OBU seeks Whitlock
BOLIVAR – The dean of Southwest Baptist University’s (SBU) business school is tops on the list to fill the vacant presidency at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU).
SBU’s student newspaper, The Omnibus, reported that David Whitlock is expected to accept the position in Shawnee, Okla., around Oct. 10. Marty O’Gwynn, associate vice president of communications at OBU, confirmed reports of Whitlock’s candidacy.
“He is the candidate who the search committee is planning to bring to campus in October for a round of meetings/interviews with OBU faculty, staff, students and trustees,” he said. “He is not officially the president yet. It would be premature to make that large a jump, but he’s the one man still standing in the search process.”
SBU President C. Pat Taylor also confirmed what has been reported.
“I am very excited about the possible opportunity David has to become president of OBU,” he told The Omnibus.
Whitlock will visit OBU’s campus Oct. 8-10. At the conclusion of the visit, university trustees will vote on whether he becomes OBU’s 15th president. Taylor nominated Whitlock for the leadership spot shortly after OBU President Mark Brister announced his retirement.
“I wrote a letter of nomination back last spring and it has been very interesting to watch this process unfold,” said Taylor. “You just see God’s handprint all over this because he [Whitlock] was one among numerous good candidates.”
Whitlock spoke with the SBU newspaper regarding the search process.
“For me this has just been a very pleasant, non-anxious series of interviews and conversations with the search committee,” he said. “It was a series of conversations about OBU and my experience at SBU.”
If approved by OBU’s board, Whitlock will leave a legacy that emphasizes integrating faith with business in a world where the two often seem at odds.
“A lot of [secular employers] have told me that it’s not critical to them that we’re teaching a biblical worldview, but practically what’s happening is that our students are going out and exhibiting a work ethic and standards that are attractive to employers, Christian or not,” he told The Pathway in a 2005 interview. “They can trust our students.”
During his nine-year tenure, SBU’s College of Business and Computer Science has won many top honors. Business Reform magazine named it as one of the Top 10 Christian business schools in four categories in 2005. SBU’s was the only business school in Missouri to be ranked in any category by the magazine.
SBU’s school of business encompasses eight academic majors and is the biggest academic department on campus, with nearly one fifth the student population. A distinct Christian feature of the school is its “Psalm 15 Plan.”
“We hope that Psalm 15 describes each graduate that comes out of the college,” he said, referring David’s description of a man of character “who may dwell with the Lord.”
While at SBU, Whitlock has also served as a bi-vocational minister at Wellspring Baptist Fellowship in Bolivar.
“I feel called to this role,” Whitlock said. “I was not looking forward to leaving. I’ve had a great time here at SBU, and worked to make this a place where students can go and be very proud of their degree.”