Thursday, August 22, 2013

SBU celebrates beginning of school year with formal convocation

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Charlotte Marsch, Director of Marketing and Communications
(417) 328-1803 /

SBU celebrates beginning of school year with formal convocation

BOLIVAR, Mo.Three faculty members and a staff member were recognized with awards during Southwest Baptist University’s formal convocation Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Convocation is the formal beginning of the academic year and a time to focus on traditions that have become a part of SBU.

An important tradition at SBU is our commitment to stay focused on our mission, which has remained consistent down through the years,” said SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D. “Even though we created our current mission statement only 16 years ago, a study of SBU’s history reveals that it always has been a Christ-centered institution.”

Bing Bayer, Ph.D., recipient of the Orien B. Hendrix Distinguished Teacher, delivered the convocation address, as is tradition. The Distinguished Teacher Award is chosen by the current and three previous graduating classes and is presented annually to a faculty member for “outstanding teaching ability and personal guidance.”

Bayer is chairman of the Department of Theology and professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. He has taught at SBU since 1988.

He encouraged students to become professionals to serve God, not themselves.

“If we are going to live for God, you’re studying for Him,” he said. “We can’t be lazy. We have to study, and that includes studying for those you will minister to after graduation. We have to be competent in what we do.

“It’s not all about you,” he said, referring to research that shows today’s millennials — those born between 1980 and 2000 — are more narcissistic than people in previous generations. “You are not the center of the universe. This is God’s world, not yours.”

He concluded by saying, “If you still think you’re the center of the universe, then go make you some stars.”

Parkway Distinguished Teacher Award

Kathy Brown, D.M.A., was awarded the 2013 Parkway Distinguished Teacher Award. She is a professor of music.

The Christian College Education Committee of Parkway Baptist Church in Saint Louis awards this honor annually to faculty members from each of the four Missouri Baptist colleges who have made outstanding contributions to Christian education.

Newcomer of the Year awards

The Newcomer of the Year awards were begun in 1995 to recognize one full-time faculty member and one non-teaching staff member, who, in their first months of employment at Southwest Baptist University, demonstrate exceptional commitment to the University’s mission and make a positive impact as part of the SBU family. Faculty and staff members who have been employed full-time for no more than 18 months prior to the selection process are eligible. The winners are selected by committees of their peers.

Faculty Newcomer of the Year Tao Wei, Ph.D.: Dr. Wei has a medical degree from Henan Medical University in China and a Ph.D. in microbiology from Uppsala University in Sweden. He is an associate professor of biology and continues to do an extensive amount of medical research. His current research is aimed at biodefense and bacterial combat-wound infections, cross-disciplinary in nature over microbiology, molecular biology, bacteriology, immunology, cell biology, proteomics and biophysics.

One student wrote about Dr. Wei, “I like that he has us think critically about experiments so that we come to the conclusions with our own thoughts, rather than spoon feeding us the answers; this helps us develop thinking skills while learning and understanding the information.”

He was a member of the faculty/staff trip to East Asia in May. He attends Southern Hills Baptist Church in Bolivar. He and his wife, Ai Jie, have been married for 26 years and have two sons.

Staff Newcomer of the Year Charlotte Marsch: A 1997 SBU graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in communication arts, Marsch joined SBU in January as director of marketing and communications. She previously worked for the Bolivar Herald-Free Press for 16 years, the last eight of those years as editor.

“In the short time that she has worked here, she already has made significant contributions to SBU,” said Stephanie Miller, Ed.D., vice president for enrollment management. “Her understanding of the university mission, work ethic and willingness to care about employees and students demonstrates that she can readily apply and live the concept of a servant leader.”

She is married to David, who also works at SBU as a help desk technician and was last year’s Staff Newcomer of the Year Award winner. They attend First Baptist Church of Bolivar and have two daughters.

Photo cutlines (all photos by Rollie Skinner):

Bing Bayer.jpg — Bing Bayer, Ph.D., left, recipient of the Orien B. Hendrix Distinguished Teacher, and SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D.

Charlotte Marsch.jpg — Charlotte Marsch, left, Staff Newcomer of the Year, and SBU Provost Bill Brown, D.M.

Kathy Brown.jpg — Kathy Brown, D.M.A., left, 2013 Parkway Distinguished Teacher, and SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D.

Tao Wei.jpg — Tao Wei, Ph.D., left, and SBU Provost Bill Brown, D.M.

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