As the 2022/2023 academic school year closed out on May 6, five Oakland City University faculty members closed out their illustrious careers in education.
OCU President Dr. Ron Dempsey recently celebrated the retirement announcements with the retirees and their spouses at a dinner of Board of Trustee members, members of the President's cabinet, and guests. President Dempsey commented, "These five faculty members have served the university with distinction. They have impacted the lives of students and made our world a better place through those they have educated. Collectively, Dr. Randy Mills, Dr. Cathy Gonzales, Dr. Douglas Low, Dr. Thomas Leuze, and Dr. Denise Pinnick have provided 146 years of service to this institution. These years of service are a testament of dedication and faith to God, this university, and, most importantly, their students."
President Dempsey presented the five retirees with a crystal replica of the OCU Bell Tower.
Dr. Cathy Gonzales
Associate Professor of Education
Dr. Cathy Gonzales joined Oakland City University as a full-time instructor in May 1999 after finishing her bachelor's degree in K-12 Art Education. Then she added a minor in Biology in May of 1982.
She taught for many years at the middle school level, subbing at all grade levels, working as an aide in Special Education, and Tutoring at three school corporations, East Gibson, South Gibson, and South Spencer.
She completed her master's in education at OCU before becoming the Upward Bound Director, lasting more than eight years. After that, Dr. Gonzales entered the Educational Doctorate program at OCU and became an Assistant Professor in the School of Education.
Dr. Gonzales has a wealth of experience in education and other service work to the surrounding communities. She has taught Transparenting classes and supervised child visits for the DOULOS Family Agency in the Dubois and Gibson County court systems. In addition, she has taught courses at Branchville Correctional Facility, the Adult Degrees program, the Master's in Education program, and the Transfer to Teaching program, all while she was raising three young men who attended Oakland City University and two future daughters-in-law who also graduated from Oakland City University.
Dr. Gonzales stated she will now have time to spend with her family and add to her family! She is marrying Mr. James Doughman, a Senior Systems Computer Analyst at Airforce Exchange, this July! She intends to stay in Oakland City, spending time with her new husband and children.
Dr. Gonzales is leaving OCU with much respect for the students, faculty, staff, and administration she has worked with. She will now enjoy the many home and art projects she loves to do.
Dr. Thomas Leuze
Professor of Christian Education and Religious Studies at Chapman Seminary
Dr. Leuze grew up in Tennessee, where he attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, graduating with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. Then, sensing a call to ministry, Dr. Leuze attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He earned a Master of Divinity in Christian Education and a Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Education.
Dr. Leuze has served Baptist churches in Georgia and Kentucky as a minister of education. He spent a year at Georgia Institute of Technology interning in campus ministry at the Baptist Student Union. In addition, he was an instructor in the School of Christian Education at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Dr. Leuze became a professor at Oakland City University in 1995, teaching Christian education and other religious studies.
His research interests include the influence of Anglo-American postmodern thought on Christian education, contextualized versions of the Bible, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In addition, he is involved in research regarding Dietrich Bonhoeffer's approach to theological education.
Dr. Leuze is a member of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, the Religious Education Association, the Association of Theological Field Educators, the American Academy of Religion, and the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society.
Dr. Lueze's wife, Vicki, is a middle school teacher in Louisville, Kentucky, and a doctoral student at the University of Louisville. The couple enjoys traveling and particularly love Vermont and Chicago. They met and were married in Atlanta and are big fans of the Atlanta Braves. He's a lifelong fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. He loves books and always has a stack of books he is reading or getting ready to read.
Dr. Douglas Low
Professor of New Testament at Chapman Seminary
Dr. Douglas Low was a professor of the New Testament at OCU. While teaching at OCU's Chapman Seminary, Dr. Low taught New Testament and related subjects, The Parables of Jesus, Greek, Paul's Letter to the Romans, and others.
He was raised in a General Baptist home, where every Sunday morning and evening was spent in the local General Baptist church. Many of his extended family members, including his grandfather and father, served as deacons.
Dr. Low's General Baptist experience complimented the General Baptist Heritage course for General Baptist religion majors on the undergraduate level, where his students explored the history of the General Baptist movement, the development of the Church's faith statements, and current affirmations of social justice and public morality.
Dr. Low wrote the Leader's Guide (2011) for the General Baptist website and a collection of his essays on the General Baptist Statements of Faith (2003).
The General Baptists ordain him, and he serves a local United Methodist Church as a part-time pastor.
Dr. Low describes himself as a little bookish and private, with memberships in the Society of Biblical Literature and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.
Dr. Low stated, "OCU has allowed me to pursue reading and reflecting on texts in a faith-based seminary and university context."
Dr. Low and his wife, Emily, have two grown children. Dr. Low and Emily are active in the local church ministries--passing on their faith to children and adults with their words and lives.
Dr. Denise Pinnick
Professor of Library Services
Dr. Denise J. Pinnick arrived at Oakland City College as a student in 1986. Dr. Pennick was a single mother of three young children and needed to complete her education to provide for her family. OCU was the perfect fit for her needs and provided an excellent opportunity through the Christian guidance and support of staff and faculty. She graduated from OCC in 1990 with a B.A. in elementary education and a minor in reading.
Dr. Pinnick then became the Head Librarian at the Bicknell-Vigo Township Public Library and worked until the spring of 1999. While working at the Public Library, she received her Master's in Library Science from Indiana University. Dr. Pinnick returned to OCU in December 1999 as the Director of the Library and Associate Professor of Library Services until her retirement announcement.
Dr. Pinnick has published three articles, Ethical Leadership, Characteristics of Enlightened Management, and The Effect of an Information Literacy Course on the Information Literacy Skills of College Students. She was given the Oakland City University Teacher of the Year award in 2008, and she feels very blessed that God allowed her to be in a position that afforded her to serve as a librarian and to teach.
Dr. Pinnick has taught Children's Literature since the fall semester of 2003. She has shared her passion for children's literature with her students. Part of that connection to children's literature stems from the fact that she and her husband, Keith, are the parents of six children and 15 grandchildren.
Dr. Randy Mills
Associate Professor of Education
Dr. Randy Mills arrived at Oakland City College as a freshman in 1969, a first-generation college student from rural southern Illinois. Oakland City provided him with an environment that helped prepare him for a teaching vocation and changed his life, leading to a path of service and scholarship.
After graduating from Oakland City College in 1973, Dr. Mills taught at Loogootee High School in Loogootee, Indiana, for ten years. During that time, he also completed a master's degree in history at Indiana University. In 1983, Dr. Mills returned to Oakland City University as a history instructor. Dr. Mills continued teaching at OCC/OCU for 38 years and at another University for two. He educated hundreds of students in 38 years at OCU, achieving the rank of Distinguished Professor.
In his 38 years at OCU, Dr. Mills remembers teaching one history class with 90 students, and he recalled that the students were a joy and a blessing, almost every one of them serious about getting their education.
At OCU, he also completed his doctorate at Indiana University and began a professional writing career. His scholarly work representing OCU has included publishing over 90 articles about education, history education, and history in many professional journals while also writing nine books.
Dr. Mills has made over thirty presentations at education and history conferences and was the keynote speaker at five events.
In 2006, Dr. Mills received the George C. Roberts Award from the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences for excellence in academic scholarship. In 2018 he received the Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award from the Indiana Historical Society. During the last fifteen years, he has been the editor of the school-sponsored Journal of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2022, Dr. Mills was appointed to the State of Indiana Library and History Board.
Dr. Mills will remain at OCU as a volunteer writer in residence, working on his continued interest in regional history and OCU's history and working with faculty on publications. In addition, Dr. Mills will complete a book about Larry Bird's high school basketball playing days this summer.
Dr. Mills says he has been on an amazing journey of educating young minds for 50 years. A trip he truly believes was only made possible by attending Oakland City College as a Freshman.