WALNUT RIDGE - Tessa Wicker, of Benton, has been awarded a Founder's Scholarship at Williams Baptist College. The award, presented through the Williams Scholarship with Honors Program, is among the most prestigious academic scholarships available at Williams.
It was quite an experience for former Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) student Barrett Baber (’02) as one of his dreams came true – performing at the Grammys. Baber, who recently won the nationwide Grammy Gig of a Lifetime competition, performed live at Club Nokia in Los Angeles and was featured in the Grammy Live coverage on Sunday, Jan. 26. The contest winner was determined based on public online voting.
RUSSELLVILLE – Jeff P. Cheatham Jr., 81, of Russellville, died Feb. 19 at Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center.
He was born July 15, 1932, in Memphis, Tenn., to J. P. Cheatham Sr., and Olga Mae Hathcock Cheatham.
Throughout the years, he served as pastor of multiple Arkansas Baptist churches. In addition, he served as associational missionary for Arkansas River Valley Baptist Association for about 12 years and as second vice president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC). He also served on the ABSC Executive Board, the board of directors for the Arkansas Baptist News and the executive board of trustees for the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries. He was an industrial chaplain with Valmac Industries in Russellville. In addition to his service to Arkansas Baptists, he served as pastor in Iredell, Texas, and Thayer, Mo.
WALNUT RIDGE – Dennis “Bose” Biddle, the youngest living player from Negro League Baseball, will speak at Williams Baptist College Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m. as a part of the college’s Black History Month celebration. The event will be held in WBC’s Manley Chapel.
Biddle, an Arkansas native, was just 17 when he began his career with the Chicago American Giants. After two seasons with the team, 1953 and 1954, Biddle was sought out by the Chicago Cubs. On the first day of spring training, however, Biddle sustained a leg and ankle injury, ending his baseball career.
He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin and spent the next 24 years as a social worker in the corrections system of Wisconsin. Although retired, Biddle still works with teens in a Career Youth Development program.
In 1996, Biddle founded Yesterday’s Negro League Baseball Players, LLC to support the surviving members of the Negro League Baseball teams and defend their economic interests.
The event is free and open to the public.
ARKADELPHIA – Jane Chu, a 1979 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, has been nominated by President Obama to chair the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House announced. Her nomination will move to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.
Chu has served since 2006 as president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City. Under her leadership, the Kauffman Center opened a $326 million facility dedicated in 2011, positioning it among the leading regional arts centers in the nation. The center is the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
“Jane’s lifelong passion for the arts and her background in philanthropy have made her a powerful advocate for artists and arts education in Kansas City,” President Obama said in a statement. “She knows firsthand how art can open minds, transform lives and revitalize communities, and believes deeply in the importance of the arts to our national culture.”
“The School of Fine Arts at Ouachita Baptist University is proud to have one of our own as the nominee to head the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Scott Holsclaw, dean of the School of Fine Arts. “I can think of no one better suited to lead our nation in the pursuit of artistic development and arts initiatives throughout our country. We wish Dr. Chu the very best in her pursuit of continuing the outstanding work of the National Endowment for the Arts.”
In addition to earning a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and Bachelor of Music Education from Ouachita, Dr. Chu holds a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University, an MBA from Rockhurst University and a PhD in philanthropic studies from Indiana University. She also was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.