My dearest Save OBU, I wish I could tell you how nice it was to be back on Bison Hill.
I hadn't been back for a substantial visit since I graduated a year and a half ago, but it still feels very much like home. Now that my husband and I have both moved on to bigger schools with very large campuses, OBU feels quaint-- in a good way.
Since it was not technically one of our homecoming years, Scott and I decided to be informal and skip most of the programming. We did attend the dedication of the Milburn Student Success Center on Friday morning and I must say I am very excited for such a great thing happening at OBU! For those of you who may not follow, the student success center (started Fall '08, my sophomore year) received a HUGE donation and is really blossoming quite quickly. Even in its first few years, I know that the success center was a fantastic resource for many students and so I am very glad that they have the funds to expand! Such excellent news!
After that, we wandered around Owens Hall to see what we could see. I was very glad to meet with a few of my favorite professors. We mostly discussed life, grad school, and the wedding, but I was also glad to hear that things seem to be looking up around Bison hill.
On Saturday we sat with Jacob and watched OBU stomp MCC. (Go Bison!)
And on Sunday (as Jacob has already mentioned) we got to meet with some current students as well as participate in the strategy meeting.
Overall, it was a great weekend of old friends and a chance for great family time. It's enough to make you miss living in Shawnee... almost.
To restate some of what Jacob has already said, I feel that this visit was very heartening. Specifically, after speaking with students and professors, my great confidence in the core of OBU remains. The general education classes that make OBU such a fantastic liberal arts university-- such as Civ-- are thriving. I cannot state my happiness that more students will be challenged in these classes as I was as an undergrad.
Of course, our job is not done. There is some rumbling in a few key departments, and we will keep our eyes on it.
But the good news is this: we are established. We are here, and we are not going away. Our goal is not to hate OBU, but to protect her. And we have built the necessary trust and audience in order to be able to do that job well. As we begin to retool our mission, I trust that we will be strong as we move ahead to work with those who make OBU great.
We are loyal to our Alma Mater, and all of the things we were taught that she stands for: Christian tradition, liberal arts, academic excellence, academic freedom, and integrity. I look forward to continuing to explore our role in upholding these virtues on my beloved Bison Hill.