Southwest Baptist University will formalize its fifth academic chair and award two honorary doctorates during the annual Founders’ Day chapel at 10 a.m. Monday, March 10, in Pike Auditorium.
“We sincerely appreciate Al and Rosemary McCord for their generous donation to establish the Courts Redford Chair of Biblical Studies,” said Dr. C. Pat Taylor, SBU president. “We also are pleased to be able to honor two of our alumni who have made significant contributions in business and military service. Please join us for Founders’ Day as we recognize these individuals who truly are servant leaders in a global society.”
Endowed chair funded by Al and Rosemary McCord
Dr. Rodney Reeves
An endowed chair honors and recognizes distinguished faculty members while providing
invaluable financial resources to support salary, research, and teaching or service activities. To date, SBU has five endowed chairs. The minimum threshold to establish an endowed chair is $250,000, but the corpus must reach $500,000 before the chair is fully funded.
A donation from Al and Rosemary (Redford) McCord has established the Courts Redford Chair of Biblical Studies. Rosemary is the daughter of Dr. Courts and Ruth Redford. Dr. Redford served as the 15th president of Southwest Baptist College from 1930-43, shepherding the college through the difficult financial times of the Depression.
Rodney Reeves, Ph.D., ’79, professor of biblical studies and dean of The Courts Redford College
of Theology and Ministry, will be honored by being named to the new academic chair position.
Honorary doctorates to Gilmore, Rohrs
Col. Chaplain Gary D. Gilmore ’79 of Mt. Vernon, Mo., is senior chaplain in the Missouri National Guard, supervising all Army and Air National Guard Chaplains and eight seminarian chaplain candidates. Chaplain Gilmore is a recipient of the Bronze Star and other numerous awards. His wife, Susan, and their three children are also SBU graduates. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Theology.
Alvin Rohrs ’79 of Dunnegan, Mo., is president and CEO of Enactus (formerly known as SIFE), with world headquarters in Springfield, Mo. Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. Prior to his work with Enactus, Rohrs served SBU as director of the Gene Taylor National Free Enterprise Center. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Business.
Founders’ Day chapel is open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Brad Johnson, vice president of university relations, at (417) 328-1805.
Honorary doctorate bios
COL (CH) GARY DOUGLAS GILMORE ’79
COL (CH) Gary D. Gilmore of Mount Vernon was born in
Pipestone, Mo., but spent most of his “growing up years” in the Kansas City area. Called to vocational ministry while in high school, he prepared to serve others by obtaining a bachelor of arts degree from SBU in 1979 and a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1983.
Chaplain Gilmore has served and pastored churches in Weatherford, Texas, and the communities of Deepwater, Waverly and Mount Vernon in Missouri. Gilmore has also served on the Executive Board of the Missouri Baptist Convention and two terms as a trustee at Southwest Baptist University.
While pastoring in Waverly, Chaplain Gilmore wrestled with a decision to pursue a doctor of ministry degree or to join the Missouri Army National Guard. Seeking a way to broaden his ministry with the skills he had, he joined the Guard by direct commission on Nov. 7, 1987, and served as the Assistant DISCOM Chaplain in Lexington. His Guard career includes service to the 735th Main Support Battalion, the 35th Aviation Brigade and eventually to serve as the Joint Forces Headquarters Chaplain for the Missouri Guard. He has deployed to Panama on two occasions, was called to State Emergency Duty after the Pierce City tornado in 2003, served a year with Task Force Redleg as a part of Operation Noble Eagle, mobilized on Active Duty to Fort Leonard Wood, serving as the Garrison Chaplain, and went to Baghdad with the 35th Engineer Brigade in 2007. He is currently the senior chaplain in the state, supervising all Army and Air National Guard chaplains and eight seminarian chaplain candidates.
Chaplain Gilmore is a recipient of the Bronze Star and other numerous awards. His military education includes the Chaplain Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff Officer Courses, the Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Course and, most recently, the Chaplain Colonel Course. He is in the process of completing a doctor of ministry at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City.
Gary has been married to his high school sweetheart for 34 years. His wife, Susan, a member of the SBU Board of Trustees, teaches third grade at Mount Vernon Intermediate School. Together, they are the proud parents of three daughters: Amy, the student activities director at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City; Abbey, a high school English teacher in Buffalo and Amanda, enrolled in the SBU doctor of physical therapy program. All five members of the Gilmore family are SBU graduates.
Chaplain Gilmore is often asked to speak at church and Guard conferences throughout Missouri and the nation, and these opportunities bring him great satisfaction. But his highest honor is to stand before a local church or a group of soldiers as their pastor and chaplain.
ALVIN WAYNE ROHRS ’79
Dr. Alvin Rohrs of Dunnegan has served as president and chief executive officer of Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) since 1982. Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. Under his leadership, Enactus has grown from 18 universities in the United States to 1,650 active universities in 36 countries, with more than 66,500 active students worldwide. Prior to his work with Enactus, Rohrs served Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, as director of the Gene Taylor National Free Enterprise Center.
For his leadership of Enactus, Dr. Rohrs was honored at the National Charity Awards Dinner in 1985 and 1992. In 1995, Dr. Rohrs received the Inc. magazine National Entrepreneur of the Year award for “Supporter of Entrepreneurship.” Dr. Rohrs was selected to carry the Olympic Torch in 2007. He has participated in numerous international business events, including the Circulo de Economia Forum on Social Responsibility in Barcelona, Spain, Clinton Global Initiatives in New York City, PepsiCo Top to Top Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the UN Foundation + Social Good Master Class series. He has presented regularly at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute, Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores events. Rohrs currently serves on the Board of United Missouri Bank in Springfield, and the Board of the Rockefeller Foundation-Aspen Institute Diaspora Program, in Washington, D.C. Rohrs has been quoted in articles and special sections in “TIME,” “Fortune, Inc.” and “Entrepreneur” magazines and was one of the CEO’s featured in the book “True Leaders.”
In 1982, Rohrs received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law, where he graduated with full honors in the top 10 percent of his class. He was a member of the “Missouri Law Review” and The Order of the Coif national honors legal society and received two American Jurisprudence Awards for his achievement in estate tax and equitable remedies. Rohrs received his bachelor’s degree from SBU in 1979, where he was a charter member of the Enactus team and won national honors in speech and debate. Rohrs is a member of the Missouri Bar Association.
He lives in Dunnegan, Missouri, with his wife, Elizabeth Vincent Rohrs ’80, who is an attorney, and they have two children, Benjamin and Jaclyn.