Dr. George Keck and Mrs. Mary Worthen were named Ouachita Baptist University faculty emeriti March 10 by the university’s Board of Trustees.
“The Faculty Emeritus designation is granted to retiring faculty who have served the university with distinction over many years,” explained Dr. Stan Poole, vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. George Keck and Mrs. Mary Worthen certainly deserve this award for their dedicated service to Ouachita and their outstanding creative and scholarly accomplishments. We’re pleased to include them among the distinguished faculty who continue to enrich the Ouachita community even after their full-time service has come to an end.”
Dr. Keck, who has served at Ouachita 42 years, joined the faculty in 1969 as assistant professor of music. He was promoted to associate professor in 1983 and to professor of music in 1987. The university recognized his outstanding teaching and scholarship by naming him the Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music.
Dr. Keck is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Iowa. He also has completed post-doctoral studies at Harvard University and Princeton University. While teaching at Ouachita, Dr. Keck has served as chair of the Division of Music, chair of the department of History and Literature and director of the Carl Goodson Honors Program. He has held membership in and provided leadership for music organizations and clubs on the local, state and national levels and has published distinguished scholarly work in the field of music history.
“Through the years,” Dr. Poole noted, “Dr. Keck has inspired countless students through his depth of expertise in music history and through the integrity with which he conducts his classroom and lessons.”
Mrs. Worthen began teaching at Ouachita as a graduate assistant and part-time instructor in the early 1980s, eventually teaching full-time until she moved away from the Arkadelphia area in 1992. She rejoined the faculty in 2002, and since then has taught voice and music theory. She was promoted to assistant professor of music in 2005.
Mrs. Worthen holds degrees from Oklahoma Baptist University and Ouachita Baptist University. An accomplished vocalist and pianist, she has performed and served as an accompanist for faculty recitals and special musical programs. She also has directed several music ensembles, including the Praise Singers, Ouachita Sounds and Women’s Chorus.
According to Dr. Poole, “Under her direction, these ensembles have flourished, consistently performing at a high level of musical excellence and representing Ouachita well in churches and schools across the state.”
In other personnel-related action, board members:
Board members also approved a 2011-12 university operating budget of $32.35 million, an increase of 6.8 percent over the current operating budget. The 2011-12 budget includes a 3.94 percent increase in tuition, fees, room and board.
In other action, trustees scheduled their fall board meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 6, to coincide with Ouachita’s 125th anniversary Founders’ Day observance. The university has scheduled a number of anniversary-related events throughout the year, including a Pastors and Presidents Symposium on April 4-5, Founders’ Day activities on Sept. 6, a community celebration Oct. 19 and the annual Festival of Christmas Dec. 2-3 featuring Point of Grace. Other activities include a chapel address by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe on Aug. 30 and an address by former governor and Ouachita alumnus Mike Huckabee on Sept. 20.
Trustees also heard reports from two international students: Humoyiddin Ravshanov, a political science and history major from Uzbekistan, and Michelle Perez, a political science and business administration major from Venezuela.
“The last three years at Ouachita have been extraordinary years in my education,” Ravshanov told trustees. He expressed appreciation for “giving international students the privilege to make their dreams come true.”
“Since the first day I arrived, God has used Ouachita to allow me to grow spiritually, academically and even socially,” Perez said. “God uses every single step to prepare me for what He has for me in the future.”
Ouachita Baptist University, a private Christian university in Arkadelphia, Ark., currently enrolls 1,500 students from more than 30 states and 40 nations. Celebrating its 125th anniversary as a leading liberal arts university, Ouachita has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 Regional College in the South for four consecutive years.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications