Delbert Baker

Oakwood College continues its legacy to develop leaders in service, and its mission of integrating faith, learning, and service. Three words--education, excellence, eternity--capture the essence of its mission and aim.

Founded more than a century ago by the General Conference in response to Ellen G. White, Oakwood College is a respected member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) family.

Oakwood's considerable progress during this quinquennium is a result of a committed faculty, staff, and administration, who welcome an international and multicultural student body from 35 U.S. states and 30 countries around the world.

Spiritual Life and Other Factors
The dynamic spiritual life program includes male and female chaplaincy teams that provide daily pastoral care for students and work in conjunction with campus revivals. These have resulted in more than 500 student baptisms. The Student Services and Religion departments facilitate further opportunities for information and service through 10 major outreach trips around the world--to Africa, Asia, and nations of the Caribbean. NAPS, a national organization based at Oakwood College, was cited for its humanitarian efforts during the 9/11 disaster in New York, and traveled to southern Asia to assist in the tsunami relief effort.

Oakwood's enrollment has averaged around 1,780 for the past five years, with the largest senior class (412) in 2002, and a peak freshman class of 519 in 2004.

Oakwood College retains full accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the General Conference accrediting service. Sixty percent of its faculty have earned doctoral degrees, and they author books, publish articles, and engage in funded research. Oakwood College also partners with Griggs University (based at the General Conference), and has expanded its adult education program from one to three offerings, while distance learning and online coursework are under development.

The B.S. degree in Nursing was accredited in 2001 and will feature its first four-year candidates in May 2005. An independent Communication Department was established in 2002, and a new graduate degree in religion is in development. Currently Oakwood collaborates with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to train students for professions in the space industry. A research project from Oakwood faculty and students was part of the Columbia space shuttle's schedule of experiments before its tragic loss. Oakwood College has been cited for the past seven years in U.S.News and World Report as among the best colleges in the southern region, and also recognized as among the top 10 schools to motivate graduates to seek higher degrees in health professions.

Campus Facilities
To meet the need of an increased student enrollment over the past decade and to accommodate students into the next quinquennium, West Oaks Apartments was completed in 2003 for junior and senior students. In addition, extensive renovations will be made to Edwards Hall (the current junior and senior men's dorm), and ground will soon be broken on a men's residence hall.

Several construction projects will provide needed instructional space, including the new communications facility, featuring audiovisual services, photography, and art; the Bradford-Cleveland Institute addition to the C. E. Moseley Religion Complex, with state-of-the-art technology and communications capability; and a much-needed health and wellness complex.

More than $12 million has been invested in new construction or renovation of current academic and student facilities. These include the state-of-the-art, 45,000-square-foot Business and Technology Complex and the West Oaks Apartments residential units. The college market, snack bar, and bookstore underwent a $1 million renovation to enlarge and modernize their facilities.

Oakwood College Industries, a 22,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the campus, was purchased to promote economic development and industries that hire Oakwood students. The building provides space for the Oakwood Community Development Center, WOCG Praise 90.1 FM radio station, the college health and counseling services, and an executive business center.

Symbolic of Oakwood's commitment to service, the college commissioned renowned sculptor Alan Collins to create a statue of Simon of Cyrene helping Christ carry the cross, funded by a regional donor.

Development Progress
Successful fund-raising resulted in nearly $12 million for various ventures and an additional $10 million through grants and contracts. Oakwood College has been a continuous member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since 1966. Over the past five years the college has raised thousands for student scholarships. During January 2005 the Tom Joyner Foundation featured Oakwood as the HBCU of the Month, bringing valuable publicity and an initiative to raise $100,000 for scholarships. Community initiatives included the third annual Festival of Spirituals, featuring area HBCU choirs; the 2003 Aeolians tour to Poland to the Wratislavia Cantans music festival; the Aeolians' induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame; the "Dream Revisited" reenactment of the 1962 address by Dr. King at the college; and the People's Choice Award to WOCG Praise 90.1 FM as the fourth-most-visited gospel station on the Internet.

Oakwood College and the Future
Sixteen pioneer students gathered on these grounds with teachers and staff at the institution's 1896 opening. The first paragraph of their story has unfolded over more than 100 years. Though the last chapter is yet to be written, under God, the future looks bright for Oakwood College. The "circle of divine providence" surrounding this institution at its inception remains part of its legacy. A new generation of servant leaders beckons, and Oakwood continues to advance.

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