Ouachita Baptist University trustees elected three new members to the Board of Trustees during their Dec. 2 meeting on Ouachita’s Arkadelphia campus.
New trustees include Terri Mardis of Springdale, Ken Shaddox of North Little Rock and Gus Williamson of Batesville. They succeed Lewis Eady of Fort Smith, Faron Rogers of El Dorado and Ray Turnage of Maumelle who completed their terms of service.
Mardis, a 1984 Ouachita graduate, is a member of Cross Church in Springdale. She and her husband, Jimmy, are the parents of Tracey, 17, and Nathan, 15.
Shaddox, who previously has served as a Ouachita trustee, is pastor of Park Hill Baptist Church in North Little Rock. A 1983 Ouachita graduate, he and his wife, Judy, a 1984 Ouachita graduate, are the parents of Laura, 17.
Williamson, an education consultant, is a member of West Baptist Church. A 1980 Ouachita graduate, he and his wife, Pearlette, a 1981 Ouachita graduate, are the parents of three children: Ronica, 25; Philip, a 2010 Ouachita graduate; and Jonathan, a freshman at Ouachita.
“We welcome our three new trustees,” said Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr. “They bring great gifts to our university. They are people who are committed to the Lord, to the local church and to Ouachita Baptist University.”
Trustees elected to a second term of service include: Phil Baldwin of Arkadelphia, Julie Dodge of Conway, Frank Hickingbotham of Little Rock, Rita Spillyards of Rogers and Jeff Teague of El Dorado.
Trustees also re-elected board officers, including: Richard Lusby of Jonesboro as chair, Taylor King of Arkadelphia as vice chair and Joe Bill Meador of Fordyce as secretary.
In other business, trustees adopted a resolution to approve Ouachita’s “continued association with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and endorse the current self-study process for continuing accreditation.”
Noting that Ouachita first gained accreditation through the North Central Association in 1927, Dr. Stan Poole, vice president for academic affairs, said the university currently is conducting its 10-year self-study in preparation for reaccreditation. He said accreditation is important both as “a way of documenting the quality of the institution” and to qualify for “the administration of federal financial aid.”
In his president’s report, Dr. Horne told trustees the fall 2010 enrollment increased by 3.9 percent, the largest gain since 2004. He added that the freshmen cohort increased by 15 percent, the highest level in more than a decade, and that the fall retention rate of 81 percent was the highest in more than 20 years.
“The number of prospective students applying for admissions continues to grow,” Dr. Horne noted. “We’re ahead this year of those applying last year.”
Citing Ouachita’s global impact, Dr. Horne said a recent study found that Ouachita has trained 225 of the current Southern Baptist International Mission Board personnel, the second largest total among all universities. He added that Ouachita ranks No. 1 among schools that have trained IMB missionaries appointed from 2005 to 2010, with a total of 74. He said those statistics reflect the fact that Ouachita has “long been vitally linked with our denomination’s effort to carry out the Great Commission.”
Dr. Horne reported that 19 Ouachita students will attend Liverpool Hope University in England next spring. The partnership with Liverpool Hope is Ouachita’s newest collaboration in international studies.
He also reported that the fall 2010 FORE Ouachita golf tournament and inaugural Stepping Up for Ouachita women’s luncheon netted approximately $85,000 for student scholarships.
Dr. Horne said plans are coming together well for Ouachita’s 125th anniversary celebration next year. Plans call for a series of anniversary-related campus events, including Founders Day on Sept. 6, 2011.
Ouachita’s next Board of Trustees quarterly meeting will be held March 10, 2011.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications