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|Motto||Vision. Integrity. Service.|
|Arkansas Baptist State Convention|
|Campus||Rural, 160 acres (65 ha) |
(City of Arkadelphia, Clark County, Arkansas)
|Colors||Purple and Gold|
Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) is a private, liberal arts college in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The university's name is taken from the Ouachita (pronounced WAH-shi-tah) River, which forms the eastern campus boundary. It is affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. The student body is approximately 45% male and 55% female.
Ouachita Baptist University was founded as Ouachita Baptist College on September 6, 1886, and has operated continually since that date. It was originally located on the campus of Ouachita Baptist High School. Its current location is on the former campus of the Arkansas School for the Blind, which relocated to Little Rock.
The first president was J. W. Conger, who was elected to the post on June 22, 1886. The OBU Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Ben Sells, former vice president for university advancement at Taylor University, as the sixteenth president of Ouachita Baptist University on April 7, 2016. Those who have served as president include J. W. Conger (1886–1907), Henry Simms Hartzog (1907–1911), R. G. Bowers (1911–1913), Samuel Young Jameson (1913–1916), Charles Ernest Dicken (1916–1926), Arthur B. Hill (1926–1929), Charles D. Johnson (1929–1933), James R. Grant (1933–1949), Seaford Eubanks (1949–1951), Harold A. Haswell (1952–1953), Ralph Arloe Phelps Jr. (1953–1969), Daniel R. Grant (1970–1988), Ben M. Elrod (1988–1998), Andrew Westmoreland (1998–2006) and Rex Horne (2006–2015).
In 1965 the college changed its name to Ouachita Baptist University. Recent years have seen a steady expansion of the campus, including the Harvey Jones Science Center (1997), the Frank D. Hickingbotham School of Business in Hickingbotham Hall (2006), the Student Village residence halls (2009) and Cliff Harris Stadium (2014).
Ouachita Baptist University focuses on undergraduate programs in the liberal arts. It offers 64 degree programs in eight academic schools: School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Frank D. Hickingbotham School of Business, Chesley and Elizabeth Pruet School of Christian Studies, Michael D. Huckabee School of Education, School of Fine Arts, W. H. Sutton School of Social Sciences, J. D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences, and School of Humanities. Most students earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, but the school also offers Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) and Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees. Study abroad programs are offered through the Grant Center for International Studies. Two classes in religion are part of the core curriculum and graduation requires seven credits of chapel (earned by regular chapel attendance during a semester).
OBU operates on the traditional credit hour system. The student-to-faculty ratio is approximately 12:1.
The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), National Association for Schools of Music, the Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education Programs (CAATE), and the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association. There is a joint Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program with neighboring Henderson State University. The OBU ROTC program dates back to 1886 and has at times been called the "West Point of the Ozarks" for the large number of U.S. Army officers it produced.
The University is currently ranked #171 in National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.
Ouachita Baptist has an 85-acre main campus. There are eight academic buildings: Jones Performing Arts Center (which includes Verser Theatre), Moses–Provine Hall, Mabee Fine Arts Center, McClellan Hall, Lile Hall, Hickingbotham Hall, the Harvey Jones Science Center and the Berry Bible Building. The campus also houses a number of administrative buildings, two school libraries, conference centers, residence halls and a dining facility. OBU operates five off-campus apartment complexes for upperclassmen.
Ouachita is primarily a residential campus, with 94% percent of the students living in one of eight on-campus residence halls and five off-campus apartment complexes. Only students who have family in the area, are married or are over the age of 22 are allowed to live elsewhere. Campus policies restrict students visiting the rooms of those of the opposite sex to special visiting hours.
Ouachita does not allow nationally affiliated social fraternities or sororities, but there are local fraternities and sororities called "social clubs." Approximately 20% of the student body are members of such clubs. Annually, during Homecoming Weekend, the social clubs participate in a musical show called Tiger Tunes, produced by the Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF). All proceeds raised from Tiger Tunes and other events throughout the year are then given by OSF for student scholarships. Current men's social clubs are: Beta Beta, Sigma Alpha Sigma, Rho Sigma, Kappa Chi, and Eta Alpha Omega. Current women's social clubs are: E.E.E., Chi Delta, Tri Chi, Chi Rho Phi, and Chi Mu.
In the spring, Tiger Traks invades the campus for two days of competition among students. Called "Arkansas' Most Exciting College Weekend," Tiger Traks invites all students and faculty to participate and raise funds for OSF scholarships. There are also more than 40 professional, departmental and honorary organizations for students. In addition, the Campus Activities Board offers concerts and movies, and the Office of Campus Ministries offers other activities and ministry opportunities for students.
OBU fields intercollegiate men's teams in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming, tennis and wrestling. Women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball. The school mascot is the Tiger, and colors are purple and gold. As of Fall 2011, Ouachita began competition in the Great American Conference, after previously being a member of the Gulf South Conference. The Great American Conference consists of six schools from Arkansas and 6 schools from Oklahoma. The football Tigers were the conference champions of the inaugural 2011 season as well as the 2014 and 2017 conference champions.
Ouachita's men's tennis team earned four consecutive GAC tennis championships, women's soccer won the GAC championship in 2014 and men's soccer won the inaugural GAC men's soccer championship in 2015. The men's basketball team has earned conference championships in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
In 2010, Ouachita Baptist was the first university in Arkansas to offer an NCAA wrestling program. Dallas Smith, a four-time All-American, earned the program's first national title at the NCAA Division II National Championships in 2015.
Ouachita has an intense crosstown rivalry with Henderson State University, a public university located across a small ravine from the Ouachita campus. The annual "Battle of the Ravine" between the two schools is the fifth-oldest football rivalry in college sports. The teams first met in 1895.
The Ouachita Tigers competed in national tournaments in men's basketball, swimming and wrestling in 2016. Other successful teams on the national level include the 2009 women's basketball team, reaching the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Tournament, and the 2009 swimming teams, with the men's team finishing fifth in Division II and the women's team sixth. The 2008 Ouachita baseball team finished second in the NCAA Division II World Series.
Several intramural sports are also available for both men and women. These include football, basketball, softball, volleyball, dodgeball, innertube water polo and tennis.