OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University’s five academic colleges and Honors Program recognized outstanding alumni during Homecoming Weekend.
The awards from the College of Biblical Studies, presented by Dean Alan Martin, honored Mark Brazle (’75) – Missions; Toby Levering (’99) – Youth Ministry; Shon Smith (’91) – Preaching/Ministry; and Mitch Wilburn (’05) – Alumnus of the Year.
The College of Business Administration, led by Interim Dean Jeff Simmons, recognized Jimmy Arter (’98) – Management; Matt Cole (’99) – Accounting & Finance; and Cindy Smethers (’89) – Master of Business Administration.
Dr. Byron Newberry, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, presented awards to Laura Hazen (’05) – Engineering; Joshua Hensal (’03) – Mathematical, Computer and Information Sciences; and Jeff Turner (’00) – Mechanical Engineering.
The College of Liberal Arts, with Dean David Lowry, honored Gary L. Bruce (’74) – Music; Aaron Collins (’99) – Education; Susan Heath (’71) – Sports, Wellness and Recreation Management; Lani Gunderson (’09) – Art and Design; Heather Roberts (’03) – Language & Literature; Jill Brown (’87) – History and Political Science; Steve Lackmeyer (’89) – Communication; and Holly Towers (’02) – Psychology and Family Studies.
The College of Natural and Health Sciences, led by Dean Jeff McCormack, presented awards to Reagan Hightower (’11) – Nursing; Dr. Nancy Nesser (’84) – Chemistry; and Dr. Brute Wolf (’86) – Biology.
Honors Program director Dr. Jim Baird presented distinguished alumni awards to Preston Ackerman (’00) – Information Systems, and Sada Knowles (’02) – Family Studies and Vocational Ministry.
Wilburn is the preaching minister at the Park Plaza Church of Christ in Tulsa, a congregation of 2,000 people that supports 54 missionaries around the world.
Brazle served as a missionary in Belgium for 16 years before spending 20 years in ministry at the Church of Christ in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Brazle currently works at the Missions Resource Network as co-director of missionary care.
Levering was the family minister at Northside Church of Christ in Wichita, Kansas, for 23 years and recently became the congregation’s pulpit minister. He also co-hosts the Know Your Bible television program.
Smith was the campus minister at Memorial Road Church of Christ for nine years and also served as the vice president for church relations at Oklahoma Christian. He is now the preaching minister at Naperville Church of Christ in Naperville, Illinois.
Arter serves as vice president of minerals and trust property at MidFirst Bank in Oklahoma City and is a member of the Business Advisory Council for OC’s College of Business Administration.
Cole is a partner of Cole and Reed, an accounting firm located in Oklahoma City. He also serves on the Accounting Advisory Board for OC’s College of Business Administration.
Smethers is vice president and product actuarial director at American Fidelity Assurance in Oklahoma City and serves on the Finance Advisory Board of OC’s College of Business Administration.
Hazen works at Tinker Air Force Base as the engineer director for more than 150 engineers developing and maintaining test software for avionics for the Department of Defense.
Hensal began his career as a software and database developer at Chesapeake Energy, and now serves as operations manager of Lane’s Motor Freight Lines in Woodward, Oklahoma. He and his wife also served as missionaries in Vienna, Austria, for six years.
Turner works for John Deere as a product engineer in the area of transmissions and final drives. He has been awarded four U.S. patents for his ideas on off-highway vehicle drivetrain.
Bruce taught guitar as an adjunct instructor at Oklahoma Christian for 38 years and served as worship leader at Quail Springs Church of Christ. He now operates Bruce Piano Service in Edmond and plays percussion in the Oklahoma Community Orchestra.
Collins began his career as a history teacher and librarian at Cambridge High School in Idaho, and now serves as superintendent of Fulton County Schools in Kentucky.
Heath accepted a position as a physical education teacher at Westminster School in Oklahoma City immediately after her graduation from Oklahoma Christian, and has continued to serve there for 44 years.
Gunderson serves as assistant project manager at Timberlake Construction in Oklahoma City. Previously, she worked with the Design + Build Group and completed projects such as the Ford Center and Midtown Condos.
Roberts works as an attorney and uses her bilingual and legal skills to serve Capitol Hill Church of Christ’s Outreach Ministry.
Lackmeyer has worked for The Oklahoman for 24 years, where he has won numerous awards for his coverage of the Murrah Building bombing and other Oklahoma City events. He is the author of four books about the history of downtown Oklahoma City.
Towers serves as the executive director of Lilyfield, a nonprofit Oklahoma adoption coalition. She also is vice president of the board of “Shine! Honduras.”
Hightower has been an emergency room nurse at Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City and served on a partnership between Mercy and Kigali, Rwanda. She recently accepted an assignment as a travel nurse.
Dr. Nesser has served as the pharmacy director for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority since 2001. The University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy recently named Nesser the 2014 Ralph D. Bienfang Outstanding Practitioner.
Wolf practices ophthalmology in Tulsa and has performed more than 10,000 eye surgeries. He is the department chairman at Hillcrest Medical Center and an adjunct professor for the OU College of Medicine.
Ackerman joined the FBI in 2003 and has worked in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma City. He is the supervisor of the Oklahoma City Division Cyber Squad and program coordinator for computer intrusions.
Knowles, who worked at OC as an instructor in the Department of Psychology and Family Studies, now serves as middle school and high school principal at Oklahoma Christian Academy.
Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.