Rodney Pitts’ connection to Friends University is a legacy that started years before he stepped foot in the Davis Administration Building.
Pitts, a 1982 graduate in Business Administration and executive vice president of the Wealth Management Division of INTRUST Bank, has a Friends family history that dates back several decades.
That legacy was a factor when Pitts chose Friends University for his education. However, he was also impressed with the University’s other qualification.
“I chose Friends because it is a university based upon Christian principles and rich in Quaker history,” Pitts said. “It allowed me to get involved in activities beyond just academics, such as Singing Quakers, the newspaper staff, and many other extracurricular events. The small class size also gave me more interaction with my professors.”
Two of those influential professors were Drs. Harold Friesen and Jerry Highfill, both professors of business administration.
“Both (Friesen and Highfill) were critically important in my education and had a significant influence on my interest in business and law,” Pitts said.
After graduating from Friends University, Pitts went on to earn both a law degree and a Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma City University.
With banking in his blood – both his father and father-in-law are bankers – Pitts settled into a long, successful career in banking. Much of his success, he says, he owes to Friends University.
“Friends gave me a broader perspective than I’d have received if I’d have gone elsewhere,” he said. “The liberal arts education has been beneficial in helping to hone skills that don’t necessarily fall under the traditional business curriculum. The ability to be involved beyond the business school helped me in both law school and my professional life.”
To students considering Friends University, Pitts said, “You’ll have unparalleled access to professors and critical thinking that I don’t think is prevalent at a larger institution. The intimacy of the classes allows students to be more active and involved in development of their academic life.”
Pitts’ commitment and his family’s legacy to Friends University continue, as he is the current chairman of the University’s board of trustees.
“Working on the board is an opportunity to become more actively involved in fulfilling Friends' mission of providing a high quality of education within the context of the Christian faith,” he said.
Pitts’ father, Daryl Pitts, served as a board member for several terms: 1965-1966, 1971-1986 and 1988-1992.
“It’s a real honor to follow my father and continue our family’s involvement at Friends University,” Pitts said.