Tag Archives: Alumni News

SBU graduates class of 2015 at three commencement ceremonies

Mikaela Schriver, athletic training major, receives her diploma from C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D., SBU president.

Mikaela Schriver, athletic training major, receives her diploma from C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D., SBU president.

Southwest Baptist University graduated 571 students at the spring commencement ceremonies held Thursday, May 14 and Saturday, May 16.

In addition to conferring degrees, various student and faculty honors were awarded.

Life Beautiful Awards

SBU faculty selected Renée Coleman and Taylor Qualls as the 2015 recipients of the Life Beautiful Awards.

Renée Coleman, computer science and mathematics major from Springfield, Mo., is the female recipient of the Life Beautiful Award. She is the daughter of Dr. Kelly and Kristin Coleman.

Renée Coleman, computer science and mathematics major from Springfield, Mo., is the female recipient of the Life Beautiful Award. She is the daughter of Dr. Kelly and Kristin Coleman.

Coleman was raised in Springfield, Mo., and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree, having double majored in computer science and mathematics. Among her various honors, she was recognized as a Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and received the James Frederick Hurst Memorial Mathematics Award. She was active on campus in many capacities, including serving as a Welcome Week small group leader and support staff chair and a tutor for mathematics, computer science and the writing center.

Coleman is the daughter of Dr. Kelly and Kristin Coleman. Dr. Coleman is an SBU faculty member in the department of physical therapy.

Taylor Qualls, psychology and Christian studies major from Lee’s Summit, Mo., is the male recipient of the Life Beautiful Award. He is the son of Michael and Rebecca Qualls.

Taylor Qualls, psychology and Christian studies major from Lee’s Summit, Mo., is the male recipient of the Life Beautiful Award. He is the son of Michael and Rebecca Qualls.

Qualls, son of Michael, a 1986 SBU graduate, and Rebecca Qualls, was raised in Lee’s Summit, Mo., and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts, having double majored in psychology and Christian studies. He served as vice president of Psi Chi, the international psychology honors society, and was a member of the Gordon and Judy Dutile Honors Program. He was recognized as a Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and was named the outstanding Christian ministry scholar.

Qualls has served on SBU mission trips to Spain and China with the Center for Global Connections, through which he will be leading an SBU mission trip to Georgia.

The award is given annually to an exceptional man and woman in SBU’s spring graduating class whose outstanding scholarship and character demonstrates that they live a “life beautiful.” SBU faculty selects the recipients, who are announced at commencement. The Life Beautiful Award was established in 1937 by Rosalee Mills Appleby, a career missionary to Brazil.

Dr. Craig Endres, chair of the department of biology and professor of biology, is the recipient of the Orien B. Hendrex faculty award.

Dr. Craig Endres, chair of the department of biology and professor of biology, is the recipient of the Orien B. Hendrex faculty award.

Orien B. Hendrex Award

The Orien B. Hendrex Award was presented to Dr. Craig Endres, chair of the department of biology and professor of biology. This honor is given 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 and music

Meagan R. Burns delivered the Bob R. Derryberry Senior Address, in which she encouraged students to strive to exceed the perceptions others have of their generation, as well as to approach challenges in their lives as opportunities to grow.

“Adversity teaches more lessons than the easy times ever can, and Scripture shows us this again and again,” she said, referencing Biblical figures like Job, who clung to the Lord’s faithfulness in spite of the suffering and trials that he was experiencing.

“History does not remember those who meet expectations,” she said. “Rather, it remembers those who surpass them.”

Violinist Elizabeth E. Caddy, who earned a bachelor of science in economics and finance, presented the senior music performance. Caddy performed “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken,” composed by Franz Haydn and arranged by Ken Lynch.

Retiring faculty and staff

Six retiring faculty members were recognized at the commencement ceremonies, including:

  • Pearlene Breshears, counselor and assistant professor of psychology;
  • Dr. Kathy Brown, professor of music;
  • Dr. William Brown, provost, professor of music and former dean of the Geneva Casebolt College of Music, Arts and Letters;
  • Dr. Delta Cavner, associate professor of education;
  • Dr. Dot Hash, professor of physical therapy and program director of the physical therapy department from 1994 to 2005; and
  • Dr. Jim Frost, professor of intercultural studies.

One staff member was recognized: Ron Maupin, vice president for administration and the University’s chief financial officer, who will retire July 31.

Commencement addresses

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt delivered the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony. Prior to being elected to the United States Senate in 2010, Blunt served as Missouri’s Secretary of State, in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as president of SBU from 1993 to 1996.

He challenged students to cherish and protect the American right to religious freedom, as well as to build their lives on Gospel truth. “Southwest Baptist University is a place where you come and learn not just how to make a living, but where you can come and learn how to live a life, and particularly to live that life on the life framework of the Gospel,” he said.

He also encouraged students to embrace the exciting time in which they are living and to look forward to all of the possibilities, opportunities and advancements that the future holds.

“I think that we live in a very exciting time,” he said. “Part of the excitement is that we can’t predicting what the world will look like in the next few decades, but it is a world that has lots of potential opportunities for us.”

The graduate ceremony commencement address was given by Dr. J. David Taylor, who graduated from SBU with a master of physical therapy in 1998 and currently serves as associate professor of physical therapy at University of Central Arkansas. In June, he will be joining the department of physical therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Taylor encouraged students to resolve to serve the Lord with their lives, citing the Biblical story of Ananias, who was called by God to minister to the Apostle Paul shortly after his remarkable conversion on the road to Damascus. “I have a meaningful question to ask of you: Are you prepared to serve God, and will you make the choice to serve God?” Taylor asked. “Your decision to serve God is indeed your choice.”

“Do not allow the things of your past to stop you from serving God,” Taylor said. “Look ahead, not back.”

From SBU Life magazine: A Heart for Missions in Africa

This week, we have shared stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Jason ’95, ’97 and Dorothea ’97 (McGlaughlin) Lee

Jason: B.S. in History and Political Science, M.S. in Education

Dorothea: B.M. in Church Music

By Charlotte Highsmith Marsch ’97

 

With hearts for ministry and a call to international missions, Jason and Dorothea Lee’s ministry has taken hold in Africa. Currently in Kenya, where they have been since 2012, the Lees previously served in Senegal, West Africa.

Jason and Dorothea met at SBU, and after they both graduated in 1997, they headed to Fort Worth, Texas, where Jason taught and coached in area school districts while Dorothea completed a master of music degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. They served in ministry positions — Jason as youth minister and Dorothea as minister of music — at First Baptist Church, Highlands, Texas, before moving overseas, where they are fulfilling God’s call on their lives and raising their three children: Janet, 16; Jacqueline, 15; and Jacob, 10.

Dorothea - in Kenya teaching at a church music  workshopAs an ethnomusicologist, Dorothea studies the music of African culture.

“Using music as a strategy for church planting, I help Africans determine what music can be redeemed from the culture and used in the church for worship, discipleship and evangelism,” Dorothea said. “I do this by hosting songwriting workshops. National musicians study certain scripture passages and then create new songs based on their own rhythms, melodies, dances that are based on that scripture.”

Jason is teaching in Nairobi at Rosslyn Academy, a Christian international school with students from more than 60 countries. Though it was originally started as a school for missionary kids, it now hosts students from all over the world from nearly every religious background.

“It is an exciting ministry opportunity for teachers who wish to freely incorporate their faith in Christ with students who may very well only hear the Gospel while living in Kenya,” Dorothea said.

International mission trips and revival teams had the greatest impact on her life, Dorothea said, teaching her about the sacrifice of time and finances for serving the Lord. God began opening her heart to missions after a trip to China with the SBU Chorale in 1994.

“It was during a Chorale tour that God called me to international missions,” she said. “Surrounded by students who were following Christ and professors who both taught and lived out the lordship of Christ, SBU was the ideal place for me to begin to take hold of my own faith. I look at what many of my college mates are doing now and see that SBU was foundational — even essential — in laying the groundwork for those basic habits of discipline and service to Christ.”

Jason said he learned servant leadership through service and leadership opportunities such as serving in Student Government Association, leading a Bible study and being a resident assistant in a residence hall.

“All of those opportunities helped me develop a servant heart and a desire to live out a lifestyle that honors God,” he said. “SBU is full of people who live a servant lifestyle as an example for students to follow.”

The opportunity that changed his life forever, though, was international trips.

“Growing up in a small Texas town, my worldview was limited and definitely didn’t include a heart for the nations,” he said. “SBU University Missions was the catalyst that allowed me to dream what God could do if I allow him to lead me.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

From SBU Life magazine: A Full-Circle Calling

This week, we continue sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Ina York ’82

B.S. Elementary Education and currently serving as project facilitator of The Cercadillo Project, Dominican Republic (cercadillo.org)

By Stephanie Benoit

When Ina York, 55, describes her role at The Cercadillo Project, the ministry she founded in the Dominican Republic in 2007, she hesitates to call herself its director or administrator.

“I guess I do a little bit of everything,” Ina said. “I’m here to serve these people, whether that means planning or picking up trash. I think leading just happens to be how God’s using me now.”

Ina York, the project facilitator of The Cercadillo Project in the Dominican Republic.

Ina York, the project facilitator of The Cercadillo Project in the Dominican Republic.

The path that brought Ina to the Dominican Republic included two years at Hannibal-LaGrange University, followed by two at Southwest Baptist University, where she studied education. Afterward, she taught in a variety of settings, including at a South Korean school for missionaries’ children, and shortly thereafter earned a master’s in education at University of Iowa.

Ina taught for several more years, and at the close of each one felt a tug on her heart to embrace full-time missions. “I would think, ‘Should I renew my contract, or is this the year that I go somewhere and do missions,’” Ina said. “I felt very torn between the two worlds.”

It was around this time that a mission trip led by a friend first brought Ina to the Dominican Republic. “I was overwhelmed by the poverty, [but] also the opportunities to do ministry,” Ina explained. “There seemed to be a real hunger.”

Not long after, Ina was called to the town of Cercadillo, where she began a ministry offering everything from Bible studies to health programs to educational activities emphasizing literacy and assisting nearby schools. “[We] help people learn to read so they can read the Bible as much as possible,” Ina said. “We do a lot to encourage education and support the local public school.”

Ina was equipped well for the work by SBU’s education department and its instructors like Dr. Twila Smith. “I remember her saying, ‘We’re not teachers who happen to be Christians; we’re Christians who happen to be teachers,’” Ina said. “So wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, we have opportunities to influence those around us.”

In the coming years, Ina hopes to continue caring for Cercadillo, a community that God prepared her long in advance to serve. “God gave me the vision for this ministry,” she said. “I believe I was born for this time, this place and this village.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

From SBU Life magazine: A ‘God-Sized’ Story

This week, we continue sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Paul May ’96

B.A. Religious Education

Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. and founder of Clear Vision Ministry (www.clearvisiondrama.com)

By Charlotte Highsmith Marsch ’97

 

Paul May had no plans to attend college, especially not at SBU. He calls his journey to SBU a “God-sized story.”

“It was a divine appointment,” Paul said. “I didn’t orchestrate or plan any of it.”

Paul grew up in the small town of Weaubleau, Mo., about 30 minutes north of Bolivar, where he attended church and had become a Christian, but did not grow up in a Christian home.

One week before classes were to start for the fall semester, he was at SBU with a friend who was completing some paperwork when Rob Harris, the current vice president of student development, who worked in admissions at that time, shared with him how he could attend college at SBU. A week later, Paul began classes.

A skit performed during Welcome Week by a student-led group called TEAM (Theatrical Evangelism and Missions) made him want to be a part of the traveling drama troupe.

“I knew nothing about drama and didn’t make the team,” he said of his first audition during his freshman year. “But the next semester, I auditioned again and made it. I was the only guy who tried out, and they needed a guy.”

The group’s leader graduated and Paul took over leadership during his sophomore year.

Through that group, Paul witnessed Christian conversions within his family when the group performed at his home church. His sister, who was in middle school, and his mother both attended the service.

“I got to lead out in the invitation. My sister raised her hand, and I got to lead her to the Lord,” Paul said. “I also got to lead my mom to the Lord. That was the stamp that what I was doing with drama ministry is what God was leading me to do with my life.”

Paul also went on three mission trips while at SBU to Jamaica, India and Haiti. It was during the Haiti trip that he met his wife, Christy Ward ’96. They now have two sons, ages 12 and 8.

Paul May ’96, the Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. and founder of Clear Vision Ministry.

Paul May ’96, the Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. and founder of Clear Vision Ministry.

After they graduated from SBU, Paul wanted to continue drama ministry, but the Lord directed him first to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and complete a master’s degree in communications to lay the groundwork for what would become a full-time drama ministry called Clear Vision Drama Co.

Formed in 1999 and based out of Springfield, Mo., to be in a central U.S. location near family, the original Clear Vision Drama team was all SBU graduates who had been part of TEAM at SBU. Paul and Christy began substitute teaching to help subsidize the ministry and give them the flexibility to travel the country using drama as a tool for evangelism and discipleship. By the third year, the Mays were in full-time drama ministry.

As children came along, they continued their ministry, traveling more than 200 days a year as a family in a conversion van, eventually upgrading to a tour bus. The team ministers at events such as conventions, conferences and camps.

Once their children started school, they started to scale back the ministry, but it still continues on a part-time basis. Paul’s job as Student Life Director at Baptist Bible College in Springfield is flexible enough to allow him to continue occasional travel for events. The majority of the drama ministry now is at summer youth camps, with the kids traveling, too, thanks to God’s calling for him to attend SBU and join a drama ministry.

“The number of opportunities available at SBU was key for me,” he said. “SBU was pivotal for my spiritual pilgrimage.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

From SBU Life magazine: Fulfilling a Long-Held Dream

This week, we continue sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Angela (Parker) Collins, M.D. ’99

B.S. Biology and Chemistry, and currently serving as a pediatrician at Butterfield Park Pediatrics, Bolivar, Mo.

By Charlotte Highsmith Marsch ’97

Having grown up in the small town of Raymondville, Mo., (population 362), Angela (Parker) Collins had big aspirations — to become a pediatrician — but also a desire to work in a smaller community.

“I’ve always loved science and always loved learning,” Angela said. “When I took the ASVAB test, it suggested physician as a possible field. My dad suggested I would make a good pediatrician.” The idea stuck, and Angela started down that career path.

Angela Collins, M.D., an SBU alum and current pediatrician in Bolivar

Angela Collins, M.D., an SBU alum and current pediatrician in Bolivar

Nearly 20 years later, Angela Collins, M.D., is a pediatrician in Bolivar, just minutes from the SBU campus where she completed a double major in biology and chemistry in 1999 before attending medical school at the University of Missouri.

After completing her medical degree in 2003 and residency in 2006, Angela returned close to home, working at the Family Walk-In Clinic in Mountain Grove, Mo., where she was the only pediatrician in the county.

When Angela saw a job posting last year for a pediatrician in Bolivar, she and her husband, Ken, already knew the community and knew it would be a good fit for them and their three children: Aubrey, 10; Ashlyn, 7; and Zachariah, 2.

“I love my job,” she said. “I love seeing those cute kids and being able to keep them healthy and help them get healthy again.”

In addition to working as a physician, Angela also is involved with a local church and likes to travel.

When selecting a college, Angela said she wanted a Christian environment and wanted to stay fairly close to home. Her mom had graduated from SBU’s Mountain View campus, and SBU offered good scholarships.

“I felt that was where the Lord wanted me to go,” she said. “The academics certainly prepared me well. Spiritually, coming to SBU firmed up my faith, and my teachers were good inspirations.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

From SBU Life magazine: Faithful to God’s Calling

This week and next, we will be sharing stories of SBU alumni who are living out the university’s mission to be servant leaders in a global society. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of SBU Life magazine. To read recent issues of SBU Life, please visit http://www.sbuniv.edu/Alumni/SBULife/index.html.


Amy-Jo (Morgan) Girardier ’00

B.A. Religious Education, and currently serving as Girls Minister and Student Missions Coordinator at Brentwood Baptist Church near Nashville, Tenn.

By Charlotte Highsmith Marsch ’97

Being faithful to God’s calling to work in girls’ ministry and missions, Amy-Jo Girardier has served in these fields in full-time church ministry for 13 years and recently authored a Bible study series written for teen girls that was published by Lifeway Christian Resources, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services.

The “Faithful One: A Study on 1st and 2nd Thessalonians” Bible study was released in May 2014 alongside Beth Moore’s study of those New Testament books, “Children of the Day.” She said the study is a deep study of the Bible and includes social media components, through which she has connected with girls who have completed the study.

“It has been amazing connecting with girls and leaders across the country,” she said. “It’s fun to see how they are learning from the study.”

Amy-Jo (Morgan) Girardier with her husband, Darrel, and their 3-year-old son, Scout.

Amy-Jo (Morgan) Girardier with her husband, Darrel, and their 3-year-old son, Scout.

During summers while in college, Amy-Jo worked for LifeWay’s Centrifuge camps, which is where she met her husband, Darrel, when he was leading the “For Guys Only” class and she was leading the “For Girls Only” class.

Their summer experiences eventually led them to Nashville for Darrel to work for Centrifuge camps, while Amy spent two years organizing the national Acteens convention in Nashville before beginning her current position at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn. Darrel and Amy-Jo have a son, Scout, who is 3.

God used Amy-Jo’s time at SBU not only for her to receive an education but to further solidify a calling for which he started preparing her when she was in high school and involved in Acteens, a girls’ missions group.

“I knew I loved missions and specifically ministering to girls,” Amy-Jo said. “First Baptist Church in Bolivar asked me to work with Acteens at the church, and that solidified girls’ ministry and missions for me.”

Amy-Jo also was on the women’s soccer team at SBU and found herself in a position to minister to her teammates.

“God led me to pray for them, pray for relationships,” she said. “Some Friday nights I walked the soccer field. I was praying for our teammates. It shaped me for understanding God’s calling. I consider my time with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and my time with the women’s soccer team to have honed and shaped my calling to girls’ ministry.”

After a mission trip to southeast Asia during a sabbatical in 2008, God renewed Amy-Jo’s calling to girls’ ministry by calling her to equip other church ministers and moms. She started a blog at girlsminister.com, where she shares ideas and insights for girls’ ministers, and started a girls’ minister network. To her surprise, she quickly connected with at least 100 other women who were wanting to have conversations about girls’ ministry.

“It just started growing,” Amy-Jo said, “and I kind of became seen as an expert in girls’ ministry.”

Looking back, Amy-Jo said God definitely used her time at SBU to prepare her for the Lord’s ministry of encouraging and teaching people around the world.

“I’ve seen a lot of Christian and secular universities,” she said, “but I really know beyond a shadow of a doubt that SBU was the right place for me.”


Want to pitch a story for SBU Life magazine? Please submit ideas to Stephanie Benoit at sbenoit@sbuniv.edu.

Little sisters chosen for SBU Homecoming

2014 Homecoming Little Sisters (l to r): Shekinah Lentz, K’Lea Eddins, Livvy Garrison, Alexa Aldridge, Esther Lu, Kylie Cossins, Aileen Siegfried

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. 4. The girls are the daughters or granddaughters of SBU employees.

Alexa Aldridge is the daughter of Barbara Lee and Michael Aldridge and the granddaughter of Bobbie and Linda Gothard. Alexa is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be a princess, teacher, or dancer.

Kylie Cossins is the daughter of Tim and Jana Cossins. Kylie is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be a teacher.

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

Livvy Garrison is the daughter of Don and Marketa Garrison. Livvy is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be a mom.

Shekinah Lentz is the daughter of Dr. Chuck and Michelle Lentz. Shekinah is in second grade and when she grows up she wants to be a teacher.

Esther Lu is the daughter of Dr. Baochuan Lu and Jianpu Wang. Esther is in kindergarten and when she grows up she wants to be a ballerina.

Aileen Siegfried is the daughter of Dr. Dennis and Meiling Siegfried. Aileen is in first grade and when she grows up she wants to be a teacher.

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

Homecoming queen candidates and princesses selected

2014 Homecoming Court (l to r): queen candidate Julie McGlaughlin, queen candidate Kayla Bobeen, queen candidate Madison Wertz, queen candidate Kat Graham, junior princess Grace Hotchkiss, queen candidate Corbin Mabe, freshman princess Stephanie Davis, sophomore princess Sierra Massing

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. 4.

Kayla Bobeen is a senior elementary education major from Troy, Mo. She is the daughter of Tracy and Kay Bobeen. After graduation in December, Kayla plans to pursue a career in teaching.

Kat Graham is a senior physical education major from Carlinville, Ill. She is the daughter of Gary and Jill Graham. Kat is still considering her post-graduation plans.

Corbin Mabe is a senior athletic training major from Lubbock, Texas. She is the daughter of Toni and Cristi Mabe. After graduation, Corbin hopes to travel somewhere she hasn’t been before and work as an athletic trainer. She is also considering pursuing graduate school in nutrition.

Julie McGlaughlin is a senior web systems and design major from East Moline, Ill. She is the daughter of James and Rhonda McGlaughlin. Julie currently serves as the SBU Student Association president and is considering her post-graduation plans.

Madison Wertz is a senior public relations major from Louisburg, Kan. She is the daughter of Todd and Kristin Wertz. After graduation in December, Madison will be getting married and pursuing a job in public relations.

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

Stephanie Davis is a freshman elementary education major from Bolivar, Mo. She is the daughter of Steve and Donna Davis.

Sierra Massing is a sophomore public relations and marketing major from Overland Park, Kan. She is the daughter of Ted and Julie Massing.

Grace Hotchkiss is a junior exercise science major from St. Louis, Mo. She is the daughter of Jay and Cheryl Hotchkiss.

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

SBU to award alumni honors during Homecoming

Homecoming festivities at Southwest Baptist University will begin with Honors Chapel at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in Pike Auditorium, when five alumni will be recognized for living lives of service.

Alumni Life Service Awards

Inspired by the Life Beautiful Award presented each year to one male and one female graduate, President John Dowdy suggested to the Southwest Baptist College Board of Trustees in 1955 that the Life Service Award be given annually to graduates whose lives have exemplified the principles which are upheld at Southwest. The award is the highest recognition that the University can bestow upon an alumnus or alumna. This year’s four recipients are:

Betty Clark will receive a Life Service Award posthumously from SBU.

Betty Clark will receive a Life Service Award posthumously from SBU.

• Betty Clark ’47: Clark’s ministries included being a hospice volunteer, English as a Second Language tutor, Chamber of Commerce volunteer, church organist for 50 years, Sunday school teacher and WMU member.

The Clarks were appointed by the Foreign Mission Board in 1952 and served together in Venezuela until Clyde’s death in 1956. After a furlough, Betty returned in 1957 with her two young children to Venezuela and taught health and music classes in the seminary there until 1961. However, because of political unrest in the country, it became unsafe for Betty and her children to stay in Venezuela. They returned to the states and she worked as a nurse in a local doctor’s office for 30 years.

“Southwest Baptist had a big impact in the training for my life’s vocation,” she wrote after being notified about receiving the award. “I continued my education at Mather School of Nursing in New Orleans and received my R.N. degree. While at Southwest Baptist I made many lifelong friends as well as meeting my husband, Clyde Clark.”

She and her husband, the late Clyde Clark ’47, had two children, Mark Alan Clark and Rebecca Lou (Clark) Rutledge, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Family members will be present to accept the award posthumously for Mrs. Clark, who passed away recently.

Sondra Mahoney, SBU Life Service Award recipient

Sondra Mahoney, SBU Life Service Award recipient

• Sondra (Isenburg) Mahoney ’62: Mahoney was an elementary school teacher in the Cabool School District for six years and the Mountain Grove School District for 24 years. She is a member of First Baptist Church, Mountain Grove, where she serves as WMU director and Sunday school teacher, serves on the Pastor Search Committee, participates in the choir and serves as Associate Executive Board Member.

“I am so grateful to SBU for the foundation it provided to learn leadership skills,” she wrote. “I was taught Christian values. I desired to follow the examples set forth by the faculty. The SBU family became my family. Many of my classmates have remained lifelong friends.”

Mahoney lives in Mountain Grove, Mo.

Herbert Pedersen, SBU Life Service Award recipient

Herbert Pedersen, SBU Life Service Award recipient

• Herbert Pedersen ’66, ’68: Pedersen has served in the ministry for 50 years and is current and founding pastor of Longbranch Community Baptist Church in Midlothian, Texas. He is an adjunct professor and director of the Ph.D. Internship Program at Dallas Baptist University. He has M.Div. and D.Min. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

“My wife, Barbara, who was also a student at SWBC, and I grew to love this University and the wonderful, godly people who taught and served here,” he wrote. “I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without this relationship with SBU.”

Herbert and his wife, Barbara (Holman) ’67, live in Midlothian, Texas, and have three daughters, Rhonda Denise Bailey, Angela Gail Cagle and Elizabeth Ann Savage.

Stephen Whisler, SBU Life Service Award recipient

Stephen Whisler, SBU Life Service Award recipient

• Stephen Whisler ’71: Whisler composed “SBU, Our Alma Mater” in 1981. He served as a faculty member in the SBU Department of Music from 1976 to 1981 and served as SBU’s Director of Alumni/Planned Giving from 1989-2010. Whisler also has served more than 25 churches in southwest Missouri as the interim minister of music and currently attends Second Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., where he is an executive staff member and a former deacon and former choir member.

“While I am deeply grateful for being selected by the SBU National Alumni Board, I must express my thanks to the late Dr. Ellen Bell who nominated me,” Whisler wrote. “My being selected is a tribute to those beloved and godly people through whom the Lord has worked to mold and shape me through their lasting influences. So as I boast about them, I’m boasting about the Lord.”

Stephen and his wife, Barbara (Field) ’72, live in Springfield, Mo., and have two children, Mark Whisler ’01 and Suzanne (Whisler) Norman, and five grandchildren.

 

Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni Award

The Alumni Association presents the Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni Award annually to an alumnus or alumna who demonstrates the ideals personified by the late Edwin Lightfoot ’40. The award criteria include alumni leadership in the University, dedication to the education and welfare of youth, and demonstrated support for SBU.

Patricia Betteridge, recipient of SBU’s Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni

Patricia Betteridge, recipient of SBU’s Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni

Patricia Betteridge ’51: Patricia taught high school art, photography and humanities for 25 years. She served as president of Independence Art Association for two years and was in charge of Summit Art Scholarships for Blue Springs Art League for four years. She is a member of Greater Kansas City Art Association, Blue Springs Art League, Summit Art and Independence Art Association. In 2012, she received the President’s Award from Cultured Arts Coalition.

“I am very thankful for the wonderful Christian atmosphere, the dedicated faculty and the precious friendships formed on this campus,” she wrote. “The music program was especially important to me. I have fond memories of practicing with the quartet/octet every day preparing for the special experience of performing and traveling.”

Patricia and her husband Bill ’49 live in Independence, Mo., and have a daughter, Toni Pine.

Save the date for SBU Homecoming Oct. 3 and 4

Southwest Baptist University alumni and friends will celebrate Homecoming Friday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 4, on the Bolivar campus.

“We are excited to once again host our alumni for a fun weekend of Homecoming activities,” said Holly Stockard, director of alumni engagement. “We also want to invite everyone in Bolivar and Polk County to join us for the parade and football game on Saturday.”

Saturday’s events will include an alumni breakfast at 8:30 a.m., parade at 10 a.m., Bearcat Bash at 11 a.m. and Bearcat football and queen coronation at 2 p.m. The Bearcat Bash, a family friendly event with food and activities, is free for alumni who register by Wednesday, Sept. 17.

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 Betty Clark ’47, Sondra Isenburg Mahoney ’62; Hebert Pedersen ’66 and ’68 and Stephen Whisler ’71. Patricia Betteridge ’51 will receive the Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni Award.

The 50-Year Club luncheon is at 11:30 a.m., with the classes of ’54 and ’64 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.

To register for Homecoming, go to www.SBUniv.edu/alumni/homecoming. For more information, call Stockard at (417) 328-1806.