Alma mater honors former BPC music division chair

Hildegard Stanley, who retired as chair of Brewton-Parker College's music division after 35 years in 2001 but remains on staff as a consultant to the president and as an adjunct professor, will be honored on November 8 as one of 12 recipients of Oklahoma Baptist University's Profile in Excellence Award.

Stanley, a 1959 graduate of the Shawnee, Okla., university, will receive her award during OBU's annual Homecoming Chapel from Dr. Mark Brister, the university's president.

In a story in OBU's alumni publication, Stanley is recognized as being "a pioneer for women in music ministry."

Stanley was the first female to major in conducting at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; conduct a major work in Chapel at SWBTS; serve as president of the Georgia Baptist Church Music Conference and as conductor for the Georgia Baptist Youth Music Camp; conduct the adult choir for Music Week at Caswell Baptist Conference Center in North Carolina; conduct a choral retreat for South Carolina Singing Men and Women; conduct the Baptist State Youth Choral Festivals in four states; and conduct chorale, conference choir and youth choirs at Glorieta (N.M.) and Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Centers.

"After 35 years of full-time teaching, my greatest joy is seeing my former students serving around the world, if not in full-time and part-time positions, then participating as lay people in their churches," Stanley said in the story.

"In addition to all the early OBU influences in my life, I literally patterned my music program after the only one I knew, that of OBU. Brewton-Parker was a junior college when I first arrived but was offering a music major. ... I started Choir Week, which was like the Bison Glee Club pledge week. All the choir members came in a week before school started to rehearse and play together. I took the beanies that freshmen wear at OBU, and all new choir members wore beanies."

Stanley said she utilized more than just OBU's music and traditions while leading the BPC music program.

"My mind set as a professor at a Christian college was developed because of the Christian professors I had at OBU who taught not only the discipline material, but about living the Christian life," she said, mentioning the small classes that allowed personal interaction between faculty and students.