir Christèmas,” P.D.Q. Bach’s humorous “Good King Kong Looked Out,” and André Thomas’ great spiritual “African Noel.”

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call the SBU Music office at (417) 328-1644.


Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. At SBU, the faculty and staff create a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. For more information, visit

Phipps, Huff receive Life Beautiful Awards at SBU graduation

SBU graduation candid

With 581 graduates, Southwest Baptist University’s May 2014 graduating class was the largest in the University’s 136-year history. The commencement ceremony also included the annual presentation of three prestigious awards: two Life Beautiful Awards and the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award.

Life Beautiful Award

The 2014 recipients of the Life Beautiful Award are Kara Phipps of Bolivar and Alex Huff of Da Nang, Vietnam.

Kara Phipps, biology major from Bolivar, Mo., is the female recipient of the Life Beautiful award. She is the daughter of Michael and Tammy Phipps of Bolivar.

Kara Phipps, biology major from Bolivar, Mo., is the female recipient of the Life Beautiful award. She is the daughter of Michael and Tammy Phipps of Bolivar.

Phipps graduated with a bachelor of science in biology. She has received multiple honors while at SBU, is a member of the Gordon & Judy Dutile Honors Program Leadership Council and has been a biology research team leader since 2012. She is a member of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Bolivar, where she is part of the worship team and leads a Bible study. She participated in three mission trips while at SBU. One faculty member wrote, “Kara has a quiet, sweet spirit. She is patient and kind, always considerate of others. She is a true servant leader.”

She is the daughter of Michael and Tammy Phipps, both SBU graduates. Her brother Josiah was the male 2013 Life Beautiful recipient.

Alex Huff, economics and finance major from Da Nang, Vietnam, is the male recipient of the Life Beautiful Award. He is the son of Bob and Kathleen Huff.

Alex Huff, economics and finance major from Da Nang, Vietnam, is the male recipient of the Life Beautiful Award. He is the son of Bob and Kathleen Huff.

Huff graduated with a bachelor of science degree in economics/finance. He was selected as the Outstanding Business Administration graduate and is in the Dutile Honors program. He attends Alliance Christian Fellowship in Bolivar and served on two mission trips through SBU. One faculty member wrote, “He greets everybody with a smile and a can-do attitude. He takes the time to listen and get to know others. Alex has a heart for missions and sharing the gospel around the world.”

He is the son of Bob and Kathleen Huff.

The Life Beautiful Award was established in 1937 by Rosalee Mills Appleby, a career missionary to Brazil. This award is given annually to an outstanding man and woman in the Southwest Baptist University spring graduating class. These individuals have demonstrated by their scholarship and character that they are living a “life beautiful.” The faculty selects the recipients, whose identities remain confidential until commencement.

Orien B. Hendrex Award

Joe Wooderson, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and instructor of physical education, received the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award.

The award is presented annually to a faculty member who has been judged by the previous three years’ graduating classes to be outstanding in both teaching ability and personal guidance. The SBU Board of Trustees designated this award in memory of Hendrex, a former academic dean.

Senior speaker

Shannon L. Gray of Schell City, Mo., delivered the Bob R. Derryberry Senior Address, reminding her classmates that though they have encountered difficult times during college, God sees the potential and beauty of each graduate.

Shannon Gray

Shannon Gray

“While in college we are looking at our lives from the underside of a tapestry, but our Creator has a bigger, better plan,” she said. “He sees the whole tapestry and rejoices in its picture with all of its beauty and its imperfections, because that is what makes us all unique. He sees us in our final form, full of success, lessons learned and growth shown. He sees his children, the men and women who breathed life into doing his work through mission trips, daily tasks and even being a listening ear.

“This part of the tapestry is now done and it is time for us to move on to this more exciting time of our future. We have bright futures, full of hope and ready for the world ahead of us, and we have been trained and held accountable by some of the finest people we ever have had the privilege of knowing, our teachers.”

Senior music was provided by Katelyn Hicks and Shelby Johnson accompanied by Tammie Pennington.

Faculty and staff recognitions

Dr. Taylor also recognized four retiring faculty members and one retiring staff member.

Retiring faculty members are J.D. Lynch, instructor of recreation and leisure and director of the Meyer Wellness and Sports Center; Susan Lynch, chair of the Department of Business Administration and professor of business administration; Robert Perry, professor of graduate studies in educational administration; and Libby Sanders, instructor of education at the SBU Salem campus. Retiring staff member is Larry Price, director of the SBU Mountain View campus.

Commencement speaker

Charles Graham, founder of Charles Graham Ministries, and a 2007 recipient of an honorary doctorate from SBU, told the graduates that God has a purpose for everything that has and will happen in their lives.

“I want you to realize God does have a plan for you,” he said.

“Number two, don’t allow a world of circumstances to rob you of your purpose. You may get your position, you may get your pay raises, but I want you to understand that the purpose is not the position nor your pay. The purpose will always be people. God will always use us in the lives of those around us.

“My third point, don’t let moments define the purpose. Don’t let them rob you of your purpose. When you enter your workforce, let your life be shaped by the Word that is within and not the world you are in.”

Creating math champions: Dr. Bev Harris spent decades preparing math educators

From the 1978 SBU Mozarkian yearbook: Dr. Bev Harris, right, is pictured with John Bryant, left, and John Smashey, center, all faculty members in SBU Department of Mathematics. Bryant and Smashey were Harris’ students at SBU before returning to SBU to teach. The trio taught together for 23 years before Harris retired in 1989.

During nearly four decades in the college classroom, Dr. Bev Harris championed the cause of educating math educators in Missouri, leaving behind a legacy that continues through his students, who are teaching at high schools and universities across the country, preparing future generations of math educators.
“At one time, before the state colleges really got with it as far as math education is concerned, I was the leading math educator in the state of Missouri,” he said. “I was putting more students in high schools to teach mathematics and more students in graduate schools to pursue graduate school mathematics than any college in the state.
“The thing I’m most proud of from having taught at SBU, at least from an academic standpoint, is that over 50 of my former students have at least a master’s degree in pure mathematics. That’s better than one a year. I taught 37 years at Southwest.”
Harris encouraged and inspired his students to study pure mathematics and to be educators.
“I remember when I first went into his office my freshman year,” said Dr. Bob Glasgow, professor of mathematics at SBU, who was one of Harris’ students and joined the mathematics faculty in 1989. “I had just made my decision to be a math teacher and was still very unsure of myself. By the time I left Bev’s office, I had a four-year plan and was starting to think about graduate school after graduation. That’s the way Bev advised. He was encouraging while giving you strong nudges to do more than you thought you were capable of doing.”
Even students who weren’t math majors remember his caring and helpful demeanor.
“He was very interested in the students,” said Elizabeth Pace ’59, one of his many students. “He is just generally interested in people and was always helpful.”
As an SWBC graduate, he was very familiar with the college when he was offered a job. Attending Southwest Baptist College after graduating from high school was not optional for Harris, whose family moved to Bolivar in January 1943, during the middle of World War II, because his mother wanted all of her children to attend SWBC. Harris said the family left behind a nice farm in the Kansas City area of Jackson County, Mo., to move to Bolivar so he and his siblings could live at home while attending SWBC.
He started college during the summer of 1945 but was then drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1946. He served as a Regimental Control Sergeant in the Transportation Corps for one year, being discharged according to the newly enacted college clause that limited service to one year for anyone who was drafted out of college. He returned to SWBC for the spring and summer semesters of 1947, graduating that year with an associate of arts degree. He completed a bachelor of science in education with a major in math and a minor in biology from Southwest Missouri State University in 1949.
Harris taught math and science at Humansville High School in northwestern Polk County for two years before joining the SWBC faculty in 1952 while working on his master’s degree in mathematics, which he finished in 1953 at the University of Missouri. While he was teaching at Humansville, Dr. John Dowdy, president of SWBC, told him that if he finished his master’s degree he would have a job at SWBC.
“I found out later that my junior college math professor, J.F. Hurst, had requested that I take his place,” Harris said. “I’ve never had to ask for a job in my life.”
While teaching at Humansville, he married Zodee, who was the first full-time secretary at Bolivar First Baptist Church. They had three children: Susan, Steven and Joy.
Harris completed his doctorate 10 years after completing his master’s degree, about the time SWBC was transitioning from a junior to a senior college. At that time he was one of two professors to have a doctorate, the other being Dr. Jasper Clark, a biology professor. When SWBC became a senior college, Harris was promoted straight from instructor to professor. He later received the title of “Distinguished Professor.”
“I felt like the Lord called me to teach at SBU, just like he calls ministers,” Harris said. “I felt sure after Dr. Dowdy had invited me to teach that it was God’s will for me. When I first came to SBU, I told the Lord, ‘Send me students I can help.’ Notice I didn’t say send me good students; I said send me students I can help. It’s kind of like when King Solomon prayed and he said, ‘Lord, help me to have the wisdom to guide the Israelites’ and not only did he do that, but he gave him wealth besides. So the Lord, when I asked for students I can help, as a bonus he gave me outstanding students.”
Harris hired former students John Smashey and John Bryant to teach alongside him, and the trio taught math together at SBU for 23 years until Harris’ retirement in 1989. Smashey also has since retired, while Bryant is still on the math faculty and coaches men’s and women’s tennis, a job for which he was recommended by Harris.
“As the department chair, he arranged my class schedule in the mornings so I could work with tennis,” said Bryant, who took an algebra class with Harris in 1960 and returned to teach at SBU in 1966.
Harris hired his replacement, Dr. Kevin Hopkins, who filled the department of mathematics chair position. When Hopkins sent an inquiry letter in 1987 about any possible openings, expressing an interest in teaching at a small, Christian university, Harris decided it might be time to look at early retirement. Hopkins’ resumé was impressive, and his references were solid. But there was one line in that letter that really caught Harris’ attention: “I know a big school could pay me more money, but money isn’t everything.”
“I thought, ‘BINGO!” Harris recalls. “I thought the Lord was trying to tell me something. I felt we would never have another opportunity to have a Ph.D. at the head of the department, especially from one of the top math universities in the country. I checked on his credentials, and all the teachers that I talked to said he would be an outstanding candidate not only for our university, but for any university in the U.S. because he is a top student in his class and is very much respected.”
For Harris, early retirement meant an opportunity to do more of the Lord’s work, which he already had done for many years through involvement at Southern Hills Baptist Church and First Baptist Church.
“I prayed, ‘Lord, give me something worthwhile to do,’” he said. “So he gave me Polk County Christian Social Ministries with Share Your Christmas. I was one of the leaders for 25 years.”
PCCSM was a young ministry, having just started in 1985. Bev served as treasurer for more than 20 years and organized the Share Your Christmas project that now assists more than 600 families annually with donations of food, toys and other items at Christmas.
“I enjoy helping people,” Harris told the Bolivar Herald-Free Press in 2009. “It makes tears come to your eyes sometimes when you see a needy family and you’d like to help them but there’s just no way in the world to help them. I take that work very seriously.”
Also in his retirement, Bev became an avid tennis player, ranking second in the state of Missouri in the 65-year-old age bracket. He was the center on SWBC’s basketball team in the fall of 1947, and he was a scorekeeper at SBU men’s basketball games for 34 years. Even now, when he is not able to be as active, he enjoys watching sports on TV. One of his favorite SBU memories is when he saw the men’s tennis team win a national championship in Kansas City.
“Bev was devoted to his students, to the Bolivar community and mostly, to serving our Lord,” Bryant said. “He created math champions for years.”

Scholarship fund to honor Dr. Bev Harris’ legacy

In recognition of Dr. Bev Harris’ contributions to mathematics education during his 37-year tenure as department chair and faculty member in SBU’s Department of Mathematics, the Dr. Bev Harris Mathematics Education Scholarship Fund has been established.
Only two people have served as chairman of SBU’s Department of Mathematics during the past 62 years. Harris served from 1952-1989, when he hired Dr. Kevin Hopkins to teach and assume the department chair position, allowing Harris to take early retirement. Hopkins is still in that position and, 25 years later, has led efforts to establish the scholarship fund in recognition of Harris’ legacy at SBU and in the Bolivar community.
“When I came to SBU, I didn’t have any experience to have ideas about how to properly honor Dr. Harris’ years of service,” Hopkins said. “My mother passed away in September 2013, and I have thought much more about legacy (her legacy and the legacy of others) during the past few months since her passing. Now, even though it is 25 years after his retirement, seems an appropriate time to establish a scholarship fund that would honor and continue to recognize Dr. Harris’ legacy of service to the math department and to the Bolivar community, which he continued to serve faithfully in his retirement until health issues prevented him from continuing that service.”
Scholarships will be awarded with priority given to junior or senior level math education majors.
Through the years, many scholarship funds have been established in honor or in memory of SBU professors. Donations can be made to any of these funds through a check mailed to SBU, Att: University Relations, 1600 University Ave., Bolivar MO 65613, or online at and click on “Give online.” To find out which professors have been honored with scholarship funds, search the list of funds in the “Give online” section of the website or call (417) 328-1804.