Benton and Paula Baugh have pledged $1.7 million to establish an endowed chair in the College of Biblical Studies at Oklahoma Christian University.
President John deSteiguer announced the Benton and Paula Baugh Chair of Gospel Preaching at the university's Tuesday chapel service and during a luncheon for preachers.
“OC has a long history of preparing effective preachers. OC alumni are doing great work in congregations of all sizes, including some of the largest churches across America,” deSteiguer said. “But we need to prepare more preachers who can help bring people to Christ, and Benton and Paula are making that possible.”
The Baughs are members of Memorial Church of Christ in Houston, where Benton is a deacon and Oklahoma Christian alumnus and trustee David Duncan is the pulpit minister.
Benton Baugh has more than 50 years' experience in oil field and subsea systems. He founded Radoil Inc. and served as its president until recently selling the company. He is a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston, his alma mater, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
His Christian service includes helping develop the Spring Branch Iglesia de Cristo and serving as co-chairman for the 2012 Day of Good Works, an initiative of Houston-area Churches of Christ.
Paula Baugh is involved with Impact Houston Church of Christ, serving hungry and homeless people through that inner-city congregation.
“We have been very impressed with the warmth and friendliness of OC, and with the fact that Oklahoma Christian is committed to biblical teaching amidst the challenges in our culture,” Benton Baugh said. “We want to help equip preachers with the latest methods of delivering the Gospel.”
What is planned
The Benton and Paula Baugh Chair of Gospel Preaching will allow Oklahoma Christian to add a faculty member who will specialize in preparing preachers. The endowment also will help the university offer seminars for pulpit ministers.
“Oklahoma Christian produces ministry-minded graduates who are making a difference in the world. But the number of young men going into pulpit ministry is dwindling,” said Stafford North, Distinguished Professor of Bible. “We need to inspire and train more students to become preachers.”
This is the fifth seven-figure gift Oklahoma Christian has received in the past year.
In June, Mo and Richard Anderson, of Austin, Texas, presented a $1 million gift to fund the Anderson Endowment for Academic Excellence in Athletics. In July, 1992 alumnus Ricky Lawson and his wife, Kelly, provided the anchor gift for a new softball stadium, Tom Heath Field at Lawson Plaza.
In August, Jill and Cary Brown of Midland, Texas, gave $1 million to fund scholarships and construct the Terry and Marty Johnson Administrative Suite in Benson Hall. In November, Oklahoma Christian dedicated a newly purchased facility for its European Studies program in Vienna, Austria, made possible by an anonymous $1 million gift.