Hall of Fame Member Biographies

John W. Parrish

John W. Parrish’s role as an administrator for Oklahoma Baptist University and consequent strengthening of that institution constitutes his outstanding contribution to Oklahoma Higher education.  Born near Drumright, Oklahoma, John Parrish graduated from public schools and went on to earn a B.S. in General Business at Oklahoma State University and an M.S. in Journalism from that institution in 1964.  He then commenced a career with Oklahoma Baptist University that would last thirty-nine years, serving from 1964 to 2002 and again in 2007-08.  He began as journalism instructor and department chairman and Director of Publications and Publicity. He became Director of Public Relations in 1966.  The officers of the school recognized his multiple talents and moved Dr. Parrish into the fund-raising area.  He became in 1979 Director of Alumni and Annual Giving, then in 1983 Assistant Vice President for Development. In 1986, he was promoted to Vice President for Institutional Advancement; in 1991 to Senior Vice President for Business and External Affairs; and in 1995 to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  His long service to OBU led to numerous institutional honors:  in 1974 the Distinguished Service Award, and in 1989 the Meritorious Service Award, Athletic Hall of Fame membership, and Honorary Alumni status. His excellence in fund-raising for the school led to his selection as the Oklahoma City Chapter of National Society of Fund Raising Executives’ “Oklahoma’s Outstanding Fund-Raising Executive” in 1992. To honor his efforts for the school, OBU has named the public relations suite in Thurmond Hall the “John W. Parrish Public Relations Center.”  Following his first retirement in 2002, Dr. Parrish wrote three books on OBU basketball and in 2010 authored Proudly Stand on Bison Hill: A Pictorial History of Oklahoma Baptist University 1910-2010.  Because of his outstanding success in fund-raising and contributions to OBU life, the school turned to him to be Interim President, 2007-2008, to steer the school through difficult times, which he successfully accomplished.  Retiring from the presidency of the school, OBU showed its gratitude for his strenuous efforts by awarding him an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree on February 10, 2010.  Besides his administrative duties, Dr. Parrish has engaged in numerous civic activities in Shawnee, Oklahoma, has been an active member of University Baptist Church for almost fifty years, and has been an acclaimed sports announcer of OBU basketball, football, and baseball.  Not the least, he has served as the President of the OHEHS for three terms and, as one might expect, helped enhance the organization’s financial status.  The Society warmly welcomes John W. Parrish into this year’s inductees into the Higher Education Hall of Fame.