Dr. Larry Mills Endowed Chair of Business


A Journey Through the Life of Dr. Larry Mills


Dr. Mills grew up in Iowa and was the youngest with two sisters. He loved playing sports. Dr. Mills played Basketball and took on his 4 th & 5 th -grade classmates. He would have to let them win so they would continue to play with him.


Dr. Mill’s father repaired tractors. Some could not pay for his father’s service. At one point, Dr. Mills woke up and heard his dad crying. He heard his mother say to his father, “Ward, God is going to take care of us.” Their go to scripture was Micah 6:8. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


1960s: Larry attended junior college on a basketball scholarship and then was recruited to play at Iowa State, also on a basketball scholarship. While in school, he read an article about David Baker, football player for the San Francisco 49ers. Baker expressed a concern about playing in the NFL on Sundays as he was a Christian. Larry thought to himself that there were at least 2 Christian athletes in the world – he and David Baker. While at Iowa State, the basketball team traveled to Oklahoma to play OU and OSU. Larry remembered having a friend from home who came to Oklahoma to attend Bethany Nazarene College. Larry decided to transfer to BNC for the following school year and wrote a letter addressed to “Bethany Nazarene College Basketball Coach” asking if he could come and play basketball there.

Much to his surprise, he received a letter back from his sports hero, David Baker, who had come to Bethany to start a basketball program as the first coach. Baker replied that the program was just beginning and there were no scholarships, but Larry was welcome to come if he still wanted to. Larry did just that and became a member of the team, later graduating from BNC. He worked over the summer at a chicken farm to pay for school since there were no basketball scholarships at BNC.

Dr. Mills and Judy met at the Wooden Nickel. He showed Judy around campus while looking for a particular professor Judy needed to see. The two married in ’67 on November 10 following their meeting in ’66.  Dr. Mills worked on his Masters at OU. He taught a class at BNC at the same time.  They lived off of N. Donald in Bethany.


1970s: After playing basketball, Coach Baker asked Larry to join the coaching staff.


Dr. Mills was in the “National Guard” before he began his Master’s degree. He was in the Reserve for seven years.  Dr. Mills worked on his Masters at OU. He taught a class at BNC at the same time.  He was married, going to school and teaching.  He came to the point where he made the decision to focus on teaching and gave up coaching to work on his Doctorate

Jim Tabors helped Dr. Mills create a game for Business Policy andpairing Teams. They started “Group work assignments” for their students. Dr. Mills used inspirational tidbits called Pickles of Life/ Ten Principles of Life; which he still uses today.


Dr. Mills has enjoyed his children and grandchildren dearly over the years.


Judy said never once did she hear Dr. Mills say that he wished he did not have to go to work.


There are three points for life that Dr. Mills has lived by and shares with others.






Our Nazarene Heritage

Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, SNU grew out of several small colleges committed to training people for service to God and their fellow man. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world.
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