Dr. Ted Bader

Campaign for the Science at Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University’s science alumni are a unique group of people. They are close like family. As a result, many of them are quick to help each other and their alma mater when needs arise. 

Dr. Ted Bader, Class of 1976, is one such graduate who is part of a very special group of science alumni called Catalysts. This group was formed in 1977 with the mission of providing major financial assistance to the Science and Mathematics Division of SNU. Around 175 alumni have joined Catalysts since 1977, with around 60 contributing to Catalysts annually. Dr. Bader and the Catalysts were instrumental in helping fund one of the university’s most prestigious scientific accomplishments: the Quetzal Education Research Center in Costa Rica. 

Dr. Bader’s involvement with the QERC began in 1995 when he received a call from Dr. Leo Finkenbinder asking him to come to Costa Rica and help raise money for the research center. 

“After considering the issue, I felt the Lord would have me visit with Dr. Finkenbinder and explore the SNU QERC site,” said Dr. Bader. 

From 1986 to 1995, the Catalysts gave several thousand dollars to support Dr. Finkenbinder in his travels to Costa Rica, which was an instrumental time that ultimately led to the creation of the QERC.During this time Dr. Finkenbinder worked at the request of the Chacon family in stabilizing the ecology of the Quetzal valley. Dr. Bader said 1995 was a crucial year for the project, as the time had come to begin building the QERC research facility, which could not become a reality without proper funding at an initial amount of $15,000. 

During his visit to Costa Rica, Dr. Bader recalled how the warmth of the Quetzal valley people and the high regard they looked up to Dr. Finkenbinder for all his efforts opened his heart even more to the project. Dr. Bader prayed and asked God to direct the next steps for the QERC. 

“One morning during my stay, I stood on the bluff overlooking the Rio De Savegre, at a spot about 15 yards northeast of the current two story building, to ask the Lord if I should attempt to raise money for this project,” he said. “I have never felt in my life such a strong leading from the Lord to do so. The voice was almost audible.” 

Even though a lease had yet to be solidified for the QERC property, Dr. Bader responded to God’s prompting by donating a royalty check he had just received from his medical book on viral hepatitis. He also challenged Olan Moore, who was 95 years old at the time and was SNU’s first student body president in 1922, to match his donation. 

“I warned him that there was no lease yet and we could lose the entire amount if a lease was not forthcoming on the property,” recalled Dr. Bader. “He enthusiastically endorsed the idea and literally a concrete bodega was quickly raised. The SNU QERC research banner was quickly raised.” 

Dr. Bader said the Lord truly blessed the fundraising from SNU science alumni, as more than $100,000 was raised in just over a six-month period. 

“I have never seen such generosity before or since that time,” Dr. Bader explained. “Don Dunnington was the Provost of SNU at the time and his support, along with Loren Gresham’s, were absolutely key in leading the cabinet to conclude the QERC lease. “ 

A native of Boulder, Colorado, Dr. Bader came to SNU with the desire of attending a university where qualified professors taught from a Christian perspective. His desire to become a doctor stemmed from interest in human psychology and thought the combination of biology and human psychology would be best combined as a doctor. During his time as a student, Dr. Bader was grateful for the Christ-centered instruction he received from his professors. 

“I came to see that one could question anything and then supply the Christian perspective to the issue,” he explained. “In most cases, this perspective is by far the most intellectually satisfying.” 

In addition to his work as a physician specializing in liver and digestive diseases, Dr. Bader is a successful writer having authored a textbook and a series of fictional novels with his wife Marilyn set in the 19th century.

Dr. Bader’s passion in supporting the SNU science community through fundraising continues to this day. He said that he saw the Lord’s hand in raising the QERC project and then eventually helping it become financially self-sustaining. He is confident that SNU is once again seeing God’s hand at work as the focus of Dr. Bader and the Catalysts turns toward constructing a more modern science building on the Bethany, Oklahoma campus as part of the Campaign For The Sciences. 

He explained that is important for alumni and university supporters to become actively involved in the Campaign so that SNU can continue to produce some of the nation’s finest scientific and medical minds. 

“Adequately funded and new equipment and space is more essential to science than any other section of a University,” added Dr. Bader. “Wesleyanism has always welcomed the best knowledge of faith and science.” 

Furthermore, Dr. Bader explained it is essential for Christian universities like SNU to continue producing research scientists, working scientists, physicians, nurses, and other health care personnel, so they have an effect on every segment of society.