Dramatically symbolizing Ouachita Baptist University’s vision and growth, Heflin Plaza was dedicated June 10 in memory of Johnny Heflin, former chairman of Ouachita’s Board of Trustees.
The $2 million plaza project, which features a 300-foot-long pedestrian bridge, also is named in honor of Heflin’s wife, Sharon, and their family, Jay and Andrea Heflin and Marc and Billie Heflin. All six family members are Ouachita alumni.
More than 150 guests gathered June 10 for the dedication of Heflin Plaza on the campus of Ouachita Baptist University. The $2 million project is designed to link Ouachita’s North campus and main campus both symbolically and functionally. photo by Callie Stephens.
“There are many aspects of Ouachita that we could point to as important in our lives,” Sharon Heflin told the dedication service crowd. “However, with us it comes down to the simple statement, ‘Ouachita means the world to our family.’
“Ouachita has helped to provide a world of opportunities for our family and many others,” she added. “We are thankful to be able to support Ouachita as she continues to support so many.
“We felt like the bridge and plaza symbolized the things about Ouachita that we love the most. The plaza areas will provide great opportunities for students to gather in small and large groups to support each other and the university,” Mrs. Heflin emphasized. “The bridge is more than just a walkway from the academic side of campus to the Student Village. The bridge symbolizes the way that Ouachita provides a pathway to life after Ouachita.”
Heflin Plaza is a key element in Ouachita’s campus redevelopment plan approved in 2007 by the Ouachita Board of Trustees. The project is designed to link Ouachita’s North campus and main campus both symbolically and functionally.
Ouachita President Rex Horne and Mrs. Sharon Heflin (center) cut the ribbon to dedicate Heflin Plaza. Also representing the Heflin family were Jay and Andrea Heflin and their children, Ben and Anna, and Marc and Billie Heflin and their children, Grace and Sarah. photo by Callie Stephens.
Johnny Heflin, a 1967 Ouachita alumnus and prominent Little Rock businessman, was the longtime president of Terminix, Inc., as well as chairman of the board of Bird and Bear Enterprises, Inc. Among his numerous honors, Heflin received Ouachita’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2000, was inducted into the Arkansas Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001 and was named American Heart Association Volunteer of the Year in 2003.
According to Ouachita President Rex Horne, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to make this very special dedication for what is becoming a central part of campus. It will be a place where people will gather that we will look upon as a signature place on campus for many, many years and generations to come.
“The Heflin name and the Heflin family are such an integral part of everything good and noble that Ouachita Baptist University is all about,” Dr. Horne said. “This is a day of celebration and we’re so thankful for this family. They are advocates for Ouachita. They are encouragers to those of us who serve here. They are enablers to the students who attend here.
“I think about Johnny often as I walk here. We shared the same idea that Ouachita should be a place of excellence; that whatever we do, we do in a great way,” President Horne noted. “He wanted to see something across this ravine and today we celebrate that. … We are looking forward to the future with fresh momentum and insight into what God will do here in this place.”
In addition to funding for Heflin Plaza, other major projects underwritten by the Heflin family include the Heflin Tennis Center, the Jay and Lynn Heflin Chair of Business and the Heflin Family Scholarship as well as numerous other gifts.
Ouachita Baptist University, a private Christian liberal arts university in Arkadelphia, Ark., has been ranked the No. 1 Baccalaureate College in the South for three years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. With an enrollment of almost 1,500 students from more than 30 states and 50 nations, Ouachita seeks to foster a love of God and a love of learning in a vibrant, Christ-centered learning community.
For more information about Ouachita, visit www.obu.edu or call (800) DIAL-OBU.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications