Tag Archives: Alumni News

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.”

Stockard selected as new director of alumni engagement at SBU

Holly Stockard ’08 will serve SBU as the next director of alumni engagement.

Holly Stockard ’08 will serve SBU as the next director of alumni engagement.

Holly Stockard ’08 will serve Southwest Baptist University as the new director of alumni engagement. Stockard graduated from SBU in 2008 with a B.A. in Communication. After graduating, Stockard began to work for SBU in the department of university relations where she has been responsible for SBU’s annual giving and foundation relations programs.

“We are pleased that Holly will be taking leadership of this important function within the greater University community,” said Dr. Brad Johnson, vice president for university relations. “Holly has a great vision for the alumni program that will involve working with faculty, staff and current students to build upon the good work of the past and expand the University’s involvement with all of our SBU/SWBC alumni.”

According to Johnson, Stockard has worked closely with the alumni office assisting with many of the day-to-day planning and activities over the past several years, which prepares her to be ready to step into this position.

“Holly has represented SBU well for many years from her time as a student to serving as the director of annual giving and foundation relations,” said Dr. C. Pat Taylor, president of Southwest Baptist University. “I am excited to see her take on this new responsibility and I look forward to what she will do to increase our alumni engagement.”

Stockard is excited to transition into this new role at SBU and hopes to bring new growth to the alumni program.

“From the valuable education I received at SBU to the lifelong friends I have made to the numerous donors and alumni I have had the opportunity to meet over the past six years, SBU is a very special place to me,” she said. “I am looking forward to growing our alumni program, building traditions and working with our future alumni currently on campus. God is doing amazing things at SBU and I feel blessed to be even a small part of it.”

Stockard will begin her new role effective June 1. For more information about university relations, please contact Johnson at (417) 328-1805 or bjohnson@SBUniv.edu.

Little sisters chosen for SBU Homecoming

Southwest Baptist University has selected the “little sisters” for this year’s Homecoming. Each girl will escort a queen or princess candidate during the Homecoming parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. The girls are the daughters or granddaughters of SBU employees.

Jaylee Bryant is the daughter of Robbie and Julie Bryant. Jaylee is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to “be a momma or a princess.”

Hannah Dixon is the daughter of David and Andrea Dixon and the granddaughter of Tommy and Cecilia Dixon. Hannah is in first grade and when she grows up she wants to be a veterinarian.

K’Lea Eddins is the daughter of Bobby and Melanie Palma and the granddaughter of Chong Campbell. K’Lea is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be a ballet dancer.

Riley Farris is the daughter of Darren and Melanie Farris. Riley is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be a soccer and basketball player for SBU.

Aubri Hollis is the daughter of Rayden and Sarah Hollis and granddaughter of Tom and Jerry Hollis. Aubri is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be “a good mommy.”

Jillian Horner is the daughter of Drs. Doug and Jana Horner and granddaughter of John and Dr. Judy Bryant. Jillian is in preschool and when she grows up she wants to be a veterinarian.

Elle Johnson is the daughter of Dr. Brad and Laura Johnson. Elle is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be “either a princess or a doctor for people, animals and toys.”

Addison Meadows is the daughter of Dan and Jodi Meadows. Addison is in first grade and when she grows up she wants to be an artist.

Aileen Siegfried is the daughter of Dennis and Meiling Siegfried. Aileen is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be a gymnast or doctor.

For more information about SBU Homecoming, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (417) 328-1806.

Homecoming queen candidates and princesses selected

Southwest Baptist University students have nominated five seniors as Homecoming Queen candidates. These candidates have been selected by their peers and the winning Queen will be announced at halftime of the homecoming football game Saturday, Oct. 5.

Elizabeth Busby is a senior elementary education major from Jenks, Okla. She is the daughter of Wilson and Janet Busby. After graduation Elizabeth plans to pursue a career in teaching.

Karen Fackler is a senior athletic training major from Troy, Mo. She is the daughter of Ervin Fackler. After graduation Karen plans to attend graduate school at SBU for her doctor of physical therapy.

Katelyn Hicks is a senior music education major from Springfield, Mo. She is the daughter of Jeff and Darla Hicks. After graduation Katelyn plans to become an elementary school music teacher.

Katie Kestner is a senior exercise science major from Springfield, Ill. She is the daughter of Doug and Linda Kestner. After graduation Katie will attend graduate school at SBU to pursue her doctor of physical therapy.

Katelynn Zuercher is a senior marketing and public relations major from Olathe, Kan. She is the daughter of Ray and Janell Zuercher. After graduation Katelynn will be seeking employment in the marketing and public relations field and also hopes to travel the world.

In addition, class princesses have been chosen by their peers for the freshman, sophomore and junior classes.

Makenzie Skupa is a freshman commercial art major from Campbell, Neb. She is the daughter of Steve and Jenny Skupa.

Savannah Hoye is a sophomore exercise science major from Atlantic, Iowa. She is the daughter of Joe and Galynn Hoye.

Sarah Doell is a junior biology and integration of science and Christian faith major from Pacific, Mo. She is the daughter of Greg and Perri Doell.

For more information about SBU Homecoming, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (417) 328-1806.

Save the date for SBU Homecoming Oct. 4 and 5

Save the date for SBU Homecoming Oct. 4 and 5

Community groups, businesses can still register parade floats

Southwest Baptist University alumni and friends will celebrate “100 Years of Purple” during Homecoming festivities Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, on the Bolivar campus.

As always, Saturday’s events will include an alumni breakfast at 8:30 a.m., parade at 10 a.m. and Bearcat football and queen coronation at 2 p.m. A new event is the Bearcat Bash, a family friendly event with food and activities that is free for alumni who register by Thursday, Sept. 19.

While students celebrate Homecoming with Spirit Chapel, bed races and more, alumni will begin the celebration with Honors Chapel at 10 a.m. Friday. Life Service Awards will be given to Rebecca Pennel Young ’53, Wendell Williams ’60, Shirley Carril Kurre ’61 and Bette Hall Moeller ’69. Charlie Campbell ’53 will receive the Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni Award.

The 50-Year Club luncheon is at 11:30 a.m., with the classes of ’53 and ’63 meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. The alumni banquet is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. with an alumni dessert reception at 8.

The colors purple and white were first used by Southwest Baptist University Sept. 25, 1913, to recruit students for Southwest Baptist College. The college reopened in the fall of 1913 after being closed from 1910-1913 to regain financial solvency and to recover from a devastating fire that destroyed the college’s only building.

“Please come join us as we celebrate 100 Years of Purple,” said Lindsay Schindler, director of alumni relations. “We are looking forward to welcoming our alumni back to campus and encourage the community to join us, especially for the parade and football game on Saturday.”

“We still have space for floats in the Homecoming parade,” said Nate Penland, director of student activities. “There is no cost, and it is a great way for any business or organization to gain exposure among SBU students and the Bolivar community.”

To register a parade float or register for Homecoming activities, go to www.SBUniv.edu/Alumni or call Lindsay Schindler at (417) 328-1806.

SBU alum named MSCPA Student of the Year

Caleb Harris has been named the 2012-2013 Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) Student of the Year. Harris graduated from Southwest Baptist University in 2013 with a B.S. in Accounting and Economics/Finance. Harris was the October 2012 MSCPA Student of the Month, a four-time MSCPA scholarship recipient and a Don Breimeier award recipient.

While at SBU, Harris excelled in the classroom and was a highly respected student leader. Harris was a member of the SBU Enactus (formerly SIFE) team and helped with the team’s fundraising efforts. He was also greatly involved with the Student Association, serving as freshman class president, senator, student body vice president and vice president of organization empowerment. Additionally, Harris was the president of Delta Mu Delta (business honor society) and treasurer of Phi Eta Sigma (academic honor society). Harris was an active member of the Accounting Club, Institute for Management Accountants, SBU Honors Program, and University Ambassadors and was a campus tour guide.

Harris made a significant impact at SBU. “Caleb has been an exceptional leader at SBU,” said Wayne Clark, CPA, SBU’s accounting department chair. “He has always looked for new ways to expand his knowledge of the accounting and business world. Caleb is interested in finding ways to do things smarter and better, which will be a valuable asset to his future clients.”

Since graduation, Harris has begun work as a staff auditor for BKD, LLP in Springfield, Mo. BKD, LLP is the 12th-largest CPA firm in the U.S. He has also completed the CPA examination with one of the highest scores in the nation, with an average score of 96.25 on the four-part exam.

For more information about SBU’s accounting program, please contact Wayne Clark at (417) 328-1951.



SBU alumna featured in upcoming movie, ‘Seasons of Gray’

Southwest Baptist University alumna Megan (Parker) Wilson will be featured in an upcoming film, “Seasons of Gray,” set to be released to theaters in September.

“Seasons of Gray” is the inaugural production of Watermark Films, which is the feature film ministry of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. The film will be distributed by EchoLight Studios, which produces and distributes high-quality movies for families of faith. “Seasons of Gray” is a modern-day retelling of the biblical story of Joseph with a strong storyline of forgiveness and God’s providence. The official trailer for the film can be found online at www.seasonsofgray.com.

Wilson graduated from SBU in 2009 with a bachelor of arts in Speech Communication and Theatre. While at SBU she performed in “Everyman,” “The Triangle Factory Fire Project,” “Last Train to Nibroc,” “Little Women” (Amy), and “Fiddler on the Roof” (Yente). She was also the student director for “The Burial at Thebes.” Wilson received a nomination for the Irene Ryan acting scholarship for her performance as Amy in “Little Women.”

During the 2009 spring semester, Wilson participated in the Los Angeles Film Studies Center through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities’ Best Semester program. While in LA she interned at 20th Century Fox Feature Casting Office. Wilson had a small role in “Aliens in the Attic,” which filmed during her semester at LAFSC.

Wilson is grateful for her experiences at SBU and says, “The SBU Theatre program taught me that we don’t have to sacrifice quality for Christianity. As believers, we should be the best storytellers in the realm of fine art; after all, we have the greatest story to tell.”

Meg married Nathan Wilson after graduation from SBU. They live in Dallas and are involved with local theatre, film and television opportunities. Meg currently serves as the Speech Communications Studies Director at Prestonwood Christian Academy, is a middle school theatre teacher and also teaches at Genesis Children’s Theatre.

For more information about SBU’s Theatre program, please contact Elissa Sartwell, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication arts-theatre and director of SBU Theatre, at (417) 328-1688.