It’s been 20 years since the Ouachita Singers, returning from a mission trip to Europe, crashed on the final leg of their trip in Little Rock on American Airlines Flight 1420. Survivors returned to Arkadelphia in June 2019 to mark the 20th anniversary of that night, June 1, 1999.
The faculty in Ouachita’s Department of Biological Sciences are not only providing a valuable learning experience for students each day in Jones Science Center, they are setting a new standard for teaching science that is catching on across the nation.
For Glenn Good, teaching at Ouachita for 43 years was more than a good job. It was a good time. “I didn’t have trouble going to work,” Good said. “Usually, I had an 8 a.m. class. Students didn’t like it, but I didn’t mind it.” Good was offered a job at Ouachita in 1969 to teach Pre-Engineering, Intro to Physics for Pre-Professionals – his favorite class – and Science for Elementary Teachers.
This year, I was appointed to lead an initiative on the mission of faculty and staff to guide students toward “lives of meaningful work.” It started off like a bad round of Jeopardy. At first, I thought the answer I was seeking was “What is meaningful work?” By April, however, the question had become more specific. At Ouachita, we aren’t talking about any or all work. The heart of our work at Ouachita is studying. So the question for us Ouachitonians is “What makes academic work meaningful?”
At the beginning of the academic year, I used my Convocation address to help us initiate a university-wide conversation on the theme, “Lives of Meaningful Work.” It’s a phrase from our mission statement that speaks to one of Ouachita’s desired outcomes for graduates: that you will be prepared for such lives and work.
Growing up, Shane Seaton loved playing outside, hiking, camping trips with his family and going to summer camp. He also spent a lot of time outdoors with friends during college in Oklahoma, where he earned a B.S. in business administration from Southern Nazarene University. But it wasn’t until later that Seaton realized how transformational those outdoor moments had been. Now, those are exactly the kinds of experiences he seeks to provide for students at Ouachita.
Head Softball Coach Mike McGhee entered his 17th season at Ouachita in the midst of a battle with cancer. He passed away Feb. 24. McGhee left behind a lasting legacy in the lives of his players, fellow coaches and coworkers.
I rarely feel like I have the time to ponder, much less discuss, big questions in life around things like meaning, calling and purpose. It's enough most days to get my son out the door on time(-ish) for school, keep projects moving at work and make sure laundry is clean at home. It's easy just to feel like a "busy bee" rather than to see the importance of my place in "the colony."
A first-generation college student, Dr. TaJuan Wilson wasn’t sure where college would lead when he began. But he was determined to navigate college life successfully, and higher education soon became his specialty. Originally from Bearden, Ark., Wilson found Ouachita through TRIO programs.
It has been quite a journey – spanning three continents – that has brought Drs. Mary Chung and Carlos Feller to Ouachita. Mary grew up in South Korea – the daughter of a pastor. While Mary dreamed of someday being a missionary, her father passed away when she was young, and her mother continued toward their family dream of serving as missionaries.
Alice Brooks is not the kind of person you would expect to leave behind a million-dollar estate gift. A hardworking schoolteacher in rural Arkansas, the impression she left on her students was undeniable. Thanks to her generous gift, her dedication to education will live on at Ouachita, as well.
Value is subjective. What is priceless to one person may be worthless to another. Furthermore, there are many potential choices in between.
Government employee by day, pickleball enthusiast by night and weekend warrior with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Disaster Relief ministry – alumna Kim Fischer has been using her gifts, talents and experience to make a difference in the lives of those in crisis for nearly 15 years.
Every semester I pass on to my Spiritual Formation classes an important distinction that has helped me think about meaningful work. These are usually first- and second-year students with a lot of questions. So, I add more questions to the pile. I begin by asking them things like, “Why did you come to college anyway?” or “Did you come to college just to make more money with a better job?”
Sherri Phelps always knew she wanted to work with people, but when she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech pathology from Ouachita in the spring of 1981, she hadn’t anticipated a career in human resources. When Ouachita offered Phelps and her husband, Bill (’81), jobs at the university, it was the beginning of four decades of service to Ouachita faculty and staff. They knew then that they were being called to lives of meaningful work right here at their alma mater.
From freshman beanies to mortarboards, every student who is admitted to or graduates from Ouachita passes through the registrar’s office. From high school test scores, GPAs and concurrent credit to semester grades, degree plan requirements and graduation day, Susan Atkinson oversees the detail involved in moving students through their Ouachita careers.
Michael Bleecker didn’t come to Ouachita to study worship ministry. In fact, he’d never even picked up a guitar. But freshman year, that all changed. Now, Bleecker leads thousands of people in worship each week at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas.
“I have a very distinct memory of the first time I saw a baby die,” reflected Lillian Blackmon (’59) Crenshaw. “There was such a sense of helplessness. I had a strong feeling there had to be a better way.” Crenshaw spent much of her renowned medical career helping improve the survival rate for premature infants.
If you were to play two truths and a lie with Dr. Barbara Pemberton, you would probably lose. Facts about her you would guess are untrue would turn out to be the truth – like how she once took a group of Ouachita students to Saudi Arabia, where she and her husband lived for a time. Or how she belongs to the International Society for the Study of New Religions. Or how her latest religious analysis is a book review on drone metal and spirituality.
In seventh grade, Mitch Bettis discovered the world of publications as a paper boy for Arkadelphia’s newspaper, the Siftings-Herald. “I loved everything about it,” Bettis said. “I loved the fact that, a couple of hours ago, there was nothing. Now, there were words and photos; it was a tangible product.” As president and CEO of Arkansas Business Publishing Group (ABPG) in Little Rock, Bettis directs the creation and sales efforts of more than 30 of Arkansas’ top weekly, monthly, semiannual and annual publications.
The Ouachita Circle is a publication of Ouachita Baptist University’s Office of Alumni Relations and Office of Communications & Marketing.
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