O’Bannon Family Gives Generous Gift, Hosts Lectures At Lee University

[Chattanoogan.com] O’Bannon Family Gives Generous Gift, Hosts Lectures At Lee University

Bethany O’Bannon-Bowman, Dr. Randy O’Bannon, and Terry O’Bannon, children of the late Dr. Robert O’Bannon, were hosted for guest lectures at Lee University and gave a significant financial gift to the Dr. Robert O'Bannon Scholarship Fund in memory of their father’s legacy.

"October 28th felt like Dr. Robert O'Bannon day at Lee University,” said Dr. Brad Moffett, vice president for University Relations. “It was wonderful for Lee to host Dr. O'Bannon's children on our campus for the lecture series. The highlight for me was the luncheon hosted by President and Mrs. Walker, where we fondly remembered Dr. O'Bannon's broad impact on Lee and its students through a reflection offered by Chancellor Paul Conn."

“Lee University was his world,” said Mrs. O’Bannon-Bowman. “He had other part-time jobs, but his work at Lee was everything to him.”

Robert O’Bannon taught science courses at Lee University for 45 years, retiring in 2008. While there, he received Lee’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1980 and the Excellence in Scholarship Award in 1989. In fall 2002, the university named O’Bannon Hall, one of Lee’s male dorms, in his honor.

Robert O’Bannon helped create Lee’s short-term medical missions program, which became the Global Outreach Program, and served as chair of Lee’s Science Department for several years, helping hundreds of students get into medical and dental school. His most popular course was Science & the Bible, which showed the harmony of two disciplines many thought were in conflict. He earned his master’s degree in theology from the then-Church of God School of Theology in 1989.

“One thing everyone should know about our father is that he was very passionate about the truth,” said Randy O’Bannon. “He was interested in finding out what the truth is, promoting it, and rejecting lies and bad logic.”

After organizing their father’s books about science and creation, the O’Bannons gifted the collection to Lee University’s Squires Library, which will be named “The Robert O’Bannon Collection” in his memory. Additionally, they will give the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center a collection of their father’s sermon and teaching notes, including notes taken during his mission work, along with some of his published works.

“Our parents met at Lee, so Lee has been in our family for generations,” said Terry O’Bannon. “We grew up running around at Lee. All three of us went to Lee, and I taught there. Beyond that, we believe in the mission of Lee.”

Because of their belief in Lee’s mission and their commitment to honoring their father’s memory, the O’Bannons continually give to the Dr. Robert O’Bannon Science Scholarship. Initiated by Dr. J. Patrick Daugherty and by the Collegiate Sertoma Club, the scholarship is given to a science major, and selection is based on the science laboratory abilities of the applicant.

“It is our hope and prayer that this gift and knowledge of this scholarship will encourage others who were inspired and influenced by my father’s life, ministry, and academic work to join us in supporting this effort to help raise up a whole new generation of scientists who acknowledge and worship the One who made, loves, and died for us all,” said Randy O’Bannon.

All three of Dr. Robert O’Bannon’s children gave a lecture on Oct. 28. Mrs. O’Bannon-Bowman, director of professional learning for Professional Educators of Tennessee, gave a lecture titled “Using Your Teaching Career to Accomplish God’s Will;” Dr. Randy O’Bannon, director of education for the National Right to Life Committee, presented on “Creation, Covenants & Commandments: The Moral Framework of the Bible;” and Terry O’Bannon, chief scientist and proprietor of O’Bannon Technologies, shared “Seat of Your Pants Robotics: Engineering requires fluency in all math languages.”

“We thought that a great way to honor our dad would not just be to raise money, but to do what he did, which was to teach,” said Randy O’Bannon.

For more information or to donate to the Dr. Robert O’Bannon Science Scholarship, visit https://www.leeuniversity.edu/give/.