OBU’s 125th anniversary features Beebe, Huckabee, Community Celebration

Campus visits by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and former Gov. Mike Huckabee are among highlights of Ouachita Baptist University’s 125th anniversary celebration this fall.

Gov. Beebe will speak during the first chapel of the academic year on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 10 a.m. in Jones Performing Arts Center. During his visit, Gov. Beebe will present a proclamation declaring Sept. 6, 2011, as Ouachita Baptist University Day in the state of Arkansas.

Former Gov. Huckabee, a 1976 Ouachita graduate and former university trustee, will speak during a 125th anniversary chapel service on Sept. 20. Ouachita’s Michael D. Huckabee School of Education was named in his honor in 2005.

Ouachita, founded in Arkadelphia on Sept. 6, 1886, continues to serve in the same location as a leading liberal arts university in a Christ-centered learning community. The university’s 2011-12 academic year got under way last week with a significant enrollment increase for the second consecutive year.

Initial fall registration numbers include 1,583 students from more than 30 states and 40 nations, an increase of more than 100 students from the first day of fall registration last year. The final registration total for the semester will be compiled on Sept. 8.

“I am so pleased that on the first day of fall registration we have 101 more students enrolled,” said Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr. “Ouachita is entering a good era, I believe, because of the people who study and serve here.

“This is a significant anniversary for Ouachita,” Dr. Horne added. “As we celebrate 125 years, it is heartening to know that we continue to grow stronger and send more difference makers into all parts of the world.

“Gov. Mike Beebe and former Gov. Mike Huckabee will get our celebration going in fine fashion this fall,” President Horne said. “This is a unique time to be a part of Ouachita.”

Between the two governors’ visits, Ouachita will celebrate Founders Day on Sept. 6. The day’s events will begin with a 10 a.m. Convocation Chapel in Jones Performing Arts Center led by President Horne. Activities also will include a Founders Day Musical Showcase at 7 p.m. in JPAC. The concert, which is open to the community, will feature several student ensembles.

Other Founders Day activities include the university’s second annual Ouachita BlogAbout and the debut of a commemorative 125th anniversary history book, Ouachita Voices: Celebrating 125 Years of Academic & Christian Excellence. For more information about the blogabout, visit www.obu.edu/blogabout and for details about Ouachita Voices, visit www.obu.edu/125/OuachitaVoices.

The university also will host a 125th Anniversary Community Celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. The campus celebration, designed as a thank you gift to the Arkadelphia community and surrounding area, will feature dinner on the grounds, musical entertainment and activities for all ages.

President Horne appointed a 14-member steering committee last year to plan and coordinate the 125thanniversary observance. Chaired by Ian Cosh, OBU vice president for community and international engagement, the steering committee includes faculty, staff members and student leaders.

“Celebration and thanksgiving are two key words associated with Ouachita’s 125th anniversary events throughout 2011,” Cosh said. “The occasion will provide a time to have some fun and to give thanks for the many blessings the Lord has showered upon us since 1886.”

Highlighting the theme, “Making a Difference since 1886,” other 125th anniversary events throughout the fall semester include:

  • Gungor, a self-described “liturgical post-rock band,” in concert on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in JPAC.
  • Tiger Serve Day, a semi-annual student-led community service blitz sponsored by the Elrod Center for Family & Community, on Saturday, Sept. 17.
  • The FORE Ouachita Central Arkansas Golf Tournament on Monday, Sept. 26, at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock. The annual tournament benefits athletic scholarships at Ouachita.
  • Homecoming and Tiger Tunes, Oct. 6-8 on the Ouachita campus. Tiger Tunes is an annual song-and-dance extravaganza coordinated by the Ouachita Student Foundation to raise student scholarship funds. Homecoming activities also include the OcTiger Fest campus fellowship on Oct. 8 from 9 to 11 a.m. and the Homecoming football game at 1 p.m. at A.U. Williams Field.
  • Chapel address by Dr. Tom Elliff on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. in JPAC. Dr. Elliff, a 1966 Ouachita graduate, is president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board which supports more than 5,000 international missionaries throughout the world.
  • The second annual Stepping Up for Ouachita women’s luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Ouachita’s Walker Conference Center. Stepping Up benefits scholarships for outstanding female students.
  • The OBU Tigers’ annual Battle of the Ravine football rivalry against Henderson State University on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. at A.U. Williams Field. The oldest football rivalry among current NCAA Division ll schools, the Battle of the Ravine dates back to 1895. It is the only college game in the nation where the visiting team gathers in its own locker room and walks across the highway to the home team’s field.
  • Birkett Williams Lecture Series address by Dr. Gerald Pillay, vice chancellor of Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Liverpool Hope is Ouachita’s newest international education partner.
  • A Festival of Christmas featuring contemporary Christian recording artists Point of Grace on Dec. 2-3 at 7:30 p.m. in JPAC. The four founding members of Point of Grace, including two current members, are Ouachita alumnae.

For more information about Ouachita’s 125th anniversary celebration, contact the university’s Office of Communications at 870-245-5206 or visit www.obu.edu/125.

By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications

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