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120 Faces of Oakwood

Something good is always happening at Oakwood University. When I think of all the favor that has been showered on our institution, any number of initiatives or breakthroughs or blessings could be reported. We could have used this issue to tell you about the rebirth of Oakwood Farms, or the exciting new plans for the Office of Spiritual Life and Missions. We could have shared reports about the fascinating research in which our faculty are engaged. We could have featured the growth in our grants and contracts area or how God has blessed “our dear Oakwood” with the unusually dedicated student body revealed in our LifeCore research, or that the Aeolians were accepted into the rarefied and distinguished Llangollen International Eisteddfod Choral Festival and will be traveling to Wales in the summer of 2017 to compete in the “Choir of the World” competition. I could even tell you about my recent visit to the White House, and what it was like to stand in the Oval Office in the effort to secure resources for Oakwood University. All or any of these would make great stories for this issue.

However, thousands of graduates and alumni mean that Oakwood appears in thousands of places in thousands of faces. Thus, the editors and I decided to take this opportunity to pause and recognize the influence that our fellow Oakwoodites exerted while they were here on campus, or the impact they made in the world after leaving our institution. Our motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve” reminds us of the calling and purpose of an Oakwood education. Since our founding, our graduates have radiated influence over and across so many spaces and places that the list of contributions by our alums would be inexhaustible. This current list of 120 is in honor of our 120 years of service. There will be more editions to follow of what I am calling “Impact 120.”

Our guiding challenge at Oakwood is that “We will make plans that are destined to fail, except God intervene.” Of the thousands of students and employees who have blessed Oakwood over its first  120 years of existence, you have submitted the names included in this inaugural edition of our “Impact 120.” We realize that the list could have gone on and on, because there are so many Oakwoodites to choose from—in all fields of endeavor: ministry, medicine, judiciary, the arts, sports, community service. All of the nominees personify the second half of Oakwood’s motto, “Depart to Serve.”

The most influential Person any one of us could encounter at Oakwood, however, is Jesus Christ. In fact, that is our mission—to introduce our students to Him, and model His example.

Edward R Murrow once said, “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.” Mr. Murrow is speaking to the issue of character. And the foundation of our Oakwood education is character. Whatever we do, or whatever our alums accomplish, character is the only possession that we can take to the kingdom. Be inspired as you survey these 120 faces of Oakwood!

Yours in Service,

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