As we reflect on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, it is important to remember that Dr. King was a civil rights activist who fought continuously for racial equality and social justice. Dr. King condemned discrimination and segregation because of race, and he affirmed that the American dream belonged to all citizens and that everyone should have an equal opportunity to reach that dream.
Ouachita’s favorite set of faculty football brothers – Head Football Coach Todd Knight and Dr. Tim Knight, dean of the J.D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences – continue to make a lasting impact on campus. As Coach Knight led his team to wins on the football field year after year, Dr. Knight experienced his victories in the classroom. This purple-and-gold bleeding set of brothers truly make Ouachita a better place. Coach Knight keeps Ouachita’s successful football program on the map as his brother is the face behind the entire Jones Science Center operation. These two brothers are special assets to Ouachita, and Ouachita wouldn’t be the same without the Knight family.
What a year it has been! As I reflect on my first year at Ouachita and the opportunity to co-create learning, engage with students and do life in Arkadelphia, having the opportunity to “build a better you” personally, spiritually, professionally and academically in a vibrant and caring environment has been good – and a lot of fun!
Dr. Daniel R. Grant “retired” from a distinguished career at Ouachita in 1988, just before I arrived on campus as a freshman in 1989. But we all know he didn’t really retire; he just stopped taking a paycheck. Dr. Grant advocated for his beloved Ouachita and its people for the rest of his life.
Dr. Julyse Migan-Gandonou Horr, Ouachita’s new director of applied behavior analysis, credits her faith with bringing her to where she is today.
Dr. Jeff Root never considered going anywhere else but Ouachita for his undergraduate education. Since both his parents worked at OBU, he spent much of his time growing up on campus. In 1991, Dr. Root came back to Ouachita as a member of the administrative staff and faculty, and in 2002 he became the dean of the School of Humanities.
Whose story gets told, and who gets to tell it? These questions and others lie at the heart of my flagship course History of American Women, which I am fortunate to teach this semester. As an historian of women and gender, I eagerly anticipate every opportunity to teach the class. We all participate in the course of human events; we all deserve to see ourselves represented in the historical record.
Consider providing three meals a day to Ouachita’s residential campus of roughly 1,500 students, physically distanced, observing the Arkansas Department of Health and CDC’s vigilant cleaning guidelines and all while keeping lines of hungry students moving. For Kari Ledford, Sodexo’s retail and marketing manager, and her team, their focus was always Ouachita students and their safety.
The time has come for hot chocolate, Christmas lights and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. As I thought about my own family memories and holiday festivities, I wanted to ask Ouachita faculty and staff to share a few of their favorite Christmas traditions.
In an historic commencement for Ouachita, Dr. Ben Sells addressed 2020 graduates on Dec. 5 by reflecting on the difficulties of the year and offering words of wisdom that were once shared with him.
The infectious laughter of Dr. Amy Sonheim and the careful clicking of a keyboard from Dr. Doug Sonheim would help fill the Language and Literature department for years before their combined retirement from Ouachita in Spring 2022. In the years that they have worked at Ouachita, the couple has made some amazing changes to the university.
Christa Neal accepted the position of program advisor for community and family services in June 2021. This major trains and equips students to pursue careers in fields of community, family and social services, as well as graduate education for counseling, social work and more. This program needed someone with a variety of experiences in these fields, and Neal was the perfect fit.
In my opinion, one of the best things Ouachita has to offer is that it is a university of roughly 1,500 on-campus students and with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. What that means when you yourself are a Ouachita student is that you’ll have great opportunities for mentor relationships with your teachers.
April has traditionally been known worldwide as Autism Awareness Month, and is a time to focus on increasing understanding and awareness of people with autism. In 2021, the Autism Society of America changed the designated terminology to Autism Acceptance Month. Regardless of which name you use, I hope you’ll take time this month to become educated on autism and help to create a more inclusive and accepting world for the autism community. Here is some introductory information to get you started.
Donnie Copeland had an unconventional upbringing. He grew up over 6,000 miles away from the United States in Ogbomosho, Nigeria. His parents taught at a local seminary and did mission work, such as traveling to remote villages to connect with local churches.
With nicknames like “double trouble” and “salt and pepper,” Chester Mitchell, Sr., and Coleman Rogers are the carpentry team for Facilities Management at Ouachita and are not only rarely seen apart but also good friends. With the work the duo had cut out for them last summer, any less than two sets of hands and a good sense of humor would have made overhauling campus with needed protective measures incredibly difficult.
For many Ouachita students, the slightest sign of COVID-19 symptoms or the realization that they have been exposed to a positive case causes anxiety, naturally. But since students returned to campus for residential learning in August 2020, they have had two on-campus “mommas” to call for guidance: Kristin Kesterson and Kristi Seals.
After months of remote learning in the spring of 2020, Ouachita students were able to return to their physically-distanced classrooms and desks on campus in mid-August. One of the individuals who made on-campus learning possible is Dr. Matt Douglass, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs and institutional research analyst.
When we are hurting, grieving or anxious about the future, it is hard to be on the same page as James when he wrote, "when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." I know my faith has been through a standardized test amount of testing this year, but I also know the darkest seasons of my life are when I have seen God work the most.
We look for an answer to all of the heartache and confusion in this life. We long for peace. In our continuing celebration of Advent, Dr. William Viser reminds us of the similarly turbulent times before the coming of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.
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The Ouachita Voices blog is a place for the people of Ouachita to tell the stories of Ouachita. Lend your voice to the conversation. Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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