Page 1

Summer 2013 Update Highlights in this Issue:


SNU SCIENCE ALUMNUS EXPLORING THE COSMOS Pioneering Research of Curtis McCully, Class of 2008

CREATING SCIENTIFIC WORLD-CHANGERS Stories of great leaders in SNU Sciences 1

THE NEXT STEP Greetings from Dr. Loren Gresham A good start, followed by continuous action, usually results in significant progress. Such is the case with the Campaign for the Sciences. After a successful “quiet start” the Campaign was launched in a public way in January 2012. This multi-phase – multi-year effort has received significant support from the alumni and friends of SNU, and the momentum and forward progress have continued in a very exciting way. On March 1, 2013 the campus gathered for what we believe to be one of the largest and most memorable groundbreaking events ever witnessed at SNU. I think you will enjoy reading about that day and even viewing a brief video account of the ceremony at While it was not the final step on this journey, it was a very significant one because of what we were doing – who was involved – and our common hopes for a successful completion of this Campaign to support the sciences. Current faculty members, highly regarded emeriti, students, alumni and friends gathered to signify actual beginning of the construction of the J.D. and Mary West Science Laboratory. It was a day to remember – however, challenges remain and there are at least three keys to our continued progress: Science Majors who benefited from a great education at SNU are needed to lead the way in giving. Every gift – no matter the size - counts! There are still naming opportunities available. Please take note of the information in this update regarding whom to contact to make a gift and lasting tribute to those worthy of such an honor. Act now. There is immediacy to our need, and your help today will have an impact on how quickly we are able to move through the various phases of this Campaign.

long-term success. The purpose of improved facilities is to give them, and the committed faculty and staff who serve them, the very best environment for education possible. The following pages will tell the positive story of progress. If you have given a gift in support of this effort – thank you - and please consider giving an additional gift as God enables you. If you have not made a gift – please help us in this strategic effort to support one SNU’s hallmark academic areas. Let me say thanks in advance for taking the time to read this update and for considering support of the Campaign for the Sciences. Sincerely,

Ultimately, the Campaign for the Sciences is about students and their Loren P. Gresham, PhD. 1 1

“When I first met the faculty, they immediately made me feel like a part of their family.”

MORE THAN JUST PROFESSORS Mary Siems, Bio-Chemistry Student Biochemistry major Mary Siems appreciates the fact that she is not just

generational SNU biochemistry major. “When I first met the faculty, they

a student or a number in the eyes of her science professors at Southern

immediately made me feel like a part of their family,” said Seims.

Nazarene University. In fact, it is the relationships she has formed with her

Siems considers the SNU legacy her parents passed on to her a primary

science professors that she values most.

motivation as she works toward medical school, and plans to continue her

“At SNU, you are treated like a person,” said Seims. “You have a personal connection with the professors and not just on an academic level, but also on a personal level.” While Siems originally was considering a major in nursing, it was her first meeting with the biology and chemistry professors that changed her mind,

relationship with SNU by giving back to help future students as they enjoy the benefits of the new facilities that will result from the Campaign for the Sciences.

“I will be willing to come back and help other pre-med students and pass on what I’ve learned, just as others have done for me,” she added.

and she is now following in her parents’ footsteps, becoming a multiTo watch a video about Mary, go to Mary recently graduated and will be attending medical school at the University of Oklahoma in the fall.


“I can honestly say that my education was as good as, or better, than that of any of the other students, many of whom came from prestigious universities in both the U.S. and around the world.”

EXPLORING THE MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE Curtis McCully, Class of 2008 Throughout its history, Southern Nazarene University’s science department

“My time spent at SNU has been the defining experience of my life,” he

has produced some of the nation’s brightest scientific minds, and Curtis

added. “It has affected me in so many ways it would be impossible to

McCully is a prime example. McCully is a 2008 graduate who is nearing

mention them all. I learned so much from my professors, for which I am very

completion of his Ph.D. in physics at Rutgers University. Not only has


he received several accolades for his accomplishments in teaching and

In comparing his academic preparation to his peers at Rutgers, McCully said

research, he is also part of a research team that recently submitted a

he has no doubt that his education at SNU was of the highest quality.

proposal for the Hubble Space Telescope.

“I can honestly say that my education was as good as, or better, than that of

McCully explained that the team would like to utilize the telescope to

any of the other students, many of whom came from prestigious universities

observe the supernovae of white dwarf stars at ultraviolet wavelengths.

in both the U.S. and around the world,” said McCully.

Their hope is to better understand “dark energy,” which many scientists believe is driving the expansion of the universe. The team recently discovered the most distant supernova ever found so far, some ten billion light-years away.

“Once we understand how these stars explode, it may be possible to use them as even more accurate cosmic lighthouses and use them to study the mysterious dark energy that drives the acceleration of the universe,” said McCully. McCully added that he would not even be attempting to explore the

McCully is also passionate about the impact the Campaign for the Sciences will have on shaping the minds of future researchers and scientists at SNU, especially with the addition of new lab facilities. “The faculty do extraordinarily well with the resources that they have, but I believe they could do even more with a few upgrades,” explained McCully.

“The Campaign for the Sciences will build labs that will give students the opportunity for research experience that is vital for graduate school, without their having to leave campus.”

mysteries of the universe if it were not for his time at Southern Nazarene University and the physics professors that guided him onto his current path.


For the rest of Curtis’ story, go to

Quick Fact: SNU provides summer research opportunities for Freshmen through Seniors.

“This is a place where you can really mature and you really learn a lot about who you are and what you believe in.”

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Michael Ketcham, SNU Student When science education major Michael Ketcham first began looking at

choose science education as a major so he could combine his love of

places to attend college, a Nazarene university was not his first choice;

students and science.

however, it didn’t take Ketcham long to realize that at Southern Nazarene University he would be able to achieve the best of both worlds: obtain a quality science education at a place that felt just like home.

“I was hesitant and skeptical at first, but I immediately felt like I was at home,” said Ketcham. “There was a very welcoming presence about the school.”

“SNU has changed me in ways I never thought were possible,” added Ketcham. “This is a place where you can really mature and you really learn a lot about who you are and what you believe in.” Not only does Ketcham feel that SNU has prepared him for success as an instructor in the future, but more importantly it has helped him develop a much deeper faith and walk with Christ.

Ketcham described SNU’s science program as having a far-reaching impact, which has helped fuel his heart for students. This led him to

To watch a video about Michael, go to

This fall, Michael will begin his career in education, teaching biology to students at Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City.



Dr. W. Don Beaver

Brad Moore

Namesake of current Science Building

Chair, SNU Board of Trustees

Mr. J.D. West and current SNU Science students

President Loren Gresham Brings greetings at the historic event

Many faculty, students, community members, alumni and friends of the university attended the groundbreaking.

From top left: Dr. Terry Toler, Dr. Loren Gresham From bottom left: Priscilla Rudd, Mr. J.D. West, Dr. Charles Rudd 6 6

“The J.D. and Mary West Science Laboratory represents a great leap forward... -Dr. Mark Winslow Dean, College of Natural, Social & Health Sciences

GROUNDBREAKING MARKS NEW ERA FOR SNU SCIENCES Thanks to the generosity of many alumni, friends, foundations and

Dr. Winslow explained that the building will

corporate partners, a historic groundbreaking ceremony took place on

become a place where young and talented

the campus of Southern Nazarene University March 1, 2013. The J.D.

minds will be guided by capable professors

and Mary West Science Laboratory on the university’s main campus in

who, along with offering insight into how the

Bethany, Oklahoma is Phase I of the multi-phase, multi-year Campaign.

natural world operates, will also profess in

The $6.5 million dollar Phase I begins the work on a facility that will house

profound ways the glory of God who is the

classroom, laboratories, offices and gathering spaces for Chemistry,

Author of all nature.

Biology, and Physics. The 26,000-square-foot laboratory is being built south of the existing

Laboratory represents a great leap forward

W. Don Beaver Science Building. Completion is expected in the fall of 2014.

in these respects and we give thanks to

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Dr. Mark Winslow, Dean of Sciences,

the West family and the many donors and

explained that the many advances in the fields of science and technology

benefactors who are making this dream

over the past 50 years have created the need for a new laboratory.

possible,” he said.

Dr. Mark Winslow

“The rigors of modern science place even greater

The Campaign for the Sciences was created with the goal of transforming

demands in our preparation of students in providing

and positioning the university’s science departments for future growth, by

them with empirical research opportunities, first-hand

meeting the ever changing educational needs of the sciences.

access to state-of-the-art lab equipment and improved safety in the laboratory setting,” he said. 7 7

“The J.D. and Mary West Science

Naming Opportunities During the ceremony, Winslow praised the existing W. Don Beaver Science Building for the impact it has made since 1968 in equipping students for instruction and research in the sciences.

The following are powerful ways in making a lasting gift and tribute to those worthy of such an honor:

“The building we now occupy has helped transform the sciences, and our

Floors (2) $500,000

pre-health program in particular, into one of the premier programs in the

Laboratories (9) $250,000

state,” said Dr. Winslow.

QERC Exhibit (1) $100,000

Mr. J.D. West, lead donor, and members of his family, were among the honored guests at the groundbreaking ceremony. Mr. West expressed his appreciation for Southern Nazarene University and the impact it has made on his family over the years.

Research or Prep Rooms (10) $75,000 Student Gathering Areas (6) $25,000.00 Offices (8) $10,000

Many have already stepped up to do their part in making the Campaign for the Sciences a reality for Southern Nazarene University, but this is just the beginning. Future phases of this Campaign depend upon your support. If you believe in the future of Southern Nazarene University’s science department and

To discuss a naming opportunity, or honoring a legacy science educator, contact Dr. J. Michael Crabtree at 405.491.6313 or to schedule a personal appointment.

its ability to educate future generations of scientific world-changers, then please consider donating to Please prayerfully consider making a gift toward the Campaign for the Sciences.

the Campaign for the Sciences today.

Your gift - no matter the size - is a seed that will reap benefits for future generations.

Mail your gift or pledge using the enclosed card OR give securely online at Call if you have further questions at 405.491.6311.


See SNU Sciences videos at

The above image was captured from a live webcam at the site of the J.D. & Mary West Science Laboratory. To view the live 24/7 feed, visit 8 8

CREATING SCIENTIFIC WORLD-CHANGERS Drs. Gene Heasley and Leo Finkenbinder Dr. Gene Heasley and Dr. Leo Finkenbinder are men whose names have become synonymous with Southern Nazarene University’s science department. The two taught a combined 75 years at SNU with Dr. Heasley having taught 40 years and Dr. Finkenbinder


having taught 35 years. While both professors have retired from SNU, the legacy of these two men is still felt to this day as a result of the thousands of students they shaped and molded into some of today’s finest professionals in the field of science. It wasn’t just the expert teaching that Dr. Heasley gave his students in chemistry or Dr. Finkenbinder’s expertise in teaching biology that proved to be the most impactful. Instead, it was the way they

Dr. Heasley with Dr. Don Beaver

invested their lives in each student with the goal of bringing out the very best in them, both in and out of the classroom.

“I hope that my attitudes toward students and especially my concern for their success and well-being came under the discipline of Christ,” said Heasley. “In my later years I worked hard on developing relationships with students because I became convinced that their academic success was closely tied to myriads of more personal issues such as goals in life, discouragement, sense of self-worth, strategies for learning, etc.,” Heasley added. During his time at SNU, Dr. Finkenbinder made a significant impact on the university and its students especially with his creation of the Quetzal Education Research Center (QERC) in San Gerardo de Dota,

Dr. Gene Heasley 9

Quick Fact: This summer, Dr. Lisa Crow of SNU Chemistry, in collaboration with Oklahoma State University, will research a method to enrich the energy content of biofuel.

Students visiting QERC

SNU’s QERC in Costa Rica

Quetzal at SNU’s QERC

Costa Rica. While the QERC continues to have a positive effect on his

university’s science facilities will prove instrumental in recruiting future

life, Dr. Finkenbinder said his interactions with students were some

generations of scientific world changers in the form of both professors

of the most inspiring moments for him as a professor whether it was

and students.

teaching in the classroom, advising students, or giving them practical experience on a field trip.

they have the most modern facilities available to help them teach and

“I enjoyed watching students’ eyes light up as a concept came to life and watching their expressions as I would bring in different props like tarantulas, snakes, or frogs,” said Dr. Finkenbinder. While both men have been integral parts of the rich legacy of SNU’s science department, they are also very mindful of the program’s future and importance of supporting the Campaign for the Sciences.

Dr. Leo Finkenbinder

“For professors it keeps them motivated in their discipline knowing

do research,” he explained. “A project like this helps so much in the recruitment of future students. Those students are looking for places of excitement in the field in which they want to study. “ Dr. Heasley said students have many choices when it comes to which university they will attend to pursue their scientific education, which is why it’s vital that SNU invest in improving its scientific facilities for the future.

“Students must have good facilities and equipment to receive the best scientific education,” he said. “They will choose to attend colleges which provide excellent facilities.” For the rest of this story, go to

Dr. Finkenbinder believes upgrading the

Quick Fact: In 2012 SNU’s QERC created the Las Vueltas Weather Station in partnership with the University of Oklahoma. Learn more at:


OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY ADVANCEMENT 6729 NW 39th Expwy, Bethany, OK 73008 11

Campaign for the Sciences Spring 2013 Update  

Newsletter to update Southern Nazarene University alumni and friends on the progress for the Campaign for the Sciences as well stories from...

Campaign for the Sciences Spring 2013 Update  

Newsletter to update Southern Nazarene University alumni and friends on the progress for the Campaign for the Sciences as well stories from...