Tuesday, Sept. 6, promises to be a historic day at Ouachita Baptist University. Ouachita, which opened for its first day of classes on Sept. 6, 1886, will celebrate 125 years of history, vision and growth during the university’s Founders Day 2011 activities on Tuesday.
“This is a significant anniversary for Ouachita,” said President Rex M. Horne, Jr. Citing Ouachita’s strong enrollment growth for the second consecutive year, he added, “As we celebrate 125 years, it is heartening to know that we continue to grow stronger and send more difference makers into all parts of the world.”
Helping kick off this fall’s semester-long anniversary celebration, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe was the featured speaker for the university’s opening chapel service on Aug. 30. He presented a proclamation declaring Sept. 6, 2011, as Ouachita Baptist University Day in the state of Arkansas.
Noting that Ouachita “is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding as a learning community dedicated to fostering a love of God and a love of learning,” the proclamation encourages “fellow citizens to recognize and congratulate the trustees, administration, staff, students and alumni for 125 years of service to higher education in Arkansas.”
Ouachita Baptist College opened in Arkadelphia in 1886 with an initial fall enrollment of 166 students. Renamed Ouachita Baptist University in 1965, the university has grown to an enrollment of approximately 1,600 students from more than 30 states and 40 nations.
Founders Day activities will include a full slate of activities, beginning with a 10 a.m. Convocation Chapel in Jones Performing Arts Center led by President Horne. Activities also will include a Founders Day Luncheon, Board of Trustees meeting and a Founders Day Musical Showcase at 7:30 p.m. in JPAC.
The Musical Showcase, which is free and open to the public, will feature the Ouachita Jazz Band, Ouachita Singers, Ouachita Sounds, Tiger Blast and other student ensembles.
“The Musical Showcase will be a wonderful event featuring some of our best and brightest music students,” said Dr. Gary Gerber, chair of the School of Fine Art’s division of music. “The program will include a variety of musical selections that will be enjoyable and entertaining.
“This program will be a great celebration through music of OBU’s Founders Day anniversary,” Gerber added. “I am delighted that the division of music will have an opportunity to showcase the talent and musicianship of our students.”
Other Founders Day activities include the university’s second annual Ouachita BlogAbout and the debut of a commemorative 125th anniversary history book,Ouachita Voices: Celebrating 125 Years of Academic & Christian Excellence. For more information about the blogabout, visit www.obu.edu/blogabout and for details about Ouachita Voices, visit www.obu.edu/125/OuachitaVoices.
The university also will host a 125th Anniversary Community Celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. The campus celebration, designed as a thank you gift to the Arkadelphia community and surrounding area, will feature dinner on the grounds, musical entertainment and activities for all ages.
“Celebration and thanksgiving are two key words associated with Ouachita’s 125th anniversary events throughout 2011,” said Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement and chair of the 125th anniversary steering committee. “The occasion will provide a time to have some fun and to give thanks for the many blessings the Lord has showered upon us since 1886.”
For more information about Ouachita’s 125th anniversary celebration, contact the university’s Office of Communications at 870-245-5206 or visit www.obu.edu/125.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications