Written by: Kedrick Nettleton, Staff Writer
Each year at Homecoming, Oklahoma Wesleyan University is proud to recognize outstanding alumni from the past.
The awards presented are each slightly different in focus, but the goal remains the same: to honor those Eagles who have exemplified with excellence the values that OKWU is built upon. In 2019, there are four award recipients. Dan Denison, Mike Skor, Keri Bostwick, and Rachel Hammon will all be receiving their awards at OKWU’s annual Homecoming Banquet on Friday, October 25, 2019, in the First Wesleyan Church Family Life Center. They were also a part of a special panel during Friday’s chapel service, with all four recipients sharing memories of their time on campus.
“What surprised me was that people, especially people in the church, were broken. When I got [to OKWU], I realized the beauty in the brokenness. It leads us to the cross.”
Dan Denison is the recipient of this year’s Hall of Faith Award, designed to honor OKWU alumni who have modeled a life of faithfulness to the Lord and His church. He is also the oldest alumnus being honored, coming home to celebrate the 50th reunion of his graduation with his classmates. He has spent his life post-graduation serving for over three decades at a number of churches in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. Even after retiring in 2016, Denison worked on staff at the Lighthouse Mission in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
When thinking back on his time at Oklahoma Wesleyan—then Miltonvale College in Kansas—Denison was struck not so much by the knowledge he received but by the habits he formed. “I was taught to learn, and to change,” he said. “And change was so needed in those days.”
Much like Denison, Mike Skor has taken what he learned at OKWU into the ministry. After graduating in 1991, he has served at churches in Kansas, Michigan, California, and North Dakota. He and Keri Bostwick are being honored with this year’s Outstanding Alumni Service Awards.
“I’d made a commitment at a fairly young age never to say no if the Lord was calling me,” Skor said—even if that calling was at first unappealing. And that’s the advice that he would give to younger students.
“When the Lord opens a door for you, ask Him about it first,” Skor said. “You never know what you might be missing by saying no.”
Bostwick, who serves now as the Dean of Assessment and Accreditation and the Interim Dean of the School of Education and Exercise Science here at OKWU, felt that door being opened rather forcibly.
“I really feel like I didn’t choose BWC. They chose me,” Bostwick said. “They came to get me.”
And since graduating in 1998, she’s learned that much of the value of the university was in the community that she was able to be a part of—community that found strength in not being perfect.
“What surprised me was that people, especially people in the church, were broken,” she said. “When I got [to OKWU], I realized the beauty in the brokenness. It leads us to the cross.”
Rachel Hammon is the most recent graduate to be honored this weekend, receiving the Young Alumna of the Year Award. She graduated in 2008 with a double major in Music and Music Education. Since then, she’s taught in a number of institutions—including a brief period at OKWU as an adjunct—and now teaches in the Owasso public school system.
What sticks out most in Hammon’s memory is the individual care and attention she received. “I was so surprised by how personal the professors are,” she said. “I really enjoyed that small class size.”
She looks back humorously at her attitude coming to OKWU as a freshman student. “I came here and thought that I knew everything I needed to know. But there’s always more to know, more opportunities to know grace.”
More information about all the award winners will be forthcoming in spring’s Tower magazine. For the full schedule of homecoming festivities at OKWU this year, click here.
“I came here and thought that I knew everything I needed to know. But there’s always more to know, more opportunities to know grace.”