SBU leaders spotlighted as valuable
By Allen Palmeri
BOLIVAR—No one issued an official proclamation, but Oct. 21 was “Leadership Day” on the campus of Southwest Baptist University (SBU).
A military man in full dress uniform stormed through the doors of McClelland Dining Hall and took over the Stakeholder’s Room where the trustee luncheon was taking place. Gary Gilmore, a 10-year trustee from Mt. Vernon who serves as state chaplain for
the Missouri National Guard, was on a mission.
“I wanted to just barge in,” he said, mindful that he is rotating off the board.
“You can’t do anything to me.” The room was in a state of anticipation as Gilmore ordered SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Provost Gordon Dutile, and Associate Provost David Whitlock to the front.
“The success of any mission often depends on the caliber or the quality of the leadership that it has,” Gilmore said.
“In the military, that has to do with the youngest squad leader who’s just out of high school, or it has to do with the reserve officer training person who comes our way.”
He went on to explain that in the military, special coins are often given to fellow soldiers in places like Iraq, where Gilmore was deployed from June 2007 to May 2008. In his hand were Ephesians 6 coins on the armor of God that he proceeded to give to the three SBU leaders.
“It’s a warrior coin, and I say, my friends, you are fellow soldiers in the fight,” Gilmore said. “And I thank you for your ministry, and I pray God blesses you all richly in the days to come.”
The SBU family was full of emotion throughout the day as it reflected on the long tenure and significant contributions of its leaders. Taylor began his service as president exactly 12 years ago to the date. Dutile gave his final devotion to the trustees as he will be finishing 28 years of service to the university on Dec. 31. And Whitlock, who has been mentored by both men for close to a decade on the Bolivar campus, is now preparing for his Nov. 3 launch as president of Oklahoma Baptist University.
“I just wanted to barge in to say how grateful I am for the level of leadership that we have had at the top,” Gilmore said. “And I think it’s a great testimony when we bring a fellow onto the SBU team and other people say, ‘That’s the kind of leadership we need at our school.’”
Taylor made reference to the upcoming departure of Dutile in his president’s address, drawing laughter with the following statement: “He will retire effective Dec. 31, 2010.” Dutile quickly replied that he had veto power over that decision. Taylor also paid tribute to the work of Whitlock, who has served SBU faithfully as dean of the college of business and computer science and has been a part of school’s administration since 1999.
“This is a compliment to David, and it is a compliment to SBU,” Taylor said. “The selection of one of our deans to serve as president of a sister Baptist university is a great compliment to all of us here at SBU.
Taylor formerly served as the provost of Oklahoma Baptist University before becoming president of SBU in 1996. Whitlock has served as associate provost at SBU since 2006.