A Concise History of ASP

The dream of an Academy of Senior Professionals (ASP) at Southern Nazarene University (SNU) first unfolded in the mind of Dr. Elbert Overholt, professor of Education and Business at SNU. As he was nearing retirement, he came across an article in the local newspaper describing an Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Some visits were made to Eckerd College, a Presbyterian-related school. With the help of a number of local persons, the concept for an organized group of senior professionals at Southern Nazarene University was fleshed out. That idea was officially approved by the SNU Board of Trustees in May, 1988.

The initial organizational luncheon was held in the President’s Dining Room on October 16, 1990. By-laws for the Academy and a slate of officers were presented by Dr. Overholt for approval by Loren Gresham, SNU President.

Dr. Overholt was named as the first ASP director. Vada Lee Barkley, who had helped Dr. Overholt write the first set of bylaws, was elected as the Academy’s first president. For the next eight years, she developed and refined the organization as its president, serving until the spring of 1998.

Jack David Armold then became president of ASP and served for the next dozen years until May of 2010. He assisted the organization in short- and long-range planning and led the group to a new level of learning and service. The state-wide Senior Adult Conference in 2002 was an outstanding example of the many professional and service projects sponsored and developed by the Academy and its members.

Another idea for a meaningful project was originated and promoted by Academy members who were interested in quality senior housing for citizens of the community. After much committee work and study of the perceived target population, Robert Parker was recruited to head Southern Senior Services (SSS), a group of local citizens, SNU board members, and three members of the Academy appointed by Dr. Loren Gresham. SNU’s senior adult housing center was planned and developed under the guidance of SSS and now operates as Southern Plaza at NW 36th and College in Bethany.

After 12 years as ASP president, Jack David Armold encouraged the Academy to change the bylaws so that a new president would serve for three years: the first year as president-elect, followed by a year as president, and then a year as immediate past president.

Directors of the Academy from its inception:

  • Elbert Overholt, 1990-2007
  • Brenda Styers, 2007-2009
  • Eunice Trent, 2009-2017
  • Brent LaVigne, 2017-19
  • Carolyn Jaggers, 2019-present

ASP Presidents:

  • Vada Lee Barkley, 1990-98
  • Jack David Armold, 1998-2010
  • Irwin Harris, 2010-11
  • Emmalyn German, 2011-12
  • Renda Brumbeloe, 2012-13
  • Emmalyn German, 2013-14
  • Arlita Harris, 2014-15
  • Leonard Skodak 2015-16
  • Howard Culbertson 2016-17
  • Frank Dewey 2017-18
  • John Martin, 2018-19
  • Marla Mercer Cole, 2019-20
  • Emmalyn German, 2020-22
  • LaNell Stahl, 2022-23
  • Barbara Wright Jones, 2023–2024
  • President Elect, Jim Dorough, 2023-2024

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