Ouachita Baptist University hosted the 50th anniversary of Miss Ouachita Baptist University on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Ouachita Baptist University hosted the 50th anniversary of Miss Ouachita Baptist University on Saturday, Feb. 4. The pageant honored former Miss OBU title holders and crowned Tiffany Lee as the 2017 Miss Ouachita Baptist University.
“I’m really excited. I don’t feel like it’s real yet, but it will hit me eventually,” Lee said. “I think this year is going to be very busy and a very humbling experience. I am so thankful.”
Lee is a sophomore mass communications major from Benton, Ark. She is the daughter of Tony and Kelly Lee and represented EEE women’s social club. Her platform is “Stay Hydrated, Stay Healthy” based on her struggle with chronic dehydration. In addition to winning the Miss OBU crown, Lee received the Suzie Gresham Alpha Evening Wear Award, the Kiley Jane Wright Alpha Award, the Bethany Briscoe Toney Presence and Poise in Evening Wear Award and the Kristen Glover Belew Private Interview Award.
“I am super excited for Tiffany. This has been a great journey for me so I know that I can only expect the greatest things for her this next year,” said Suzie Gresham, the 2016 Miss Ouachita Baptist University. “I look forward to her being able to serve our college and to be on campus and to be super involved. I’m excited to see her journey to Miss Arkansas.”
The first runner-up was McKenzie Gosser, a sophomore business administration and marketing major from North Little Rock, Ark. She is the daughter of Bobby and Donna Gosser and represented EEE women’s social club. Gosser received the Mac Sisson Alpha Talent Award for her tap dance to “Blame It on the Boogie.”
Lauren Ford was the second runner-up. She is a junior political science major from Cabot, Ark. The daughter of Gordon and Debbie Ford, she represented Tri Chi women’s social club. Ford received the Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Maker Award, which is given to the contestant who raised the most money for CMN.
The third runner-up was Maggie Donnell, a freshman psychology and social justice studies major from Rogers, Ark. She is the daughter of Hugh and Regina Donnell and represented Francis Crawford Residence Hall. Donnell received the Miss Congeniality Award and tied with two others for the Overall Academic Award.
Baylee McBride was the fourth runner-up. She is a junior kinesiology and biology double major from Hooks, Texas. The daughter of Johnny and Sonya McBride, she represented the Ouachita Tigers cheer team. She received the Ouachita Baptist University Student Senate Inner and Outer Beauty Award, the Bethany Whitfield Alpha Swimsuit Award and tied for the Overall Academic Award.
Mariah Gough, a senior biology and kinesiology double major from Smackover, Ark., represented Chi Delta women’s social club and received the Photogenic Award. Alexandra Lawson, a senior accounting major from Texarkana, Texas, represented EEE women’s social club. Dani Joy Osborne, a sophomore Christian studies major from Jonesboro, Ark., represented Tri Chi women’s social club pledge class of 2016 and received the Spirit of Miss Ouachita Baptist University Award and the People’s Choice Award and tied for the Overall Academic Award.
The pageant recognized several former Miss Ouachita Baptist University title holders who were in attendance, including: Gresham, 2011 Miss OBU Kristin Glover Belew (also Miss Arkansas 2011), 2004 Miss OBU Lacy Fleming Glover (also Miss Arkansas 2004), 1998 Miss OBU Lisa Akins Johnson, 1993 Miss OBU Beth Anne Rankin (also Miss Arkansas 1994), 1992 Miss OBU April Gosser Cook, 1990 Miss OBU Melanie Cicero Jenkins, 1989 Miss OBU Terry Lang Jones, 1985 Miss OBU Patti Thorn Lusk, 1983 Miss OBU Deanna Briley Cabaniss, 1982 Miss OBU Terry Griffin Peeples, 1980 Miss OBU Julie Hendrix Dodge, 1976 Miss OBU Sheri McMullan Swindler and the first-ever Miss OBU, Sharon Evans Bale, who went on to become Miss Arkansas in 1967. Rick Pruitt, former longtime emcee for the Miss OBU pageant (now working for the Miss Arkansas Organization), presented Bale an award, honoring her for being the first Miss OBU and her ongoing involvement in the Miss Arkansas Organization.
“The pageant was beyond what I hoped for. I was so touched by the words spoken by Sharon Evans Bale and Rick Pruitt just going down memory lane,” said Ashlee Giles, Miss OBU campus advisor. “I was moved by Suzie’s farewell video; I think it just speaks volumes of how hard she’s worked because she has so many people to thank! So many people have invested in her, and she is the epitome of what a Miss OBU should represent.” Becky Hartsfield, a Ouachita alumna, served as the pageant’s executive director, and members of OBU’s Student Senate Special Events Committee also helped coordinate the event.
Additional entertainment was presented by Miss Arkansas 2016 Savannah Skidmore and the Miss OBU Court of Honor: Alexis Morgan, a senior choral music education major from Frisco, Texas; Libby Villegas, a sophomore music business major from Wylie, Texas; Kayla Walker, a senior musical theatre major from North Little Rock, Ark.; and Emily Weeden, a senior worship arts major from Rogers, Ark. Stephen Curry, an Ouachita admissions counselor, served as their musical director, and Abby Root, a senior education and speech/theatre arts major from Arkadelphia, Ark., served as choreographer.
Lee will go on to represent Ouachita at the 2017 Miss Arkansas Pageant in Little Rock, Ark., June 13-17.
For more information, contact Ashlee Giles at gilesa@obu.edu or (870) 245-5200.