Emphasizing that “it’s important to name buildings for people who represent Christ so visibly,” Terry Peeples told Susie and Dwight Everett, “We are so fortunate that God has placed you in our Ouachita family.”
Peeples, Ouachita’s vice president for development, was among several speakers at a Dec. 8 dedication service for Susie Everett Hall in honor of Everett, a former student and current trustee of Ouachita Baptist University.
The gift to endow the residence hall was made by Everett’s husband, Dwight. The Everetts, who own Everett Buick GMC, operate seven car dealerships in Arkansas and Texas.
Voicing appreciation for the opportunity to “make an investment not only for the present but for the future,” Susie Everett told the crowd gathered in the lobby of Everett Hall, “It’s been a special blessing to be a part of what I call the Ouachita experience.”
Susie Everett Hall, formerly known as Westside Hall, was one of two residence halls constructed on Ouachita’s Arkadelphia campus in 2010, significantly upgrading the university’s student housing facilities.
Dr. Wesley Kluck, vice president for student development, noted that Susie Everett Hall houses 66 students and currently includes students from 44 cities, seven states and three other nations. The three-story residence hall features two-bedroom suites that house four students per suite and open onto a large community living room space on each floor.
“Over the coming years, thousands of students will live here and will have been touched in some way by your contribution,” Dr. Kluck told the Everett family. “This naming of a building represents the strong love your family has for you and it certainly represents the strong love you have for Ouachita.
“Today this building not only officially receives a name,” he added, “but when that naming happens, the building changes from being a house for students to being a home for students.”
Logan Bond, a senior computer science and biology major from Prairie Grove, Ark., serves as the associate resident director for Susie Everett Hall. “It’s a privilege to celebrate the Everett family in our home,” he said. “Today, I am grateful for the Everett family for nurturing this community into the future.
“Due to their generosity, hundreds of upcoming Ouachitonians will be able to experience the same comradery that I’ve gotten to be a part of,” Bond reflected. “As they walk out that door, they’re engraved with a better understanding of what it really means to be a Tiger for Life.”
Ouachita President Ben Sells emphasized that the Everetts’ generous contribution highlights the gift’s focus on “the importance of the residential experience” at Ouachita, the purpose of endowing the facility with resources to “sustain and strengthen this hall” and the example of practicing Biblical stewardship and the “intergenerational compact of one generation investing in the next generation.”
Affirming that “place matters,” Dr. Sells emphasized that “there may be no more strategic or significant investment than in a residence hall here at Ouachita” as students live and learn together.
Responding to the words of appreciation, Susie Everett said, “The professors, the small classes, the activities, the emphasis on Christian growth, the friendships and so much more are all a part of the Ouachita education. The relationships, the investments in other people’s lives, that’s really what seems to matter when we invest in others’ lives.”
Noting that her husband, Dwight, “recognizes the value of a Christian school and education, and wants to make a difference here at OBU,” Everett added, “I appreciate his heart and wanting to make a Kingdom difference.
“I hope the residents of this hall will fall in love with the Ouachita life, will find their passion and purpose in the Lord, will develop relationships that last a lifetime and leave OBU with a purpose in their heart to love God with all their heart and to serve Him, then loving and giving back to their fellow man,” she concluded. “Whatever gifts God has given us, we must put to use to become His light bearers in the world. May God continue to bless this dorm and its residents and this wonderful place we call Ouachita Baptist University.”
Everett, who attended Ouachita for two and a half years as a pre-nursing student, completed her nursing degree in 1980 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and worked for several years as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner. While at Ouachita, she participated in theatre productions, Campus Ministries and Chi Delta women’s social club. She is a founding member of the Christian Community Care Clinic and participates in events that support the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Everett was the honoree at Ouachita’s 2014 Stepping Up for Ouachita women’s scholarship luncheon.
In addition to Susie and Dwight Everett, family members attending the dedication service included their daughters and sons-in-law, Christa and Brandan Hudspeth and Anna and Chad Hendrix; their six grandchildren; Susie Everett’s mother, Louise Brumley; and her brother, Joe Brumley.
The dedication service also included an opening prayer by 1993 Ouachita alumnus Jay Heflin, chairman of the Ouachita Board of Trustees, and a prayer of dedication by 1999 Ouachita alumnus Clay Cunningham, associate pastor of family ministry at First Baptist Church of Benton, Ark., where the Everetts are active members.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications // Photos by Andy Henderson
December 12, 2016