Contemporary higher education narratives can be negative, often deservedly so. Alternatively, Ouachita’s story is positive – in large part because of our determination to engage.
When Ouachita turned 100, the marketing around the 1986 centennial celebration promised that the university offers The Best of Life – an audacious claim, if you think about it. As a student, though, I wouldn’t have pushed back on it. Life on campus was the best I could imagine right then, or ever.
Carolyn Jean Green and the late Gustine Blevins, who in 1966 became the first African American graduates in Ouachita’s history, were celebrated Nov. 12 when the Green-Blevins Rotunda was dedicated in their honor.
As a senior communications major at Ouachita, Chris Babb ’99 sat across the desk from his advisor, Dr. Bill Downs, and told him he might want to teach. He was not sure what was pulling him in that direction but knew his future job also would involve sports.
Ouachita will expand its kinesiology program to include a Master of Science degree in exercise science, expected to launch in Fall 2023. Housed in the Huckabee School of Education, the master’s degree pathway will be built around the concept of recognizing exercise as medicine—an emphasis that has been foundational in the way Ouachita’s Department of Kinesiology approaches instruction.
Some might think starting a track program would require a track. Not Steve Guymon. Sure, it would come in handy. But while plans are in the works to build one on campus, Guymon went ahead and grew Ouachita’s cross country and track & field teams from seven athletes in 2019 to 90 this fall.
Growing up around Ouachita’s campus, Holly Kyzer knew Ouachita was going to be an integral part of her life, but she never guessed she would be a faculty member, much less an instrumental part of re-launching graduate programs at the university.
Equipping students to integrate faith and career as they build lives of meaningful work is a priority at Ouachita. And this fall, brand-new tools will be available to help them.
Actor, singer, Broadway performer and Ouachita graduate Jacob Keith Watson fell in love with the university while attending Super Summer camp on campus as a teenager. He was drawn by the discovery that the school had a musical theatre major—the only one in Arkansas at the time.
Around August, we (Angela and Matt) decided that we should start running every day. We had always talked about doing it, but it was always easy to think of excuses. Eventually, though, we decided that if we just woke up 15 minutes earlier each day, we could roll out of bed, run a mile and be back home by our usual wake-up time.
If you’ve ever wondered why Minden, La., is called “the friendliest city in the South,” one visit with Sara McDaniel ’98 explains it all. She is genuine, friendly, humble and kind – much like others you’ll meet in this sweet, Southern town.
Hang out in Evans Student Center awhile with Quantel Williams, and it soon becomes obvious why this is his favorite place on campus.
Ouachita prides itself in its personal approach to higher education, from the thoughtful attention prospective students receive during their college search, to the ways faculty and staff invest in students’ lives, to our commitment to tight-knit Christian community, which is built in dozens of ways for students whether they live on campus or attend classes online. During the pandemic, this level of engagement was challenged. Physical distance separated us; events, classes and residence life took new approaches.
It’s often been said that you can’t kid a kidder. Ann Chami ’83 would say that you can’t kid a kid.
What did we learn? Where do we go from here? These two questions have been at the forefront of my mind after attending a professional development conference that was equally challenging and inspiring.
Ouachita alumnus Dr. Justin K. Hardin has been named Ouachita’s vice president for academic affairs (VPAA), effective July 2022. He brings a strong background in teaching, scholarship and administration to his new role as the university’s chief academic officer.
When classes at Ouachita resume in August, Dr. Kevin C. “Casey” Motl will have a cool story to share about what he did during his summer vacation: He flew the Millennium Falcon.
There are a few things that seem to be in Matthew Shepherd’s DNA—politics, law, Arkansas and Ouachita. He is a fifth-generation Ouachitonian, a family legacy starting with his great-great-grandfather, who attended Ouachita in the 1890s.
I’ve always had what can fairly be called a black thumb. Even the most resilient houseplants haven’t stood a chance in my care. I went so far as to tell my husband not to buy me flowers or plants of any kind when we were dating. I didn’t want him to read too far into the analogy of a dead love fern.
When I think of momentum, my first thought is the idiom “on a roll” and related examples. I think of physically rolling objects, like a ball rolling down a hill, the cheesy inspirational poster of a rollerblader that was in my childhood bedroom, the infamous Indiana Jones boulder chase. But you also can be metaphorically “on a roll” with various successes in life, big or small. Is there a better feeling than hitting every shot on the basketball court?
The Ouachita Circle is a publication of Ouachita Baptist University’s Office of Alumni Relations and Office of Communications & Marketing.
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