WBC honors Ring for 50 years of service

WALNUT RIDGE – A new facility at Williams Baptist College (WBC) will be named for the institution’s longest serving professor.

Joy Ring was honored at WBC’s commencement exercises May 9, for achieving 50 years of service to the college.

It was also announced that the Joy Ring Student Success Center is being named in her honor.

Ring, a professor of business, has served longer than any other faculty member in the history of Williams.

“Joy Ring’s love for Williams Baptist College and its students has been abundantly clear for half a century. She is a treasured member of our campus family, and there is no way of measuring the incredible impact she has had at Williams,” said Tom Jones, WBC’s president.

Williams is opening the Joy Ring Student Success Center this fall to provide expanded tutoring and counseling services for students, as well as a dedicated space for studying. It will occupy a spot on McClellan Drive, next to the WBC post office.

“Williams seeks to provide every opportunity for its students to succeed in the classroom and in life, so it is only fitting that this center be named for Joy Ring, who has worked diligently toward that goal for the past 50 years,” Jones said.

Ring was also presented a medallion commemorating her 50 years of service by Kenneth Startup, WBC’s academic dean.  She was given a standing ovation by the crowd, which filled the Southerland-Mabee Center.

Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge.


Ouachita honors 343 graduates, awards honorary doctorate to J.D. "Sonny" Tucker

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Celebrating Ouachita Baptist University’s 128th spring commencement on May 9, university officials conferred a total of 350 degrees on 343 graduates, including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education and the university’s first three Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees.

Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr., presented J.D. “Sonny” Tucker, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree on behalf of the university’s Board of Trustees. Tucker, a 1982 graduate of Ouachita, also holds Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn.

Horne emphasized that Tucker “is adept at analyzing and engaging young adults in ministries within the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and beyond.”

He added that “for many years, Ouachita has benefited from its relationship with this good man and the strong reputation he has built in service to God and the church.”

“From the deepest place in my heart, I want to express my appreciation for this tremendous honor,” Tucker responded. “To receive this recognition from a place that I love so deeply will be among my greatest honors and moments in life.”

Citing Ouachita’s “impact and investment in me” as a student, Tucker also expressed appreciation for Ouachita “being a place that has greatly impacted my two children.” He and his wife Nicki’s daughter, Megan Seyler, is a 2010 Ouachita graduate and their son, Curt, graduated from Ouachita on Saturday.

“When we brought them here, we placed an incredible amount of trust in this place,” Tucker noted. “We prayed about every aspect of our children’s OBU experience – from faculty advisers to majors to professors to friends to roommates and even spouses. Our prayers were answered.”

Tucker also affirmed Ouachita’s “impact on Arkansas, the world and the Kingdom of God,” declaring that “you are not a Bible college and you are not a church camp. You are a liberal arts university that is Christ-honoring, Bible-based and Kingdom-focused.”

Describing Ouachita’s graduating class of 2015 as “smart, bright, energetic, enthusiastic, questioning, discerning and incredibly committed,” Tucker thanked the graduates for “the impact you have already had and the lifelong Kingdom impact you will have.”

In his remarks to the graduates, President Horne highlighted the values of opportunity, symmetry, community and legacy.

“Ouachita has afforded you opportunities to learn, mature, succeed, fail, serve, worship, grow and increase awareness of the good and not so good that is a part of our world,” he said. “We pray that you will build on these opportunities.”

Horne said symmetry in life involves searching for facts, truth and living by faith. He added that pursuing genuine community is among the values that differentiate Ouachita as an exceptional university.

Affirming the class of 2015’s legacy as difference makers, he urged each of the graduates to “bear fruit and good works and do God’s work throughout your life.”

This year’s graduating class featured 143 honor graduates, including 21 who graduated summa cum laude with a grade point average of 3.95 or higher, 46 who graduated magna cum laude (3.75 GPA) and 76 who graduated cum laude (3.5 GPA). University officials also recognized 26 graduates who completed Ouachita’s Carl Goodson Honors Program and 34 members of the Alpha Chi national honor society.

Ray Granade, director of library services and professor of history, and Nancy Hardman, the Edna and Freda Linn Professor of Communication Sciences and Pre-Medical Studies, served as the commencement marshals. Raouf Halaby, professor of visual arts and English, served as honorary marshal. Retiring after 42 years on the Ouachita faculty, Halaby has been named professor emeritus by the Board of Trustees.

During the commencement services, Senior Class President Jamie Barker, a biology major from Smackover, Ark. led the invocation. Scripture reading was led by three students from the Pruet School of Christian Studies: Sophie DeMuth, a Christian studies and speech communication major from Rockwall, Texas; Blake Kutter, a Christian studies major from Farmington, Ark.; and Sara Walker, a Christian studies major from Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Stan Poole, vice president for academic affairs, introduced the graduates as they received their degrees. Danny Hays, dean of the Pruet School of Christian Studies, led a responsive reading and Jay Heflin, chairman of the Board of Trustees, delivered the prayer of dedication.

Ouachita Baptist University, a leading liberal arts university, is ranked nationally among America’s top colleges by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes magazines. Founded in Arkadelphia in 1886, Ouachita seeks to foster a love of God and a love of learning in a Christ-centered learning community.


Jerry Gay honored March 29

NORTH LITTLE ROCK - Steven Tiner (right), pastor of Levy Baptist Church, North Little Rock, presents Jerry Gay (center), former executive director of the North Pulaski Baptist Association in North Little Rock, with a plaque. A drop-in retirement reception honoring Gay, was held March 29 at the association office. Gay served as executive director of the association for 10 years.


First Baptist, El Dorado, reaches out to Murmil Heights

EL DORADO - Members of First Baptist Church, El Dorado, took part in the church’s God’s Light in Murmil Heights event April 11. Members visited every house – totaling more than 400 houses – in the local Murmil Heights neighborhood. They prayed over each house and handed out packages that included lightbulbs, information on God’s love and information about the church. The event was part of a series of outreach events being held by the church.


Hispanic revival held in Hot Springs

HOT SPRINGS - More than 100 people attended the final day of revival services celebrating the third anniversary of Iglesia Bautista Luz Divina in Hot Springs Saturday, April 18. Several area churches were involved April 17-18, including churches from De Queen, Hope, Hot Springs, Malvern, Gurdon and Little Rock. A group from Texas led singing. Pictured from left: Rudy Gutierrez, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista, Arkadelphia; Ruben Isturiz, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Emanuel, Little Rock; Eusebio Hernandez, interim leader at Iglesia Bautista Emanuel, De Queen; Pedro Escobar, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Rey de Gloria, Gurdon; Charles Purtle, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Calvario, Hope, and Fernando Amaya, pastor of Mision Bautista Principe de Paz, Hope.