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Ouachita Baptist University
Former name
Ouachita Baptist College (1886–1965)
MottoVision. Integrity. Service.
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Academic affiliations
Endowment$65.4 million[1]
PresidentBen Sells
Academic staff
109 full-time and 51 part-time (fall 2022)[2]
Students1,784 (fall 2022)[2]
Location, ,
United States

34°7′30″N 93°3′10″W / 34.12500°N 93.05278°W / 34.12500; -93.05278
CampusRural, 160 acres (65 ha)
ColorsPurple and Gold

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) is a private Baptist university in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The university's name is taken from the Ouachita (pronounced WAH-shi-tah) River, which forms the eastern campus boundary. It is affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, a state convention affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.[citation needed]


Cone-Bottoms Hall, home to the Grant Administration Center, is the oldest building on campus
Ouachita's Student Village residence halls are connected to the main campus via Heflin Plaza, a walkway that bridges the campus ravine

Ouachita Baptist University was founded as Ouachita Baptist College on September 6, 1886,[3] and has operated continually since that date. It was originally located on the campus of Ouachita Baptist High School.[citation needed] Its current location is on the former campus of the Arkansas School for the Blind, which relocated to Little Rock.[citation needed]

The first president was J. W. Conger, who was elected to the post on June 22, 1886.[citation needed] The OBU Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Ben Sells, former vice president for university advancement at Taylor University, as the sixteenth president of Ouachita Baptist University on April 7, 2016. Those who have served as president include J. W. Conger (1886–1907), Henry Simms Hartzog (1907–1911), R. G. Bowers (1911–1913), Samuel Young Jameson (1913–1916), Charles Ernest Dicken (1916–1926), Arthur B. Hill (1926–1929), Charles D. Johnson (1929–1933), James R. Grant (1933–1949), Seaford Eubanks (1949–1951), Harold A. Haswell (1952–1953), Ralph Arloe Phelps Jr. (1953–1969), Daniel R. Grant (1970–1988), Ben M. Elrod (1988–1998), Andrew Westmoreland (1998–2006) and Rex Horne (2006–2015). [4]

In 1965 the college changed its name to Ouachita Baptist University.[3]


Academic rankings
Liberal arts
U.S. News & World Report[5]178 of 185
Washington Monthly[6]191 of 199
WSJ / College Pulse[7]401 of 600

The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission with specific programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), National Association for Schools of Music, the Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education Programs (CAATE), and the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association.[8]

The university was ranked 178 of 185 in the 2024 National Liberal Arts Colleges rankings by U.S. News & World Report.[9]


Ouachita's iconic Tiger statue has stood in silent vigil over the campus since 1935

Main article: Ouachita Baptist Tigers

OBU fields intercollegiate men's teams in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming, tennis, cross country, and wrestling. Women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.[citation needed] The school mascot is the Tiger, and colors are purple and gold. As of fall 2011, Ouachita began competition in the Great American Conference.[citation needed] The Tigers football team were the conference champions of the inaugural 2011 season and the 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons.[10] In wrestling, a sport not sponsored by the GAC, OBU competes as a single-sport member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.[11]

In 2010, Ouachita Baptist was the first university in Arkansas to offer an NCAA wrestling program. Dallas Smith, a four-time All-American, earned the program's first national title at the NCAA Division II National Championships in 2015.[12]

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Ouachita Baptist University alumni

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009."U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 14, 2017. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d "College Navigator - Ouachita Baptist University".
  3. ^ a b Lyon College 1872-2002: the Perseverance and Promise of an Arkansas College (c). University of Arkansas Press. 2003. pp. 392–. ISBN 978-1-61075-255-8.
  4. ^ "A Brief History of Ouachita". Ouachita Baptist University. Ouachita Baptist University.
  5. ^ "Best Colleges 2024: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  6. ^ "2023 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  7. ^ "2024 Best Colleges in the U.S." The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  8. ^ Ouachita Baptist University: Accreditations and Memberships, Retrieved 2012-08-05
  9. ^ "Ouachita Baptist University". U.S. News & World Report Best College Rankings. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  10. ^ GAC Press Release, Retrieved 2012-02-28
  11. ^ "GLVC Wrestling Admits Ouachita Baptist as Associate Member" (Press release). Great Lakes Valley Conference. August 2, 2018. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  12. ^ "First time for everything |". Retrieved April 22, 2019.