Norman Selected as 7th President of Williams

Dr. Stan Norman speaking Friday at his introduction in Manley Chapel

Dr. Stan Norman speaking Friday at his introduction in Manley Chapel

Dr. Stan Norman has been selected to lead Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge. Norman was announced on Friday as the seventh president of the university, following a five-month search process, and he will take the helm of Williams in April.

“I am incredibly honored by this selection and truly humbled at the graciousness of God to lead the WBU Board of Trustees to invite Joy and me to serve at Williams Baptist University. Six other men have served the Lord faithfully as president of WBU, and I recognize that I will stand on their shoulders and that my efforts will benefit from their sacrificial service and contributions,” Norman said.

Norman comes to Williams from Oklahoma Baptist University, where he has served for the past nine years as provost and executive vice president. He has worked in Baptist higher education since 1996 as both a professor and administrator, and he previously served as a pastor at three churches in Texas.

His hiring was heralded by leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. David Dockery, former president of Union University, nominated Norman for the presidency at Williams and voiced excitement at his selection.

“Stan Norman is a gifted educator and faithful Christ follower who will serve well the Williams community as well as Arkansas Baptists. He is committed to a vision of distinctive Christ-centered education that will inspire faculty, staff, and students. I truly believe that Stan Norman will bring the kind of quality leadership to the work at Williams that will help extend and expand the influence and impact of WBU throughout the South. It will be a privilege to watch, cheer, and pray for Stan and Joy Norman and the Williams community in the days to come,” Dockery said.

“Dr. Stan Norman is a stellar example of a rare breed in academia. He is a brilliant scholar in his field of theology, and he is terrific in the classroom. While on the faculty at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, he was one of our most popular professors. He has outstanding administrative gifts and a close connection with Southern Baptists, knowing our churches very, very well. With Dr. Stan Norman at the helm, great days are ahead for Williams Baptist University,” said Dr. Chuck Kelley, president of NOBTS.

Dr. Sonny Tucker is executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, which owns and operates Williams. He also extended a warm welcome to Norman.

“I am incredibly excited about Stan Norman joining Williams Baptist University and the Arkansas Baptist family. Stan is a delightful person who brings strong leadership skills and an impressive background to the helm of WBU. Stan’s wife, Joy, is a gracious, wonderful lady and will be well received by the university’s family and this state. Stan will continue and build upon the impressive work of WBU’s previous presidents and lead the university to continued significant Kingdom impact,” Tucker said.

“Dr. Norman quickly rose to the top in our search process. He is very impressive,” said J.R. Cox of Walnut Ridge, chair of the Williams Board of Trustees. “His experience and the wonderful demeanor we saw in him and his wife, Joy, are an ideal fit for our university. We are delighted to welcome them to Williams.”

The search committee was led by Dr. Bob Magee, music professor and chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Williams. Magee said Norman was nominated for the presidency by Dockery, and he then agreed to be considered for the position.

“Our committee was looking for someone with extensive leadership and administrative qualities, as well as experience in an academic setting. Dr. Norman’s years at Criswell College, Charleston Southern University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwest Baptist University and Oklahoma Baptist University assured us that he was well qualified,” Magee commented.

Norman earned his bachelor’s degree at Criswell College in Dallas, and he holds both a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth.

He said he will strive to maintain and build upon the Christian commitment at the heart of Williams.

”In this regard, I will work to enhance the vibrant, relevant mission of the university. I intend to develop strategic plans and structures to ensure the ongoing viability and growth of Williams. I will also work to identify and implement initiatives and programs that creatively and effectively expand the influence and impact of the university regionally and globally,” he commented.

The new president plans to begin work quickly, with a starting date of April 2.

“I want to meet and get acquainted with the faculty, staff, students and alumni. I also want to learn in greater depth the story and legacy of the mission and vision of WBU. I intend to participate in ‘getting to know you’ events around the state with Arkansas Baptists and WBU alums and friends,” he said.

Norman said he will also work to learn the overall operations at Williams as quickly as possible, and he wants to launch a collaborative effort to develop goals for the next three to five years.

“I hope to work with the WBU community to strengthen and grow the efforts of the university to transform the lives of students to embrace their vocations as callings of excellence and who view their vocations as platforms for ministry and witness,” he noted.

Norman is a Durant, Okla., native. He and his wife, Joy, have three grown sons.

He replaces Dr. Tom Jones, who served as president for five and a half years before leaving for a position with the California Baptist Foundation last fall.

Williams announced in September that it would transition from Williams Baptist College to Williams Baptist University. School officials say that transition is now well underway and will be completed this summer.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge, offering over 25 majors across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines. It was founded in 1941, and it has an average fall enrollment of 500 students.

Articulation agreement reached with NWACC

University of the Ozarks has entered into an articulation agreement with Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) in Bentonville, Ark., to simplify the process for students at NWACC who want to transfer to U of O.

Under this new partnership, a number of NWACC degrees—Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S), Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S)—are now acceptable for transfer articulation to bachelor degrees at Ozarks. The transferring students would be admitted to Ozarks with junior status and could complete their bachelor’s degree in two years.

Dr. Alyson Gill, provost at U of O, said the agreement will allow NWACC students to start their education with quality courses, close to home, and know that their coursework will count toward a four-year degree at U of O later.

“The role that NWAAC plays in the state of Arkansas is an essential one, and this agreement recognizes that students often wish to begin their educational journey close to home while taking high-quality courses leading to an associate degree,” Gill said. “The importance of this agreement is that it creates a clear and open road forward for NWAAC students following graduation—allowing them to transfer to U of O in a seamless way. This will, in turn, make them more marketable should they be moving into the workforce after graduation or allow them to move easily into a competitive graduate program.”

The agreement was finalized in a memorandum of understanding signed by U of O President Richard Dunsworth and NWACC President Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson earlier this semester. It officially begins in the Fall 2018 Semester.

“This partnership allows us to provide a strong liberal arts education to students from one of the fastest growing areas in the United States,” said Reggie Hill, U of O’s assistant vice president for advancement and director of enrollment management. “It sets a clear pathway from Northwest Arkansas Community College to University of the Ozarks and these students will go back to Northwest Arkansas and become leaders in their communities.”

Established in 1990, NWACC has more than 7,200 students enrolled in more than 50 academic and technical programs.

Williams Theatre Program to Close Season with “Silent Sky”

The Williams Baptist College theatre program will close its 2017-18 season with Lauren Gunderson’s “Silent Sky.” The production will run Thursday, April 5, and Friday, April 6, in WBC’s Old Chapel.

The play tells the true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt and explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them.

When Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s theories.

“It is very similar to the story behind ‘Hidden Figures,’” explained Melinda Williams, director of the production. “It tells the story of women who made great contributions in the field of science and astronomy.”

The director went on to add that the plot also involves the conflict of balancing personal and professional lives. “This conflict is something that we all deal with and apparently have for centuries,” Williams noted.

Appearing in the production are Allison Turbyeville of Black Rock, MaKenzie Free of Beebe, Kristin Britt of Chandler, Tex., Melanie McKuin of Dexter, Mo., and Luke Windham of Capetown, South Africa.

“Portraying characters based on real people presents new challenges to the actors,” Williams said. “It turns into a wonderful teaching experience.”

Admission to the play will be $5 general public and $3 for senior citizens and students. Curtain time is set for 7:30 p.m. each night.

Williams is a Christian university in Walnut Ridge. It will officially become Williams Baptist University in July.

Central Baptist College Expands Ministry Tuition Grant Program

Central Baptist College (CBC) is pleased to announce an expansion of the Ministry Tuition Grant. Previously designated the Ministers Discount, the Ministry Tuition Grant has, for many years, been available to those in a traditional degree program who are licensed or ordained to the preaching ministry and actively attending or serving in a Baptist Missionary Association of America (BMAA), Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), or American Baptist Association (ABA) church. Wives and dependent children of those who met these qualifications were also eligible to receive the grant.

At the March 2018 Board of Trustee’s Meeting, the Ministry Tuition Grant was extended to those enrolled in the Professional Adult College Education (PACE) Department and to missionaries serving through the BMAA Missions Department or the International Missions Board (IMB). Wives and dependent children of those who meet the eligibility requirements will also be eligible to receive the grant if they enroll in the PACE Department, as will wives and dependent children of qualified missionaries.

“We are honored to be able to extend the Ministry Tuition Grant to students in our PACE Department and to missionaries serving around the globe,” said CBC President Terry Kimbrow. “Central Baptist College has supported those in the preaching ministry through higher education since the inception of the College in 1952. These changes to the Ministry Tuition Grant continue our support and allow prospective students the opportunity to choose the program delivery that best fits their current needs.”

The Ministry Tuition Grant ranges from a tuition grant of 20% to a tuition grant of 50%, depending upon the program in which students are enrolling and their denominational affiliation. In order to qualify, all eligibility requirements must be met and all required documentation must be submitted for verification. Full eligibility details, required documentation, and applications can be found online at

For more information about enrolling at Central Baptist College, contact the Admissions Office at 501.329.6873 or

JBU Construction Management Students Take Second in Regional Competition

John Brown University construction management students received second place in the commercial building category at the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Region 5 annual competition in Dallas, sponsored by TEXO. University teams in this category were asked to develop a construction project proposal primarily for a public or private building and make a formal team presentation to a panel of construction professionals.

“This competition tests university students’ ability to solve problems that construction management professionals deal with in the real world,” Mark Terrill, assistant professor of construction management and team coach, said. “We are thankful to the ASC and TEXO for the opportunity to compete, but most importantly, we are proud of our students’ performance.”

Construction management competition

(from left to right) JBU freshman Kyle Beardsley received a scholarship from the TEXO foundation. JBU construction management students Bryan Harmon, Peter Choi, Emiley Hegel, Ethan Bolthouse, Brendan Culp and Philip Braun received second place in the commercial building category at the Associated Schools of Construction Region 5 annual competition.

For this year’s project, teams had to develop costs, work schedules, subcontractor bids, specifications and plans to resolve potential quality or safety issues for Mirmar Development Center in Irving, Texas, that was built four years ago. Once teams received the project specifications, they had 16 hours to complete their project and prepare a presentation before traveling to Dallas to present in front of judges. Judges evaluated teams on the overall feasibility of their plans, safety proposals and the quality of their presentations.

JBU senior Emiley Hegel won Best Presenter in the commercial category and freshman Kyle Beardsley received a scholarship from the TEXO foundation.

“I am so proud of the work we did to get there,” Hegel said. “We are the smallest school that participates in this competition, which can be intimidating at times, but the construction management program at JBU trains us well to be able to work professionally in the construction environment.”

Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas) placed first and University of Oklahoma (Norman, Oklahoma) took third. Other universities represented were Texas A&M Commerce, Texas State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Texas Tech University. In 2016, JBU construction management program had a team place first in both the commercial building and heavy civil divisions.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

JBU Athletic Director Robyn Daugherty Named 2017-18 NAIA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year

Robyn Daugherty

JBU Director of Athletics Robyn Daugherty has been named the 2017-18 NAIA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

John Brown University is pleased to announce that JBU Director of Athletics Robyn Daugherty has been named the 2017-18 NAIA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year (ADOY) by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Daugherty will accept her award during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon at NACDA’s 53rd Annual Convention at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on Friday, June 29.

“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award,” Daugherty said. “This award really speaks to my team of coaches and support personnel who work tirelessly to represent our institution well as they coach and mentor our student-athletes. We all want to win, but more importantly we want our student-athletes to grow and be prepared for their future – to keep academics a priority, to graduate, to learn about the inner workings of successful teams for life after college and to grow as individuals.”

Since Daugherty became director of athletics in 2006, 152 JBU student-athletes have been named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, which recognizes juniors and seniors who have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. In addition, JBU athletics has been recognized as a Champions of Character Five-Star Institution earning either a gold or silver-level nomination by the NAIA each of the 16 years the initiative has been awarded.

“Robyn is one of the main reasons for the success we have had, not only on the field and court, but also in our student-athletes’ success in the classroom with athletes recording the highest GPAs in the school history in the last couple of years,” Jeff Soderquist, JBU head women’s basketball coach said. “She has also built up one of the top coaching staffs in all the NAIA, empowering us as coaches to do our job and do it well. Robyn is so well deserving of this award.”

Under Daugherty’s leadership, four JBU teams have earned 11 trips to national tournaments in their respective sports. One men’s cross country student-athlete has appeared in three national tournaments.

Daugherty currently serves on the NAIA’s Hall of Fame Committee and the Executive Committee for the Sooner Athletic Conference. She has completed terms on the National Administrative Council, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, Executive Committee as a College Division representative, the Competitive Experience Committee and NAIA’s Direct Qualification Task Force. In 2011, she was named the Sooner Athletic Conference Athletic Director of the Year.

A 1985 graduate of JBU and member of the women’s volleyball team from 1982-1985, Daugherty coached the volleyball program from 1990 to 2010 before retiring from coaching to focus full time on her role as athletic director.

“Robyn, with the knowledge and understanding as a student, a coach and now an administrator, is able to build relationships and bridge barriers between them all to accomplish the best for JBU athletics,” Dr. Steve Beers, JBU vice president of student development, said. “She is characterized by integrity and fairness for all.”

“We have a unique opportunity to challenge, encourage and shape student-athletes to give 100 percent and become better people, community members and followers of Jesus Christ,” Daugherty said. “I am so thankful that JBU took a chance on me and gave me this opportunity to grow personally and professionally. JBU is a great place to work and I feel blessed each and every day to be a part of JBU and JBU Athletics.”

For 20 years, the ADOY program recognizes intercollegiate athletic directors who have shown significant contributions and administrative excellence at their institution over the course of the last year. The award annually honors 28 athletic directors, four from each of the seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior/Community Colleges).

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

Williams Students Inducted Into Sigma Tau Delta

Two students at Williams Baptist College have been inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. They were inducted into the Alpha Delta Pi chapter of the society at WBC during a ceremony on February 28.

Students selected for membership in Sigma Tau Delta must be of high academic standing. The society requires that inductees rank in the top 35% of their class and carry an overall grade point average of at least 3.0.

The inductees are Melanie McKuin of Dexter, Mo. and Maggie Morgan of Mammoth Spring, Ark.

McKuin is the daughter of Barry and Kim McKuin and Morgan is the daughter of Charles and Tami Morgan.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts college in Walnut Ridge, Ark. It will become Williams Baptist University in July of 2018.

Williams Theatre Department Presents The Story Store

Every year, elementary students from around Northeast Arkansas submit stories to The Story Store, which is an annual children’s production put on in conjunction with Williams Baptist College and the Northeast Arkansas Educational Co-op.

Gifted and Talented students from around the region submit their stories to Melinda Williams, assistant professor of communications arts at WBC, and she combines their submissions into a play.

The Story Store began in 2001, after Williams attended a workshop in Fayetteville which took submissions from students all over the state and created the play, Arts Live. Williams brought the concept to Northeast Arkansas, where GT students follow a prompt to create their own characters and story.

“I enjoy working on The Story Store because of the impact it has on the kids. The children remember this experience,” said Williams.

Ryan Curtis, a sophomore at WBC, is an example of the influence The Story Store has on the children in the region. Curtis’ story was selected when he was in elementary school, and he still remembers what he wrote.

“The theme that year was heroes. Most of my paper was focused on my dad and his responsibilities as a volunteer firefighter. I remember that it was all about how I admired him in my eyes,” noted Curtis.

Not only does the production impact the students who submit their work, it also has a significant meaning to the Williams actors and actresses who perform in the show, like sophomore Maggie Morgan.

“My sister did The Story Store when she was in college at Williams, so there is a bit of nostalgia. This play means a lot to me, personally, as it is a way for me to be creative on stage. I look forward to it all year,” said Morgan.

Story Store participants

Williams Baptist students participating in the presentation of The Story Store

The performance was held on February 7, at the Walnut Ridge community center.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge, Ark. It will officially become Williams Baptist University in July.

JBU Announces Lowest Percent Increase for 2018-2019 Undergraduate Tuition, Room & Board

Upgrade to Undergraduate Meal Plan Introduced to Room & Board

The John Brown University Board of Trustees announced this week a 2.75 percent increase, the lowest rate increase in more than three decades, for undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board. The rate increase for 2018-2019 academic year amounts to $968, the lowest dollar change in 14 years.

JBU also announced new flexible dining options and extended cafeteria hours to better meet the needs of the diverse student body. The new meal plans relieve some of the restrictions on when and how students can use the plans, which JBU believes will allow students to get more value from the plans. In addition to the standard meal plans, enhancements and additional flex options are available from $20-$300.

Although exact board costs may vary slightly based on selected flexible dining options, the cost breakdown for undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board for 2018-19 is:

Increase Total
Tuition& Fees $784 $26,928
Room $88 $4,424
Board $96 $4,800
TOTAL $968 $36,152

“Recognized as one of the best values in Christian higher education, we continue to be committed to making JBU affordable for our students so that they can attain a top-tier education,”

Dr. Kim Hadley, vice president for finance and administration, said. “To help offset price increases necessary to cover our operational expenses, we provide millions of dollars each year in need and merit-based institutional scholarships for students.”

To help with the increase, the university will make an additional $450,000 available for need and merit-based institutional scholarships, approximately a three percent increase over last year’s amount. For the 2018-19 academic year, JBU expects to award just under $16 million in scholarships with 90 percent of JBU students receiving some form of institutional aid.

Tuition for online undergraduate students remains flat at $420 per credit hour. Tuition for graduate students continues at $560 per credit hour for graduate business and graduate counseling, $460 per credit hour for graduate education and $600 per credit hour for graduate cybersecurity majors.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

University of the Ozarks receives Chamber honor

University of the Ozarks was selected as the 2017 Corporate Business of the Year at the annual Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet, held Feb. 3 at the Cabin Creek Lookout in Lamar.

In presenting the award, chamber officials cited the University for its record enrollment of 755 students during the fall semester as well as its current $55 million Climb Higher fund-raising campaign to increase student scholarship opportunities and to enhance science and athletic facilities.

Representatives of University of the Ozarks celebrate their award

Representing the University at the banquet included, (pictured from left) Joey Long, a freshman biology major from Cabot; Pat Pearson, administrative assistant for alumni relations; Chris Allen, a member of the Board of Trustees; Brett Wood, director of alumni relations; Nicole Wood, a senior health science major from Clarksville; Ruth Walton, director of career services; Larry Isch, director of public and media relations; Dr. Scott Sheinfeld, assistant professor of business; and Ramona Cogan, office manager for marketing and public relations.

Also at the Chamber Awards Banquet, El Parian restaurant was named the 2017 Small Business of the Year, Tom Cogan was presented with the Lee White Legacy Award and Carol Martin was honored with the Pillar of Progress Award.