Ouachita trustee Phil Baldwin to chair “Defining the Difference” campaign

February 9, 2011

ARKADELPHIA, Ark.—Ouachita Baptist University trustee Phil Baldwin has been named chairman of Ouachita’s 125th anniversary “Defining the Difference” campaign.

Defining the Difference is a major fundraising campaign designed to help finance a variety of priority campus initiatives. The public phase of the campaign is scheduled to launch on Sept. 6 in conjunction with the university’s 2011 Founders Day observance.

Highlighting Ouachita’s 125th anniversary with the theme, “Making a Difference since 1886,” Founders Day will cap a yearlong celebration of Ouachita’s long-term commitment to quality liberal arts education in a Christ-centered learning community.

Baldwin, who recently retired as president and chief executive officer of Southern Bancorp, Inc., to pursue philanthropic interests, has served as a trustee of Ouachita Baptist University since 2007. Southern Bancorp, a $1 billion development bank holding company with 40 offices across the southern United States, is America’s largest rural development bank. Under Baldwin’s leadership, Southern helped launch the Arkadelphia Promise and Great River Promise scholarship programs.

“I am pleased that Phil Baldwin will lead our Defining the Difference campaign,” said Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr. “I know of no one more qualified.

“Phil is a proven businessman,” Dr. Horne added. “He is a leader in banking and service organizations. He is a committed Christian and dedicated to improving the lives of others. As a citizen of Arkadelphia, Phil sees the progress we have made, the momentum we are riding and the opportunity for greater success in the future. He is the right person to lead this campaign.”

“Ouachita Baptist University’s core values of faith, scholarship, growth, character and community initially attracted me to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees and now as chairman of the Defining the Difference campaign,” Baldwin said. “It is my great honor to represent Ouachita as its campaign chair.

“In 2011, Ouachita enters its 125th year of service as a Christian university, with its core values impacting thousands of young people across our nation and the world,” he noted. “I believe strong Christian universities are of paramount importance to our nation.”

The university’s Defining the Difference campaign “is a visionary effort to provide 21st century educational opportunities to Ouachita students – centered around increases in student scholarships, improved undergraduate research opportunities, greater academic advancement and global connectivity,” Baldwin said. “The campaign will also seek to provide funds for construction and renovation of university facilities and benefit university operations.”

In addition to his leadership roles with Southern Bancorp and Ouachita, Baldwin serves on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the United Way of America and United Way Worldwide Board of Trustees, where he is chairman of the finance committee and treasurer. He also serves on the boards of Arkansas Capital Corporation, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

Baldwin was appointed by the governor of Arkansas to serve on the Governor’s Roundtable on Health Care. He recently received the United States Small Business Administration District Directors Special Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership and was named Economic Developer of the Year by the Economic Developers of Arkansas.

Baldwin, who has more than 29 years of experience in banking, began his career in the banking services group of Ernst and Young. He also is a Certified Public Accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

The Defining the Difference campaign, Ouachita’s first major funding campaign since the university’s 2000-2005 Circle of Excellence campaign, will highlight strategic needs in the areas of student scholarships, construction and renovation, academic advancement, global connectivity, undergraduate research and university operations. Specific initiatives include:

• Endowed student scholarships to ensure that a Ouachita education remains affordable for current and future students.
• Campus construction and renovation projects to maintain and develop quality academic and residential facilities.
• Academic advancement efforts, including endowed chairs, faculty research and professional development opportunities and enhanced compensation.
• Global connectivity projects to help maintain and strengthen Ouachita’s role as a leader in technological advances and international education opportunities.
• Undergraduate research projects, including research support, equipment and travel.
• University operations to help recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff members and maintain a low student-to-faculty ratio.

According to President Horne, “Defining the Difference affords all who believe in the mission of Ouachita and the value of an excellent Ouachita education to be partners in aiding future advancement, meeting present needs and offering financial assistance to students who want to attend Ouachita. Ouachita is different. The need is great. The possibilities are unlimited, but all is dependent on our alumni, friends and partners.”

“As trustees, we know the value of the Ouachita difference,” emphasized Larry E. Kircher, who is serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees portion of the campaign. “When you pray about what your part should be in strengthening Ouachita’s future, it is my hope that you will not ask what God wants you to do, but rather what God wants to do through you.”

For more information about Ouachita’s Defining the Difference campaign, contact the university’s Office of Development at 870-245-5169 or visit www.obu.edu/development.

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