Addressing more than 500 messengers attending the 2013 Arkansas Baptist State Convention annual meeting at Cross Church in Rogers, Ark., Dr. Horne emphasized “who we are and what we do” as a Baptist university.
“We are a great value, both in what it costs but more than that, about the mission that we have,” he added. “Please listen to these facts. If you can afford to go to any school in Arkansas, you can afford to go to Ouachita. How do I know that? If a car dealer in your community tells you he will sell an automobile to you for nearly 50 percent off the sticker price, you will at least look at what he’s selling, won’t you? That’s about the average that a student’s family pays at Ouachita – about half the sticker price. Give us a look. Let us work with you.”
Noting that “Ouachita ranks presently in the top 10 in the nation in helping low-income students get their degrees,” Dr. Horne said a recent study of public and private colleges and universities in Arkansas shows that “Ouachita students graduate with the second lowest debt load of any college or university in the state of Arkansas. That’s very significant and that’s very important. It shows that we work very hard with your students to get them to Ouachita and help them achieve their purpose and goals.”
Voicing appreciation “for the support of you as Arkansas Baptists through the Cooperative Program,” he said, “We could not do what we do without you. The gifts that you give make up 6 percent of our operating budget. We are thankful for what you do to help us at Ouachita.”
Declaring that “we can’t separate who we are from what we do,” Dr. Horne told convention messengers, “We are unapologetically Christian and Baptist. We believe in the exclusivity of Jesus Christ; we believe in the full authority of Scripture. We recognize that texts and theories will come and go but God’s Word, God’s truth will endure forever. That is a great value. What we attempt to do at Ouachita is undergird and affirm Christian truth and what you are doing in your churches and in your homes.”
Acknowledging that “we are encountering change at Ouachita as you are encountering change,” President Horne added, “No one can deny that change is impacting not only our culture and our churches, our conventions, but also our universities.”
While three out of four students at Ouachita are Baptist, he emphasized the need to also impact students who attend other evangelical or non-evangelical churches as well as the unchurched. He said ways to help undergird Arkansas Baptist churches and the state convention include reaching prospective students through future online or off-campus programs to provide more students “a Ouachita, Christian, Baptist education.”
“Why is that important?” he continued. “Because of how our people serve.” Citing a recent graduate who is “working cautiously but courageously with women in an Asian nation” and another one who is teaching in South America, Dr. Horne said, “Across our state and nation there are graduates serving in churches, schools, government, medical, dental, athletics, broadcasting and many areas of public service.”
Dr. Horne said Ouachita students are encouraged to serve as opportunities arise rather than waiting until after they graduate. Current students are involved in tutoring, ministering to the elderly, conducting backyard Bible clubs, serving as big brothers and big sisters to area children and doing disaster relief work while also serving through mission trips and other ministry opportunities.
“The convention-wide emphasis on the Great Commission has always been a priority on our campus,” President Horne affirmed. He said a recent survey of Southern Baptist International Mission Board appointees across a five-year period found that more missionaries graduated from Ouachita than any other Baptist college or university in the nation.
“That doesn’t happen by accident. It is intentional,” he concluded. “We are committed. We are a value, and we are needed.”
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications