On the Hill: Emily Chadwick

By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor

For all students, the road to deciding what to do after high school is different. Junior family science major Emily Chadwick never expected to be where she is today.

“What lead me to OBU?” Chadwick said. “That’s a funny story. I never had any plans of ever going to college.”

Chadwick was working as a nanny for her brother in the area when they decided to move away.

“I needed to figure out what I was going to do in the next season of my life,” Chadwick said. “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I was friends with a bunch of OBU students, and they were all like ‘Why don’t you come to OBU?’”

Chadwick had all sorts of excuses for not wanting to come to OBU.

These included claims about not being smart enough, or not having a high enough ACT score to be admitted into the school.

Chadwick’s thinking flipped after she found the determination with-in herself to want to be at OBU to learn and grow.

Chadwick was familiar with the OBU community because of her friends and family.

“I’ve always been amazed at and in love with the professors here,” Chadwick said. “Because all of my siblings previously at-tended OBU, I already knew some of them, and I knew that I liked them.”

Chadwick decided on a family science major during her time at OBU.

“I love family science because I love talking about people,” Chadwick said. “I want to know everything about people. I want to know why they do the things that they do, and what they want to do.”

Chadwick has a love for people and making relationships.

“I want to continue to learn and grow myself, while also helping those around me to learn and grow in healthy ways,” Chadwick said. “One of the biggest reasons I love family science is being able to learn about people and how people affect people.”

In the future, Chadwick is thinking about pursuing counseling as a career, though she is currently undecided.

“I really like hearing about people’s problems,” she said. “I like to love on people and listen.”

Chadwick currently works at the Hope House, a Youth and Family Resource Center in Shawnee. Her job involves making sure that kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing, like homework or another activity.

“It’s like babysitting or parenting,” Chadwick said. “It’s a very fluid job. You never know what is going to happen next.”

While the job is often demanding or challenging, Chadwick sees the reward in the eyes of the children she is caring for.

“The most rewarding thing is seeing that the kids are loved and cared for,” Chadwick said. “So, we have two little kids right now, around the ages of eight and nine. They have started asking for hugs. When they first came, they were afraid to ask. But now, they come up to me and look at me and say, ‘I just need a hug.’ It is the sweetest thing, and sometimes it makes me want to cry.”

Chadwick often looks for small ways to share the gospel with the people around her, and often does this by showing love to whoever she is around.

Junior biblical languages major Chloe Stokes has seen firsthand the qualities Chadwick displays. They attend church together at Temple Baptist Church.

“Emily has the unique ability of making everyone feel welcome,” Stokes said. “No one can feel alone when they are around Emily.”

Stokes also appreciates the way that Chadwick affects the people that she is around.

“Emily brings all of the energy to a room!” Stokes said. “Her laugh is contagious, and she is always laughing. Her love for everyone is evident, her friendship is invaluable, and she brings light wherever she goes.”

Adjunct professor makes lasting impact

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor

Thursday, April 25th, previous OBU adjunct professor, Brian Blansett, was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

“It’s a pretty big honor,” Blansett said. “A lot of first-rate journalists have been nominated and it’s an honor to be recognized beside them.”

In order to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, a person must be nominated and then chosen by a selection committee. Blansett was nominated by retired editor of The Oklahoman, Joe Hight.

Blansett said he knew as a third-grader that he wanted to be a newspaperman and since then it’s been a very fun ride.

“I didn’t have any particular idea what that meant at the time,” Blansett said. “I just knew I wanted experiences, and that’s what I got.”

Blansett has worked for the Stratford Star, the Ada Evening News, the Sulphur Times-Democrat, The Daily Ardmoreite, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Shawnee News-Star and was also elected as the president of the Oklahoma Press Association in 2017.

Blansett currently owns the Tri-County Herald in Meeker and Stroud American and said it’s the most fun he’s had in his entire career.

During his time at the Waco Tribune-Herald Blansett led the coverage over the assault on the Mount Carmel Center by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, as well as, an investigative series over the Branch Davidians, which was eventually a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Assistant professor of journalism Holly Easttom said that Blansett has done everything in his career to be an accurate, invested and professional journalist with an amazing personal style.

“Brian is an exceptional journalist, an exceptional educator and an exceptional human,” Easttom said. “In all of the individuals in my life, he’s in the top 10 of people I know, respect, admire and want to emulate to a certain extent, professionally. He’s the gold standard.”

While being a journalist and an educator, Blansett has also been a mentor to others in his field.

OBU alum, Nicole Smith, said Blansett made her the journalist she is today.

“When I first started working for Brian as an intern my sophomore year of college, I thought I was already where I needed to be as a writer,” Smith said. “But I quickly realized I had a lot more to learn and Brian had a lot more to teach me.”

Smith said Brian continued to work with her as a mentor and friend throughout her college career and assigned her stories most people wouldn’t give to a college student.

“He gives you challenges that he believes you can meet and exceed even if you don’t believe it yourself,” Smith said. “Then when you do succeed; he’s never surprised.”

Both Smith and Easttom said Blansett’s induction into the Hall of Fame is not a surprise and if anything, long overdue. Smith said to her he’s already a legend and always has been.

“His work with the Waco-Tribune more than speaks for his abilities as a journalist and leader,” Smith said. “This is more of a formal recognition of what anyone he’s worked with already knows. He’s the best journalist I know, and I hope he continues to mentor many more young journalists, because the world needs more like him.”

Brian will be back on Bison Hill next semester teaching photojournalism.

Terry James brings care, experience to OBU

By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor

If you were to sit in on one of associate professor of education and director of teacher education Dr. Terry James’s education classes, you would probably hear him say, “I think the teacher is the most important person in society today.”

James values education, learning and most of all, students.

James originally came to Oklahoma Baptist University in 2008 and served as an assistant professor of education.

During his time as an undergraduate student, James studied at Indiana State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree.

He completed a master’s program at Indiana University, and ultimately, a doctorate program at the University of Oklahoma.

James has always respected the profession of teaching and the function that it serves for society.

“I really decided in the eighth or ninth grade that I wanted to be a teacher,” James said. “I liked my teachers. I respected them. I thought that what they were doing was important. I guess I was fortunate, in a way, that I decided early.”

James is originally from Indiana, where he went to school.

“I majored in English, and taught English, Physical Education and coached some football and track in Indiana, then moved out to Oklahoma,” James said.

James has had many roles in the education system that vary in responsibility.

He taught in the public school system for many years, worked as both assistant superintendent and superintendent in different school districts.

When he was teaching in the public school, James taught English because of his love for literature.

“I thought, if I’m going to have to read all of this material, why not let it be something interesting and fun to read,” James said. “Would I rather read a chapter of a history textbook or would I rather read Dickens or Wordsworth? I’m actually reading the Canterbury Tales right now. I thought it would be more interesting and fun to read things that are considered great literature.”

James came to OBU after he retired from the public school system. He said he is very happy to be here working with future teachers.

“I can think of no greater privilege than to get to work with my future colleagues,” James said. “I am absolutely convinced that the teacher is the most important person in education.”

James is passionate about education as a system and as a deep need in our society. He said he believes that teachers are becoming even more influential and needed in society because of the functions that the schools serve today.

“I believe that the teacher is the most important person in our society right now, with everything that they are expected to do,” James said. “Teachers now have to analyze the deepest needs of a student and figure out how to respond to them. I have seen the role of the school increase over time, and the importance of the teacher, which was always important. So, what greater privilege is there than to get to work with my future colleagues?”

James currently teaches many education classes at OBU. He also serves as the director of the Teacher Education department.

Dr. James loves OBU and its students. He strongly believes that OBU prepares students to become great teachers.

“I think you all are wonderful,” James said. “I was involved in hiring maybe a thousand teachers over my career. I would hire you all in a second. I think the average OBU student is mature, a person of integrity, responsible and dependable. I just respect the students here, just who they are as people.”

Teacher Education students seem to appreciate Dr. James for all he does for the program.

“Dr. James really cares about you as a person and wants you to succeed,” freshman elementary education major Sadi Hostettler said. “I have learned so much more about our education system a how to become a great teacher.”

Remembering tragedy: OKC bombing memories still strong 24 years later

By Chelsea Weeks and Loren Rhoades, Editor-In-Chief and Assistant Features Editor

“I was actually walking out to come to work that morning and heard it. You could hear it from that far away.”

– Bobby Cox, baseball coach and assistant professor of KAL

April 19, a day of sorrow and remembrance for many Oklahomans. On that date 24 years ago, ex-army soldier Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder rental truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The truck contained a fertilizer bomb that after being detonated led to the death of 168 people and the injury of over 650 others.

Until September 11, 2001, McVeigh’s act of violence and terrorism was the deadliest attack to ever occur in the United States.

For most students on OBU’s campus, the April 19th bombing is an event that occurred before their birth, but for some OBU faculty and staff members, it is a day they will always remember.

“I was actually walking out to come to work that morning and heard it,” baseball coach and assistant professor of KALS, Bobby Cox said. “You could hear it from that far away.”

Cox said the baseball team was supposed to compete against Oklahoma City the next day but canceled the game due to the tragedy. The team rescheduled the game for a few days later and witnessed the wreckage on their way there.

“So, you’re driving across town and you could see it was still smoking at the time,” Cox said. “The interstate was raised at that point so you could see down in there and it was just like total silence.”

Different professors on campus said it was a time filled with questions for Oklahomans as well as for students on Bison Hill.

“If I had to describe it, it was just a lot of confusion,” HHP professor Dr. Norris Russell said. “There was a lot of ‘why?’ and ‘what’s the deal?’ It took a while for the whole situation to finally unravel.”

Although the event caused a large amount of heartache, it also brought people closer together. People from all over the U.S. were heading toward OKC to see how they could help in some way.

Professor of history Dr. Carol Humphrey said there were also OBU students with the desire to aid those who were affected by the bombing.

“There were a lot of students at the time who weren’t from Oklahoma, so they were shocked by it, but they also wanted to see if there was a way to help out,” Humphrey said. “So, I think in some ways it did bring people together in ways that had not been true before.”

The Murrah Building bombing changed the lives of so many forever. In response to the domestic terrorist act, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act of 1997, which established the site as a National Memorial. A task force of over 350 people was assigned by Oklahoma City mayor Ron Norick to memorialize those who were lost in the attack.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial was formally dedicated April 19, 2000, five years after the bombing. The Museum was dedicated a year later February 19, 2001. The mission statement of the Memorial was to “remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever.”

The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial consists of a multitude of elements to honors those who were lost.

Twin bronze gates frame the entrances to the memorial. 9:01 is found in the eastern gate and represents the last moments of peace. 9:03 is found on the western gate and represents the first moments of recovery.

In between these two gates lie the Reflecting Pool, a thin layer of water running over black granite. Those who peer into the Reflecting pool are supposed to see “a face of a person changed by domestic terrorism.”

168 empty chairs made from bronze, glass and stone can be found south of the Reflecting Pool. Etched in each chair is the name of a lost father, mother, brother, sister – a family member, a victim of hatred. The chairs were designed to represent an empty chair at the dinner table of a victim’s family.

In the southwest corner, the only remnants of the Murray Building have been transformed into the Survival Wall. Granite salvaged from the Murray Building has been inscribed with the names of over 800 survivors.

The 112-year-old American Elm that used to offer shade to vehicles, was damaged from the blast. Evidence of the attack was found in the branches and bark of the old tree. Many thought it would be lost, but a year later it began to bud and continue to grow. Its determination to survive mirrors the determination of those impacted by the attack.

On the anniversary of the attack, seeds from the Survivor Tree are sent across the country to be planted. For the 22nd anniversary in 2017, a Survivor Tree seed was planted right here on Bison Hill and can be found south of Raley Chapel.

The 33,000 square foot Memorial Museum strives to tell the story of the horrific domestic attack and the hope that followed after.

The cost is $15 for adults, $12 for students and free for children under fi ve. People from all over the country come to visit the site and get involved.

The 16th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon will take place Sunday, April 28, 2019. There will be a variety of races available for all individuals including a full and half marathon, a 5k, a kids marathon and a relay marathon. For more information about the race or to sign

Student perspective of movie “Us”

By Garrett Wheeler, Contributing Writer

“Us” follows a family played by Lupi-ta Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex.

They are enjoying a vacation in Santa Cruz when all of a sudden, they find exact copies of themselves standing out on their yard.

They must do what they can to fend off their clones while pondering why they are here and what they want.

“Get Out” was one of the biggest surprises of 2017.

It was funny, tense and smartly written with some of the cleverest twists and social commentary I’ve seen in a film.

The fact that it was written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele of MadTV and Key and Peele fame made it all the more surprising.

Needless to say, I was very excited to see “Us,” especially considering the trailers looked promising.

And I must say, “Us” did not disappoint.

From what I’ve seen so far, Jordan Peele has a knack for taking something that sounds initially simple but going all out with it.

As a result, the story presented is riveting.

It’s full of great ten-sion that permeates throughout the entire film.

But what truly makes the film gripping is the family itself.

Each member is likable, and they all play off each other very well. Their interactions were believable and highly entertaining.

They felt like a real family, and it was great seeing them spend time together. And that con-nection made it all the more exciting to watch them try and survive.

What amplifies the entertainment value of the family is the perfor-mances.

The main cast are phenomenal not just as normal people, but also as their creepy doppel-gangers.

Lupita Nyong’o in particular is fantastic.

The contrast between her two characters is truly outstanding, and she nails the comedy and the drama in every scene.

However, Winston Duke plays my favorite character of the film.

He is the quintessential dorky dad and I love him. He is endlessly entertaining throughout.

Aesthetically, this film is an improvement over “Get Out.”

It’s not a knock on “Get Out” in any way, but I can tell Jordan Peele has improved as a director in such a short time.

The cinematography is beautiful, the shot compositions are more interesting, the use of color is creative and the musical score is outstanding.

As a visual and audio presence, this film leaves more of an impact than “Get Out.”

Again, I’m not saying “Get Out” is bad in terms of aesthetics. “Us” is just better in those aspects.

However, I don’t think the “Us’s” script is as strong as “Get Out’s”.

It’s not bad by any means, but there are more flaws here. There are some dialogue moments that came across as corny.

Plus, the meshing of intense psychological drama and lighthearted comedy did not receive the balance that “Get Out” had.

Tonally, this film is not very consistent.

The biggest flaw this has is its use of ambiguity.

There are some elements that are ambiguous and some that are not. As a result, the film is not completely logically sound.

It’s a movie that if you think really hard about it, you will be able to pull the plot apart.

I’m not saying “Get Out” was a fully realistic story, but the way it was executed made logical sense and left no room for error.

“Us” was a little too hard to follow in terms of making sense. I know there are a lot of theories about what everything means, but they’re just theories.

I think if the film went all the way one way or another, the narrative would be stronger.

Despite its flaws, “Us” was a blast. It was a creepy, clever horror film with a great concept and great execution.

I do think “Get Out” is the overall better movie, but I personally had more fun with “Us”.

It’s not perfect, but its positives make me mostly forget the negatives, even if those negatives are quite prominent.

If you liked “Get Out”, then I think you’ll like this one. As for me, I am very excited to see “Us” again. Final score: 8/10 (Great)

Students juggle parenthood and classes

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor

College is a stressful time, but imagine throwing parenthood into the mix.

Three students on campus, sophomore nursing major April Miller, senior apologetics major Avery Wood and senior family science major Becca Ward are each in a different stage of parenthood.

Miller is a mother of six, Wood is the father to a nine-month-old daughter and Ward is pregnant and expecting her first child around the end of April.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 26 percent of all undergraduate students are currently raising children.

All three students said the hardest tasks while being both a student and parent are scheduling and time management.

“I have six kids that all play sports, and are all on academic team,” Miller said. “So, I have to figure out how to get them to their stuff but also find time to study.”

Each of them said that discipline is key, and that they must decide what of their studies are the most important to focus on and how to get everything accomplished in a timely manner.

For example, because Ward’s due date is in the end of April, she’s had to get work done in advance since she will be gone for a few weeks before finals.

“There has been a lot of planning ahead and figuring out what all I have due at the end of the semester so I can do it early,” Ward said. “Spring break was spent doing a lot of extra homework so that I can have it done and turn it in when I’m gone.”

On top of finding time to study there is also the issue of sacrifice, the sacrifice of personal time and even hobbies.

Being a parent is a full-time job, and people in the position of parenthood not only make these sacrifices for their children, but also for their partners.

“Having a child has definitely opened my eyes that children are, as scripture says blessings; they never count them as a curse, but they are a handful,” Wood said. “So, I do have a heart for single parents, because I couldn’t do this by myself.”

In Miller’s case, a lot of the load of taking care of the children and getting them from place to place lies on her.

Her husband works in the oil field and is gone for two weeks at a time, so when he is away it is her responsibility alone.

Miller said that she realizes now that she took school for granted before having children, but now she appreciates her schooling more than she did before.

“I wish I would’ve done it then, because it would’ve been a lot easier,” Miller said. “But with age brought focus, maturity and an appreciation for school.”

Although difficult at times, all three said they wouldn’t change their situation. They each said they feel called to be a parent and consider the opportunity to be a blessing.

For Ward, her pregnancy has been a blessing in itself. Both her and her husband knew they wanted to start a family at a young age, so this experience is something they have both been praying for.

“Pregnancy is such a cool experience,” Ward said. “There is so much anticipation and excitement, and it’s fun because everyone around you gets excited too.”

As a new parent, Wood said this experience has taught him that although life is sometimes tough, everything is doable with Jesus. Also, he’s experienced an unconditional love for someone that he never knew existed before.

“Don’t be afraid to step out of the water in faithfulness and say let’s have kids, even if I’m in school and have a job, because the reward and blessing are so much greater,” Wood said. “The consequences so to speak, pale in comparison to the rewards and the joy you get from having children.”


Dr. Abigail Mace brings experience to OBU

By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor

Dr. Abigail Mace is new to Bison Hill. She joined the faculty for the Fall semester of 2018.

Dr. Mace is an assistant professor of music and is currently the director of OBU’s Music Preparatory Department.

“I teach applied lessons, piano ensemble, piano accompanying and harpsichord,” Mace said.

Mace has a love for music, especially piano and harpsichord. Mace attended Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance.

She later attended the University of Texas at Austin to complete both a masters and doctoral program in Piano Performance.

“One thing that drew me to OBU was the fact that I had a similar background in my undergraduate experience,” Mace said. “The combination of strong academics and a strong music program was so similar to my undergraduate experience, and that drew me to OBU.”

Mace received the honor of being a recipient of a Full-bright Fellowship.

This program allows for recipients to study at an international school of their choice.

Mace chose to study at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Holland during 2010 and 2011.

Mace said that the biggest challenge in this process was finding someone to sponsor her while living in the states.

“Through God’s grace, miraculously, it worked out,” Mace said. “I got a sponsor over at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. The reason why I chose that particular school was that it has the largest early music program in the world. It has some of the top names in the whole field of Historically Informed Performance”

Historically informed performance, also known as HIP, seeks to know how music would have been performed in the time period that it was written or performed in, so that it can be performed in a manner truer to its time period in modern settings.

“[It] was a movement that started in the 1960s, that started to really flourish in the 1970s,” Mace said.

Mace is passionate about this area of study, and this movement. She said is a major reason why she chose to study at the Royal Conservatory of the Hauge.

“So, there’s this whole movement trying to perform music accurately, how the composers would have heard it, how the people of the time would have heard it,” Mace said. “My Fullbright Fellowship was to go and study harpsichord at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, with Jacques Ogg. He was my primary harpsichord instructor there.”

This field of music is still very popular today with many people in the community who love and care about the historical context surrounding classical music.

“It’s still a very popular area with many CDs of harpsichord music being put out all the time,” Mace said. “A lot of orchestral music is being recorded on historical instruments with gut strings, which has a totally different sound than the steel strings that we have nowadays. They don’t project as much, but they have a warm, rich tone to them.”

Mace believes that God had a major part in her travel and study to Holland and other European countries.

“It was amazing to be over in another country, living there, studying with these people that I’ve heard about,” Mace said. “It was just incredible. God did a lot of amazing things in my life during that time, too. He gave me a wonderful church home, Trinity International Baptist Church…I got travel to Italy, Germany, Belgium, and of course, all throughout Holland while I was over there in Europe.”

Mace is grateful and happy to be part of the Oklahoma Baptist University community.

Faculty speak at Half-Past Three

By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor

Thursday, March 28, the English Department hosted this month’s Half-Past Three gathering.

Half-Past Three is a time for English major, minors, faculty and anyone interested in the subject to set aside a little bit of time to hear from English department faculty or guest speakers and meet and spend time with those at OBU who have a love for English, reading and writing.

This event provides everyone with the opportunity to discuss with English faculty in a more relaxed setting than the classroom.

Four English faculty members were present at this March’s gathering: Crouch-Mathis professor of Literature and English Dr. Benjamin Myers, assistant professor of English Dr. Lindsey Panxhi, Associate Dean of College of Humanities and Social Sciences Division Chair, Language and Literature and professor of English Dr. Christopher Hair and associate professor of English and Spanish Dr. Charles Swadley.

Held in a room in the upper Geiger Center, this month’s gathering was focused on why students should, at the very least, consider being an English major or minor. Myers led an insightful discussion over the topic.

Myers was formerly the Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma. He currently teaches a multitude of English classes at OBU, including Western Civilization and Creative Writing.

During his lecture, Myers gave information about becoming an English major at OBU and defended the major against criticisms it: that it is unreasonable or impractical.

Myers encouraged students to pursue fields and careers that they love, and ones that they will want to do their entire lives.

For many students, English and reading are things that they feel a pull to, but do not pursue as viable career options due to the lack of understanding about the possibility that having an English degree brings.

Often, there is much apprehension surrounding a student pursuing an English degree from a parent.

“What you’re doing in your education is laying a foundation,” Myers said.

He said that having an English degree will open up job possibilities because of the writing, communication and critical thinking skills that a student would learn during the process of obtaining that degree.

It is also important to note that English is a very popular undergraduate degree for those planning to study law in the future.

Other beneficial aspect about Half Past Three is the opportunity to ask questions of the English faculty. They are genuinely interested in what students have to say and want to help find an answer to those questions.

Panxhi elaborated on a question from a student. The question was “Why minor in English?”

Panxhi cited many similar reasons to Myers. She also encouraged students to fulfill their dreams and passions in the literary world.

Panxhi also shared her experience of wanting to do something with reading and writing when she was in high school. She went to John Brown University and pursued English as a career.

Another option for students who love literature and English is to take courses as electives.

This gives students an avenue to explore their love for the subject without having to commit to an English degree.

The faculty presented important information regarding what is required to minor in English.

According to resources posted on okbu.edu, the English minor requires 18 to 19 hours of selected English courses. There are many different course options to choose from to fulfill these requirements.

Overall, it is evident that those present at Half Past Three are passionate about what they do and teach and are excited to share the possibilities of English with students.

At the end of the event, students were encouraged to stay and discuss their thoughts with faculty members, who were happy to discuss student’s academic plans with them.

On The Hill: Jude Balthazar

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor

“I want them to not take the land of America for granted,” Jude Balthazar said.
Balthazar is a senior vocal music major from Haiti who spent six years working towards studying music in America.
It all started when he was introduced to associate professor of music, Dr. Louima Lilite in the summer of 2009 at a music camp in Haiti.
“Since being introduced to him it’s been completely different,” Balthazar said. “I don’t think it’s someone I could let go of, for what I am learning and how I am growing.”
Balthazar was studying computer science at the time but wanted to come to the United States, so he asked Lilite if he could help him find a scholarship to come study at OBU or Biola University in California.
Lilite could help, but only with scholarships in the field of music. Thus, starting Balthazar’s career in vocal music.
“I never had a music dream, but one thing I always felt was that I always wanted to be on stage,” Balthazar said.
Before coming to the U.S. Balthazar had to first better his English.
While working on his English proficiency, he was invited to study music at a university in Trinidad and Tobago in 2013.
There he received an artist diploma in music performances.
Once he finished the program in Trinidad and Tobago in 2016, he began the process of applying to OBU.
Dr. Lilite said it was a miracle from God that finally brought Balthazar to the university.
“Loads of prayers were lifted up to God on his behalf,” Lilite said. “Donations were giv-en from all over the place until there was enough funding for the US consulate to grant him a student visa.”
Balthazar said once he arrived everything was completely different than he anticipated, specifically the academic system.
With English being his second language, not everything was easy for him to grasp.
Especially because the English he studied in Trinidad is not the same as it is here.
“Being here I have been in a situation where I have had to learn differently and grow differently,” he said.
Although difficult at first, Balthazar has used the opportunity of being at OBU to his advantage. Lilite said he constantly listens and seeks to take to heart what is taught to him here.
“His singing has blossomed and continues to bless many,” Lilite said. “He spots needs and seeks to meet them. He is much more mature and flexible now than when we first met. In this case, I am grateful to see OBU’s mission at work — true life transformation has occurred in him.”
Balthazar said being at OBU and in the U.S. has taught him that there is a better way to do things, and not only in the aspect of academics and respecting others, but also with his voice.
“I have learned to control myself, I have learned to manage myself and I have learned to let God use me to be a better me,” he said.
Lilite said that Balthazar has impacted his life in many ways and that teaching him has taught him things as well.
“To be able to mold a voice like Jude’s is a tremendous gift from God,” Lilite said. “I am humbled by the numerous ways God shows me His grace and faithfulness as I teach Jude. I grow more knowledgeable of the craft of voice teaching because of my work with him.”
Balthazar is grateful for what he has learned from Lilite and OBU. He wants people to understand that it was not a short journey that got him her, and that they should be thankful for the opportunities that are available to them.
“The reason why I’m here studying music is because I cannot do it how I wanted in my own country,” Balthazar said. “If I could do it how I wanted in my country, I would stay home and be with my family, but in order to get this you need to lose that.”

Dr. Donnelly brings experience to Bison Hill

By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor

Dr. Paul Donnelly has a PhD in Criminology and is currently an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Oklahoma Baptist University.  

Donnelly studied sociology in his undergraduate years at Biola University in California. He earned a Master of Science in Public Administration at the University of Texas at Tyler. Finally, Donnelly earned his doctorate degree in Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas.  

Prior to working in education, Donnelly worked in the criminal justice field for many years. He mainly worked in juvenile field of criminal justice.  

“I had an adjunct teacher who was a juvenile probation officer, and one of the assignments was to either write a term paper, or you could volunteer with one of the kids on her caseload,” Donnelly said. “Well, that was easy for me. I didn’t want to do a paper if I could avoid it.” 

Donnelly began volunteering with one of the kids, who was eventually arrested. It was during this time that he found his calling.  

“Then I started seeing him in juvenile hall,” Donnelly said. “I was pretty good at relating to this kid. I was kind of a bad kid in my own way, not criminally necessarily, but rebellious. It was like a light came on: this is what I want to do with my life. So, that led to a couple of part-time jobs working with kids that were involved in the system.” 

Many of the children Donnelly had worked with in his early career in California were either gang members or on the path to becoming one. 

“I was really good at it and I really enjoyed it,” Donnelly said. “After I graduated from college I moved to Texas, from Southern California, and got a job working for the Dallas County Juvenile Probation Department in the detention center.” 

He thrived in his job and received many promotions. He spent this next period of his life working in positions that gave him more and more responsibility, and he also went to school to obtain a graduate degree.  

“When I finished that I got a job offer as a chief probation officer in Corpus Christie,” Donnelly said. “I was there for three years. I really love Corpus Christie. It was one of my better jobs. Then, I was hired to run the largest juvenile correctional facility on the East Coast, which happened to be in Maryland.”  

Donnelly has held numerous positions in the criminal justice field that carry great power and esteem. He spent nearly 30 years working in the field, and then made a switch to education. When Donnelly retired from the criminal justice field, he went back to school to earn his doctorate degree.  

“I went back to school and got my PhD at the University of Texas at Dallas in Criminology, which studies the correlates of crime, because I wanted to teach,” Donnelly said.  “I had always hoped to teach so that I could take 30 years of actual experience and combine it with what I learned in the sciences, and then present it to students so they can be prepared to be Christian leaders in the 21st century.” 

One of the many classes that Donnelly teaches is Introduction to Sociology, which many freshmen and sophomore students take. In addition to an introductory textbook, Donnelly employs the use of “Generous Justice” by Timothy Keller to intertwine faith and content learning. He also teaches criminal justice courses. 

“I’ve been here six years, and the first three years I was teaching sociology and preparing a criminal justice major,” Donnelly said. “For the last three years we’ve had the criminal justice and the forensic psychology majors.” 

Donnelly hopes to prepare and inspire leaders who might come out of his classes. Amber Rodriguez is a freshman political science major who has taken class with Dr. Donnelly.  

“My greatest take away from Dr. Donnelly’s lectures was the importance of diverse worldviews and experiences,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone experiences life differently and that can be a very valuable thing to consider when learning. Being aware that there is more to life than what we know is the greatest tool and lesson that Dr. Donnelly has given me.” 

Students and faculty alike acknowledge that the method in which Donnelly teaches is helpful and thought-provoking.  

I appreciate that Dr. Donnelly encourages us to learn from each other, his Socratic approach really opens up the classroom to engage in discussion,” Rodriguez said. “He really makes it easy to find a connection to the lesson on a personal level rather than feeling like it’s just test material.” 

Dr. Kaine Ezell, an associate professor of English at OBU, shares similar thoughts. 

“Dr. Donnelly is a great professor because he himself is a seeker of knowledge and wisdom,” Ezell said. “Because he is seeking, it allows him to provide his students with space to seek solutions to problems based on their own experience and observation. He does not see himself as one who lectures students on the responses he thinks are appropriate to a given question, but he encourages students to provide input into seeking solutions.”