News Articles

Okla. Baptist Univ. names 15th president

SHAWNEE, Okla. (BP)–Oklahoma Baptist University’s board of trustees has elected David W. Whitlock, associate provost and dean of the college of business and computer science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., as the school’s 15th president.

Whitlock will assume the presidency of the 98-year-old school Nov. 3.

“I see now how God has been preparing me each step along the way to serve in this day and in this place,” Whitlock said during a campus-wide announcement of his presidency. “So I pledge to you today that I will be a faithful steward of my experience for the betterment of this university.

“God’s providence has entrusted me with this great opportunity,” he said. “Knowing His timing is perfect, that His commandments are His enablements, and knowing He has prepared me and called me to this place of service, I humbly ask for your prayers as we work together for such a time as this.”

A fifth-generation Oklahoman, Whitlock taught business for 14 years at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Okla., until joining the faculty of Southwest Baptist University in 1999. He has served in a bi-vocational role as pastor or co-pastor of churches in Oklahoma and Missouri.

“Having been born and raised in Oklahoma, Dr. Whitlock will fit us well,” trustee chairman Alton Fannin said. “Having been mentored by Dr. Bob Agee and Dr. Pat Taylor, both who know OBU well, he is well prepared for this assignment. The people of Oklahoma’s 1,700 churches will be excited to meet this very down-to-earth person who radiates the Lord Jesus Christ.”

University trustees unanimously elected Whitlock Oct. 10 after three days of on-campus interviews. Whitlock was recommended for the presidency by an 11-member presidential search committee that included seven trustees, the 2007-08 chair of OBU’s Faculty Council, the 2007 president of the OBU Alumni Association, the 2007-08 Student Government Association president and Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

“I am delighted that the board of trustees has voted to call Dr. Whitlock as the 15th president of OBU,” said search committee chairman Stephen Allen. “Dr. Whitlock’s experience, vision and passion will enable him to continue in the excellent tradition of OBU’s past presidents. As we look forward to OBU’s 100-year anniversary and beyond, I am confident that OBU’s greatest days are ahead of us.”

Student government president Abby Jeffers said she anticipates growth for the university under Whitlock’s leadership.

“I believe that Dr. Whitlock will bring exciting new vision and guidance to OBU,” Jeffers said. “His view on faith and how he actively applies it to his life and to his career is outstanding. I believe that his understanding of and appreciation for the liberal arts will contribute greatly to OBU’s growth and development.”

English professor Bill Hagen said: “From my perspective as the faculty representative on the Search Committee, Dr. Whitlock has a devotion to Christ, a commitment to and understanding of academic excellence, and considerable personal warmth and genuineness that will serve OBU well, both on campus and in our relations to external constituencies.”

Born in Purcell, Okla., Whitlock holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southeastern Oklahoma State and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Oklahoma. During his tenure as dean of Southwest Baptist’s college of business and computer science, the program has grown in enrollment and earned recognition as a “top 10 Christian business school” in rankings of career placement and faculty quality, according to Business Reform magazine. Whitlock has been author, co-author or editor of four books related to business fields, and has been a contributing writer for numerous works.

Whitlock and his wife, the former Dana Searles, were married in 1987 and have four sons.

Whitlock’s presidency follows the 12-month tenure of John W. Parrish, who has served as interim president following the retirement of Mark Brister in November 2007.

Located in Shawnee, Okla., Oklahoma Baptist University registered overall enrollment of 1,753 this fall, with students from 39 states and 20 other countries. The university offers 10 bachelor’s degree programs, with 83 areas of study, and graduate programs in business administration and nursing education. It has been rated as one of the top 10 comprehensive colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 17 consecutive years.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

    About the Author

  • Staff