Williams Baptist University Board of Trustees Approves Budget, New Programs

The Board of Trustees at Williams Baptist University has approved the budget for next year, voted to add new academic programs and authorized a new fundraising foundation for the university.  Trustees also awarded professor emeritus status to WBU’s longest serving faculty member as the board met in regular session Friday, April 5.

WBU will operate with a $14.3 million budget in the 2019-20 school year.  The board approved the budget, which will take effect when the new fiscal year begins July 1.  The budget reflects a three percent increase over last year’s spending plan.

“This budget provides careful stewardship of the university’s resources, and it is focused on our mission of providing an excellent, holistically Christian liberal arts education.  More than dollars on a spreadsheet, this budget reflects our ongoing commitment to transform the lives of WBU students,” said President Dr. Stan Norman.

New academic programs are coming to WBU, following board action Friday.  A Bachelor of Science in K-12 Instrumental Music Education will be launched for students who wish to become instrumental music teachers.

The board also approved curriculum for the new Bachelor of Science in Health Studies – Gerontology, and curriculum was approved for a criminal justice concentration block within the liberal arts degree program.

Trustees gave their approval to a new organization that will help raise resources for WBU.  The Williams Baptist University Foundations for the Future was established with the board vote, and an executive committee was approved for the group.

J.R. Cox of Walnut Ridge, Ark., will serve as chairman of the group’s executive committee.  Jim Hayes of Franklin, Tenn., will be vice chairman, and Joe Shell of Batesville, Ark., was appointed as secretary.  Jay Shell of Batesville, Board Chairman Dave Russell of Jonesboro, Ark., and Trustee Jeff Dial of Little Rock, Ark., will also serve on the committee.

“The Foundations for the Future and the supporters who have agreed to help lead it will represent a major step forward for WBU.  The executive committee will provide us with valuable guidance as we seek to provide Williams with the resources it needs to fully meet its mission,” said Dr. Doug Walker, vice president for institutional advancement and operations.

The list of 2019 graduates was approved by the board.  More than 75 students are expected to graduate at commencement exercises on May 4, including the first graduates from WBU’s master’s program.  Five graduates will be conferred the Master of Arts in Teaching degree, making them the first to complete the university’s graduate program.

And the board voted to extend professor emeritus status to Prof. Joy Ring, who is retiring this spring after 54 years at WBU.  Ring began service on the Williams business faculty in 1965.

“Joy Ring epitomizes the incredible dedication to mission we find all across the WBU campus,” Norman said.  “She has poured her life into this institution and its students.  We appreciate her more than words can express, and the title of professor emeritus is entirely fitting for her.”

Trustees to the WBU board are appointed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, which owns and operates the university.  The board meets in regular session three times each year.

WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge.