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Oklahoma Baptist University

Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) is a co-educational Christian liberal arts university located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and owned by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Established in 1910, OBU is ranked among the top five baccalaureate colleges in the western region in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report �America�s Best Colleges� ratings and has been Oklahoma�s highest rated regional college in the U.S.


500 W University
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Out State Tuition Fees
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Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Southern Baptist Church
Campus Housing
Mission Statement
As a Christian liberal arts university, OBU transforms lives by equipping students to *pursue academic excellence *integrate faith with all areas of knowledge *engage a diverse world *live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.
Green And Gold
Heartland Conf

College History


Prior to the creation of the Baptist University of Oklahoma by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in 1910, several other Baptist-affiliated schools were started in Oklahoma Territory. Oklahoma Baptist College in Blackwell began operation on September 4, 1901. The school fought financial problems throughout its history and closed in 1913. In the fall of 1907, the Baptists of Hastings, Oklahoma, Comanche County, Oklahoma and Mullins Baptist Associations opened Hastings Baptist College in the southwestern part of the state. A year later, the name was changed to Southwest Baptist College and then to Southwest Baptist Academy. It suffered similar financial challenges and ceased operation in 1912. Baptists in nearby Mangum were able to pay off debts of Southwest Baptist College and move the school to their city. It was reopened in the fall of 1912 in the First Baptist Church building and was called Southwestern Baptist College, then Western Baptist College. It was closed in 1915. A commission to plan the founding of a Baptist university in Oklahoma was established by the Baptist Convention in 1906 (one year prior to Oklahoma statehood) while in session in Shawnee. At the second annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) at Ardmore in November 1907, the Baptist Education Commission unanimously passed a resolution stating its sense that "as soon as practicable a new Baptist University be established.� A board of trustees was elected soon thereafter in 1907. A site for the university was sought, and from 1908�1909 negotiations were held with entities in El Reno, Lawton, Chickasha and Oklahoma City without reaching agreeable terms. At the 1910 annual meeting of the BGCO in Enid, the trustees reported that Shawnee had been selected as the site of the new university and that an incorporation certificate for "the Baptist University of Oklahoma" had been issued by the State of Oklahoma on February 9, 1910. The school�s Board of Trustees then signed an agreement with the City of Shawnee for sixty acres of land northwest of the town. The Kickapoo site, as the campus location became known, was deeded to the university by the Development Company of Shawnee. Shortly after the campus location was finalized, W.P. Blake, chairman of the trustees, and G. Lee Phelps, missionary to the Native Americans, visited the future building site. They gathered and arranged twelve stones, commemorating God�s leadership of the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Plans for the administration building had been drawn and a contract for construction of the building had been signed on June 3, 1910. The total estimated cost to construct, equip, and furnish the building was $140,000. The trustees reported that the City of Shawnee �through its development company, gave to the denomination sixty acres of land worth $1,000 per acre and a cash bonus of $100,000.� Dr. J.M. Carroll, San Marcos, Texas, was selected as the school's first president and construction on an administration building commenced in February 1911. Stained glass window in Raley Chapel The university opened in September 1911, holding classes for 150 students in the basement of the First Baptist Church and in the Convention Hall of Shawnee. Students came from other universities and preparatory schools, and at the close of the 1911�12 school year nine students received degrees. Included in the first student body were three men who later served as United States Senators: Josh Lee and Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma and Huey P. Long of Louisiana. A general depression in the State in 1911 however had a negative effect on the finances of the BGCO, as well as the development company that had promised the $100,000 cash bonus, which it was unable to deliver, and construction on the Administration Building was halted. After the completion of the first school year in 1912 Dr. Carroll resigned and recommended that operations of the school be temporarily suspended. His recommendation was adopted and the university was placed in a period of "suspended animation" while further organization and fund-raising progressed. The report submitted by the Board of Trustees to the BGCO annual meeting in 1914 discussed the need for completion of the construction of the administration building and recommended the convention "begin at once to provide for the equipment of the building and make other necessary provisions for the opening of school in September, 1915." Frank M. Masters, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ardmore and a member of the BGCO's Education Commission, was selected by the school's Board of Trustees as the president who would re-open the university. The Administration Hall (renamed Shawnee Hall in the 1920s) was finally completed in September 1915 in time for the re-opening. The university reopened for the fall 1915 semester with a total enrollment of 143; with about a third of them ministerial students. OBU has been in continual operation in Shawnee since that time. The name of the university was officially changed to "The Oklahoma Baptist University" in 1920. In 1915, Shawnee Hall housed faculty, staff, classrooms, library, an auditorium which doubled as a gymnasium, and the women's dormitory. Shawnee Hall did not house male students, as they were housed in two privately owned off-campus homes, known as "Hill Hall" (located half of a block south of the intersection of Kickapoo and MacArthur streets) and "Douglas Hall" (located on south University street where Bailey Business Center now stands). Shawnee Hall did not provide enough space for women's housing, therefore, in 1916 ground was broken on a new dormitory for women. The new residential unit was opened in 1917 and named Montgomery Hall, in honor of Dr. and Mrs. D.M. Montgomery, who provided significant financial support for the project. Montgomery Hall served as a dormitory, the fine arts center, the student center, and the location for administrative services. The original Montgomery Hall was located between Shawnee Hall and WMU Memorial Dormitory on the campus oval. The building was removed in 1989 due to structural concerns and a new Montgomery Hall was located on south University street west of the Bailey Business Center. From 1919 to 1928, campus facilities consisted of three buildings, Shawnee Hall, Montgomery Hall, and the combination men's dormitory and gymnasium. In the mid 1920s under the leadership of Berta K. Spooner; Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Oklahoma Women's Missionary Union, Baptist women of Oklahoma recognized the need for a new dormitory for women on Oklahoma Baptist University's campus. After a fundraising effort to procure sufficient financial support for the new dormitory, groundbreaking occurred in 1927 for the new facility. When WMU Memorial Dormitory opened in 1928, the building housed rooms for 200 female students, the university dining hall, parlors, assembly rooms, a recreation room, an infirmary, and a swimming pool. Due to the challenges of "The Great Depression" in the late 1920s to the 1930s, it would be another decade before another building was constructed on campus. Oklahoma Baptist University served as an army aviation training site from February 1943 through the summer of 1944, hosting the 91st College Training Detachment. Cadets lived in WMU Dormitory, attended classes in Shawnee Hall, drilled on the campus oval, and exercised on the athletic fields. During the time of the U.S. Army attachment during World War II, approximately 2,000 cadets were trained during the sixteen months of OBU retaining military detachment. According to John Wesley Raley, OBU's president during that time, "OBU's participation in the military program provided several benefits: Satisfaction that the university had participated in the war effort; favorable advertising through the cadets who had been on campus; the ability to maintain a strong faculty, despite the decline in regular enrollment which had dropped to 326 in 1943, the smallest enrollment since 1918; the maintenance and enlargement of the physical plant; and operating without a deficit during a 'most difficult period for colleges'". Although the university participated in the war effort during World War II, the university does not have an active ROTC program at this present time. Total annual enrollment in the university exceeded 1,000 for the first time in 1946. OBU was officially racially integrated in 1955, when the Board of Trustees approved a motion by Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs, pastor of Oklahoma City's First Baptist Church, to allow African American students admission to the university. In January 1964, during final examinations week, the school narrowly missed disaster when a man flew a small airplane into Shawnee Hall. The man had been hospitalized for mental health problems but had been released and was able to rent a plane in Tulsa. He radioed the Shawnee airport and reported that he was going to fly his plane into OBU's administration building. Authorities evacuated Thurmond Hall, which had been the university's administration building since 1954, and moved students to Shawnee Hall, the primary classroom building. Shawnee Hall had been the administration building prior to 1954. The pilot then flew his plane into one of the few empty classrooms in the building and when the plane crashed into room 307, the students made a calm and orderly exit. The pilot was killed and the exterior impact area along with two classrooms were badly damaged. None of the 300 students, faculty, or other staff were injured. Today, Shawnee Hall bears the scars of this incident. Although all damage has been repaired, the brick and mortar on the south side of the building is discolored in one area on the third floor when Shawnee Hall is viewed from the campus oval. Enrollment passed 2,000 for the first time in 1989 and a record enrollment of 2,440, with 2,011 on campus, was set in 1994. In 1999, acquisition of land north of the campus enlarged OBU property from 125 to approximately 190 acres (0.77 km2). Under President Mark Brister, by 2005, the university's endowment exceeded US$80 million. In 2007, OBU's International Graduate School opened in Oklahoma City, offering a master's of business administration degree. Acquisition of 10 additional acres of land at the southwest edge of the campus in 2008 increased OBU's property to 200 acres (0.81 km2), and in 2010, the university celebrated its first centennial. On March 9, 2012, tragedy struck OBU when a student named Ivan Maciuniak, of the swim team, drowned inside of the pool. �According to those at the pool, Iv�n was swimming when he went under water�, OBU President Dr. David Whitlock said. �He was pulled from the pool, CPR was administered, and paramedics arrived to continue CPR and transport him to Unity Hospital North, one half mile to the north of the RAWC, next to OBU campus. He was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after 5:15 p.m. A 22-year-old from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain, Maciuniak had joined his brother, Mateo, at the university in Shawnee, Okla., in January 2012, at the start of the spring semester. The brothers played a key role in helping OBU win the 2012 NAIA Swimming and Diving Championship on March 3 in Oklahoma City. The Maciuniaks were on the four-man 400-meter relay team which won the final event of the meet to claim the national championship in OBU�s first year of intercollegiate swimming. Approximately 200 members of the OBU community gathered for a time of prayer and support at 10 p.m. Friday, March 9, 2012. Mateo Maciuniak participated in the gathering and stood to thank the students for their demonstration of care and support. Dr. Sam Freas, OBU�s swimming and diving coach, also spoke at the event. Freas was with the team members throughout the night. Following the gathering, approximately 300 OBU students met in front of the university�s Raley Chapel for an hour-long prayer walk for the Maciuniak family and Iv�n�s colleagues on the swimming team. There was also a university wide memorial service the next Monday at Potter Auditorium as well.

College Specialty


As a Christian liberal arts university, OBU transforms lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.



Science Dr. Sunday O. Fadulu, Class of 1964. Professor of microbiology and chairman of biology, Texas Southern University; patent holder for a drug treating sickle cell anemia Dr. Michael Hunkapiller, Class of 1970, partner, Alloy Ventures, past president, Applied Biosystems, developer of the automated DNA sequencing systems used to sequence the human genome William R. Pogue, Class of 1951, Colonel, USAF (Ret.), NASA astronaut and pilot of Skylab 4 (third and final manned visit to the Skylab orbital workshop), the longest manned flight (84 days, 1 hour and 15 minutes) in the history of manned space exploration to date Dr. Ralph Faudree, Class of 1961. Provost, and professor of mathematics at the University of Memphis; has an Erd?s number of 1, having written over 50 papers with Paul Erd?s. Business Richard T. Cole, Class of 1975. Founder, Geeks on Call Dr. R. Kim Cragin, Class of 1994, senior international policy analyst, RAND Corporation Education Dr. David E. Garland, Class of 1970. Interim President of Baylor University; Bible scholar Dr. Charlton McIlwain, Class of 1994, associate professor of media, culture and communication, New York University, co-principal, The Project on Race in Political Communication Dr. Robert L. Lynn, Class of 1953. President of Louisiana College 1975�1997 Jorge Padron, Class of 1952. Former Vice-President for Academic Affairs (1973�1996) and two-time Acting President (1976, 1980), Drury University Courts Redford, Class of 1920. Former President of Southwest Baptist University; Executive Secretary-Treasurer (President) Southern Baptist Home Mission Board (now SBC North American Mission Board) Oral Roberts, Founder and Former President of Oral Roberts University Dr. David Sallee, Class of 1973. President, William Jewell College Dr. Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries, The Johns Hopkins University William D. Underwood, Class of 1987. President of Mercer University; former interim president of Baylor University Media and arts Joel Engle, Christian recording artist and author Jim J. Bullock, ex 1976, American comedian, stage, television and film actor. He has starred in Too Close for Comfort, Spaceballs and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Bill G. Chapman, Class of 1950. Advocate for the blind and author Bruce Fowler, opera singer John Holcomb, Class of 1988. Sportscaster, Sports Director, CBS affiliate News on 6 in Tulsa Dennis Jernigan, Class of 1981. Christian singer-songwriter Nathan Nockels, Class of 1997, musician-producer-writer, contemporary Christian music Jami Smith, Class of 1993. Christian recording artist Public officials Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma, former Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. United States Representative, Oklahoma District 5 (Republican) Joel Hefley, Class of 1957. United States Representative, Colorado District 5, Republican Ralph B. Hodges, Class of 1952. Former Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court 1965�2004 Shane Jett, Class of 1997. State Representative, Oklahoma House of Representatives Clark Jolley, Class of 1992. State Senator, Oklahoma Senate Robert S. Kerr, former United States Senator 1948�1963; former Governor of Oklahoma 1943�1947 Debbe Leftwich, State Senator, Oklahoma Senate Huey Long, former United States Senator 1932�1935; former Governor of Louisiana 1928�1932 David Lynn Russell Class of 1963, United States Federal Judge Kris Steele, Class of 1996. State Representative, Oklahoma House of Representatives Religion John Bisagno, Class of 1957. Evangelist and pastor; Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church (Houston, Texas) Dr. Avery T. Willis, Jr., Class of 1956. Author of "MasterLife", Senior Vice President, SBC International Mission Board, retired missionary, Indonesia Sports Bob Hoffman, Class of 1979. Men's basketball head coach, Mercer University Al Tucker, pro basketball player; 1967�68 NBA All-Rookie Team



Urban, 210+ acres