Monday, October 24, 2011

SBU Homecoming 2011: Cirque Du Southwest Alumni Awards

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Sharina Smith, Office of Marketing & Communications
417-328-1803 /

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Southwest Baptist University will be celebrating Homecoming 2011 on Friday, October 28, and Saturday, October 29. Students will begin their activities earlier in the week with traditional events such as "Spirit Chapel" and "Bed Races." This year’s theme is “Cirque Du Southwest.”

Alumni will have the opportunity to catch up with classmates on Friday at a pre-dinner social followed by a banquet. On Saturday, everyone is invited to the parade starting at 10:00 a.m., followed by the football game where the SBU Bearcats face the Griffons of Northwest Missouri State University at 2:00 p.m.

Approximately 2,000 SBU alumni and their families are expected to come to Bolivar for the homecoming events. Bolivar businesses are encouraged to decorate their windows using the homecoming theme and the SBU school colors, purple and white.

For more information about parade entries, participating in the car show, or other Homecoming activities, contact the SBU Homecoming hotline at 417-328-1806, or visit the SBU website at:

Alumni Awards Life Service Award
Inspired by the Life Beautiful Award presented each year to one male and one female graduate, President John Dowdy suggested to the Southwest Baptist College Board of Trustees in 1955 that the Life Service Award be given annually to graduates whose lives have exemplified the principles, which are upheld at Southwest. Currently, the SBU National Alumni Association Board nominates a maximum of six names of prospective recipients from business, missions, church-related vocations, education and other fields of service. The recipients are ratified at the May meeting of the SBU Alumni Board. The award, presented during Honors Chapel at Homecoming by the president of the University, is the highest recognition that the University can bestow upon an alumnus or alumna.

Emma Karr Bishop ’47
“Thank you for the Life Service Award from Southwest Baptist University. It is an unbelievable honor for me to receive this award. The two years I spent at Southwest Baptist College were probably the most fun and maturing years of my life. I thank God for those past years. I was a backward country girl from Iberia, but meeting and socializing with other Christian young people was priceless to me and my growth. The educa­tion I received at Southwest Baptist College was more than academic. The classes with special, unique professors were exceptional; but the social life with the students was wonderful and maturing too.

“The various organizations and activities were important to me then, as I know they are to you students today. Working in the kitchen was a special and necessary experience for me. The memo­ries of outstanding fun times with my roommate and other friends have lasted through the years. I thank Jesus for precious memo­ries of all the experiences at Southwest Baptist College. God Bless Southwest Baptist University.”

•A.A. from SWBC in 1947; B.A. from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1950.
Was married to the late Floyd Bishop, a professor of aviation for LeTourneau University.
Retired from Longview Independent Schools (Longview, TX) after 19 years of service.
Has five siblings who also attended SWBC.
Proud member of the Happy Hookers crochet club.
Attends Chambers Road Baptist Church in Aurora, CO, where she volunteers and is involved in the seniors group.

Richard Propes ’51
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be nominated and selected to receive this cherished Life Service Award. While at Southwest, it was never in my wildest dream that I would be standing here today receiv­ing this award.

“After graduating from high school, I had a job but seemed to be search­ing for something more fulfilling. With encouragement from my father to get an education, I found myself enrolled here at Southwest. I will always be grateful to all the professors and staff who created a wonderful Christian atmosphere. Also, my association with prayer mates, room­mates, and other Christian students had a big influence in my life.

“I have always believed that God called me into the teaching profes­sion. God opened doors for me to spend my life in the field of education. I found great satisfaction working with elementary students trying to instill good morals and values in many young lives. My prayer is that I have made a difference for many of my students.

“God has a plan and a purpose for each individual and there is a place for everyone to serve. The really important things we do in life, we do for others. Volunteering can help to change the world. It has always been my motto “to serve God is to serve His people.”

“As I receive this Life Service Award, I want to share this honor with all of those who helped bring me to this point. I thank God for leading me to Southwest.
Thank you and God bless Southwest!”

•A.E. from SWBC in 1951; B.S. in 1955 and M.A. in 1959 from Southern Illinois University.
Married to Marge, a retired music teacher.
Retired elementary school principal , 36 years of service.
Served in the Korean War and earned a service medal.
Has been honored with a Hometown Hero Award, a Lions Club Achievement Award, and Retired Teacher of the Year Award.
Attends Main Street United Methodist Church in Godfrey, IL, where he serves as his Sunday school class president and as an usher.

Alice Garner Davis ’73
“I want to thank you so much for this honor. The award and even the nom­ination came as a complete surprise and caused me to ask, “why me?”. It is awe­some to think of the people I have met through the years who have called Southwest/SBU home at some time or another, many of whom should be receiving this award today.

“As I reflect on my time at Southwest I can see how it was a time that not only changed my life then but formed the years to come. It was a time of a new kind of acceptance, a time of learning and growing, a time of opening my life to the future God had planned for me. Having teachers who cared about me as a person made the lessons I learned even more invaluable. Added to this was the environment Southwest gave me, the people I met and the experiences I had only because I was here.

“The biggest blessing for me was that I met my husband and life partner here, and we started the adventure of our lives together. While we were here we had the privilege to begin a ministry to the hearing impaired at First Baptist. I praise God for Maggie, a deaf lady in Bolivar, who showed us so much patience. We were two young people who had no idea what we were doing, but Maggie taught us and loved us as we grew in our understanding of the language and ministry. This formed a foun­dation for a life of ministry among the deaf and gave us the heart that later helped us start deaf churches.

“Through our years of ministry, starting and pastoring churches, and now as we serve in Associational Missions and my service to Ministry Wives, I have been thankful to Southwest for the foundation and train­ing it gave. Thank you SBU!”

•Graduated from SWBC in 1973 with degrees in sociology and psychology.
Married to Duane, a 1975 SWBC graduate.
Career missionary with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) from 1978-1984 and 1998-present.
Serves as Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) director for the East Central Illinois Baptist Association.
Member of Gibson City First Baptist Church
Enjoys crocheting and crafts.

Mel Skinner ’85
“Thank you for choosing me to receive the Life Service Award. I am humbled to receive it and am grateful to Jesus Christ who changed my life. When I was a young boy, He forgave my sin, called me to be His child, and gave me a relationship with Himself. When I was a young man, in rebellion to His will, He pursued me to the point of repentance and called me to be His servant. When I was a middle-aged man, living under the burden of “secret” sin, He graciously intervened and would not let me be satisfied with living like the world. He is giving me victory daily to live a holy and separated life. If there is any good that comes from my life, it is thanks to the Lord Jesus.

“It is also humbling because of the incredible opportunities God has availed to me. He let me be born at a time and place where I might hear and respond to the gospel. He let me receive an education at an institution like SBU, where He used godly professors to shape my theology, philosophy of ministry, and character. He let me have a wife that loves, supports, encourages, and forgives me and is willing to go wherever the Lord would call us. He’s allowed us the privilege of living, working, and serving at a very exciting time in human history.

“Finally, it is humbling, because serving Him is my privilege and responsibility. As Jesus said, “... when you have done everything you were told to do, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’”(Luke 17:10). When I think about all that Jesus has done for me, I wish that I had been more faithful in my service to Him.

“May God grant each of us grace to live a life that would ‘... show forth the excellencies of Him Who called (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light’ (1 Peter 2:9 ASV).”

•B.A. from SBU in 1985; MDiv. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1988.
Career missionary with the International Mission Board (IMB) for 20 years. (Currently on leave of absence from active service).
Married to Nancy. Two children, Sarah Boecker and Anna Skinner, both college students.
When they return to the field, the Skinners will be moving to the Chuvash Republic to work with the Chuvash people, the largest non-Muslim people group in Russia.

Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni Award
The Alumni Association presents the Edwin Lightfoot Distinguished Alumni Award annually to an alumnus or alumna who demonstrates the ideals personified by the late Edwin Lightfoot ‘40. The award criteria include alumni leadership in the University, dedication to the education and welfare of youth, and demonstrated support for SBU.

Pat Hoffmeister Baker ’51
“To have my name associated with the Dr. Edwin Lightfoot Award is a distinct honor. I have often heard people talk about his love for SWBC while he was a student and about how he continued that love long after he graduated from the “Campus of Christian Ideals.”

“I have had my own on-going love affair with SWBC/SBU for sixty years. It started on a Sunday afternoon in September 1949 as I moved my life’s belongings into Blue Home. It was there that I would live with thirty other girls for the next two years.

“Upperclassmen created ways to help me become acquainted quickly with other students and with campus life so I wouldn’t have time to get home­sick. I would eventually meet teachers who would encourage me to be more than I ever believed I could be. I was chosen to sing in the girls’ quar­tet and presented concerts in churches across Missouri. Relationships started happening during chapel services and around meals that were served family-style in Muirhead Dining Hall. Basketball games, concerts, drama, and revival services in old Pike Auditorium were highlights of campus life.”

“Ten years after graduating, God provided a way for my family to come back to SWBC where my husband Don, an SWBC alumnus, would work in administra­tion for ten years and later, as a professor in the School of Theology for twenty-five years.

“I fell in love with SWBC in 1949. I am still in love with her. I drive slowly by Blue Home at least once a week and reminisce. I enjoy walking around campus or yelling at basketball games, or attending drama productions or listening to vocal and instrumental concerts. I have had the privilege of seeing one of our daughters and two grandchildren graduate from this school. Their time here helped shape their future just as it has helped shape mine.

“I graduated from SWBC in the spring of 1951. As I packed up my accumulated belongings and headed for my first teaching job, I knew that what I had experienced on the “Campus of Christian Ideals” could never be taken from me. And it hasn’t!”

•A.A. from SWBC in 1951.
• Married to Don Baker, a 1950 SWBC graduate and retired SBU professor.
• Serves on the SBU National Alumni Board.
• Member of First Baptist Church of Bolivar, where she serves on the Worship, Senior Adult and Nominating Committees and also sings in the choir.
• Enjoys landscaping, gardening, cooking, reading, and traveling.


Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. At SBU, the faculty and staff create a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. For more information, visit

SBU’s Office of Marketing and Communications is available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 399-7918.