Ouachita Baptist University’s annual University Community Service Awards, presented by the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community, recently honored two community leaders and dozens of university students for their service to the community and region.
Ross Whipple, chairman and CEO of Summit Bank and Summit Bancorp, Inc., was honored with the Community Service Excellence Award, and Emily Talley, a volunteer foster grandparent to special-needs preschoolers, was honored with the Foster Grandparents Program Award.
Whipple also is chairman of The Ross Foundation; president of Horizon Timber Services, Inc.; and managing partner of Whipple Family Limited Partnership and Whipple Family Banking Partnership. A graduate of Henderson State University and the University of Arkansas, he also is a board member of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Clark County Industrial Council and Economic Development Corporation of Clark County.
“Mr. Whipple’s life provides a powerful example to our students of a successful businessman who has consistently given back to his community throughout his career,” said Ian Cosh, OBU vice president for community and international engagement. “His support of the work of the Elrod Center demonstrates his commitment to empower organizations who want to enrich the community in creative ways.”
Ouachita Chancellor Ben Elrod presented the award to Whipple, affirming his “distinguished service to the citizens of Arkadelphia.”
Describing the award as “one of the greatest honors I have ever received,” Whipple said, “I’m very honored to be part of anything associated with Ben and Betty Elrod.”
Shirley McMillan, who coordinates the Elrod Center’s Foster Grandparents Program, presented Talley’s award. Declaring that Talley represents “the spirit of what foster grandparents are all about,” McMillan said this year’s recipient has volunteered “1,454 and a half hours of loving service with special-needs preschoolers.”
Ouachita students and staff members honored during the banquet include:
America Reads: Samantha Collins, Ashlee DeVore, Sarah Greeson, Natalie Gregory, Hannah Hurn, Kristen James, Katie Luff, Keeson Martin, Bethany Moss, Katelyn Mustain, Madison O’Connor, Alyssa Pickett, Dielle Short, Rachel Willhoite and Melanie Williams.
America Counts: Sam Chidister, Audrey Craven, Lori Hilburn, Natalie Holmes, Jenelle Kaske, Dayton Lavender, Kezia Nanda, Casie Neal, Heidi Siner, Lauren Smith, Hillary Stillwell, Lauren Tallakson and Josiah Wheeler.
America Reads/America Counts Senior Awards: Lori Hilburn, America Counts tutor/mentor (2008-2011), Katie Luff, America Reads tutor/mentor (2008-2011) and Lauren Smith America Counts, America Reads tutor/mentor (2008-2011).
Elder Serve Awards 2011: Sara Anderson, T. J. Bailey, Amber Beacham, Molly Bowen, Amy Campbell, Kinsey Ann Carpenter, Cara Curtis, Abby Dekle, Heather Ederington, Kelly Ferguson, Kiley Gamble, Anna Hartley, Hillary Hill, Leigha Hill, Sara Honeycutt, Chelsie Kaufman, Michelle Lackey, Madison Lewis, Joseph Levy, Kezia Nanda, Michelle Perez, Jody Persson, Matthew Pope, Chase Rackley, Alyssa Reynolds, Meghan Savage, Elyse Senteney, Lauren Shawver, Rachel Shrader, Waylon Slabach, Mary Smethers, Lauren Tallakson, Alex Trevino, Wendy Vick, Sarah Waymire and Kaitlin Williams.
ElderServe Senior Awards 2011: Daniel Anderson, Allison Cornell, Amy Guiomard, Sara Hanson, Anna Herrin and Bethany Whitfield.
Tiger Serve Leadership Team 2011: Glenn Bolton, Reuben Cash, Jake Edwards, Leigha Hill, Lauren Jackson, Ryan James, Abbey Jamieson, Caleb Knight, Emily Morgan, Katelyn Mustain, Nate Peace, Rebekah Poynor, Dawson Pritchard, Jessica Stewart, Wendy Vick, Garet West and Rachel Williams.
Tiger Serve Leadership Senior Awards 2011: Leanne Cushman, Drew Harper, Greta James and Mark Morrison.
Transerve Awards: Lacey Brooks, Mellissa Butters, Sharon Emerson, Drew Harper, Natalie Holmes, Ryan James, Hannah Ramsey and Alyson Walker. Each volunteered a minimum of 150 hours combined for the fall and spring semesters.
Campus Ministries Leadership Team: Backyard Bible Clubs – Melissa Butters and Jordan Neal; Big Brothers – John Bacon; Big Sisters – Brooke Basinger and Hannah Pilcher; Campus Outreach – Chad Bullington, intramurals; Kimberly Carlton, MKs, and Amy Vaughan, publicity; Christian Focus Week – Beau Landers, Katelyn Mustain and Jessica Schleiff; Discipleship Leaders – Preston Byrd, Natalie Polston and Alyson Walker; Dixsonville – Lauren Shawyer; Freshman Family Group – Casie Neal and Chris Norcross; Missions – Erin Young Woodfin; Monticello Children’s Home – Andrew Yates; Noonday – Emmanuel Engulu, Allison Grigsby and Jason Kirk; Photography – Kendall Calvert; Prayer – Lauren Tallakson; Refuge – Sky Howard and Mark Sumrall; Rough Draft Drama Team – Katie Willhite; Special Events – Cassie McKinley; Tiger Tunes – Hannah Hilburn; Tiger Tunes Assistant Director – Jillian Sharp.
Campus Ministries Special Awards: Community Service Award (four years) – Melissa Collier, “Behind the Scenes” Award – Hannah Pilcher.
Kluck Student Enrichment Grants Fall 2010: Fellowship of Christian Athletes — Beulah Osueke and John Johnson; Tri Chi – Abby Williams and Lori Motl; Students in Free Enterprise – Reuben Cash and Jay Robbins; Kappa Kappa Psi – Jessica Hensarling and Robert Hesse; Outdoor Recreation — John Bacon and Clayton Chapuis; Campus Ministries Big Brother/Big Sister – Katie Osment and Judy Duvall; Campus Ministries Operation Christmas Child – Caitlyn Wamble and Hayley Nolan; Tri-Beta Biology Club – David Pennington, Jim Taylor and Nathan Reyna; Program Design and Management Class – Libby Merritt and Mike Reynolds; Sigma Tau Delta – Sarah Stark and Amy Sonheim; Tiger Nation – Jacob Lively and Kevin Motl.
Kluck Student Enrichment Grants Spring 2011: Campus Ministries Art Worship – Sara Hanson and Hayley Hayes; Campus Ministries Backyard Bible Club – Audrey Melson and James Taylor; Theta Alpha Phi – Katie Willhite, Rudy Jones, Garrett Whitehead and Eric Phillips; Campus Ministries Women’s Discipleship – Alyson Walker and James Taylor; Students in Free Enterprise – Reuben Cash and Jay Robbins; Psi Chi – Amy Guiomard and Guyla Davis; Alpha Chi Honor Society – Amy Guiomard and Lori Hensley; Christian Ministires Christian Focus Week Men’s Dinner – Preston Byrd and James Taylor.
International Student Award: Woong Koo “David” Jeon, South Korea
Ouachita Baptist University established the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community in 1997 to encourage, coordinate and facilitate public service, volunteerism and community engagement throughout the state and region. For information about the programs of the Elrod Center, call 870-245-5320.