Dr. Nancy Halliday

Campaign for the Sciences at Southern Nazarene University

Harmony is a theme that has been woven throughout the life of Dr. Nancy Halliday. From her early days as a professional classical musician to her love of biology and teaching, the 1988 graduate of Southern Nazarene University sees the harmony that is at work around her.

“One of my favorite things about teaching at SNU was assisting students in their journey to hold faith and science in harmony,” said Dr. Halliday. “The topic was brought up almost daily given the apparent conflicts of biology and faith. At the OU College of Medicine, I continue to assist students in holding both faith and science in harmony to realize a more complete understanding of the nature of God.”

It was during her time as a student at SNU that she first began to see the harmony that exists between a faith in Christ and science thanks to two science professors she holds in high esteem. 

“I compartmentalized my faith from my academics until Drs. Young and Judd illuminated how these can and should illuminate each other,” she explained. “With this new understanding, I was able to view all aspects of my life through the lens of a believer.” 

Before coming to SNU, Dr. Halliday was on a much different career path thanks to her love of music. Even though a gifted biology teacher in high school piqued her interest in the natural sciences, her desire going into college was to become a classical musician. She went on to obtain a Bachelors of Music degree in Horn Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York in 1979. 

Her career as a symphony musician brought her to Oklahoma City. It was during this time that Dr. Halliday’s interest in biology began to grow once again leading her to pursue a second degree. As she originally considered a degree that would lead her into the healthcare field, a physician recommended SNU to her. It was during her initial visit that she realized SNU was the right school. 

“After a visit to the campus and meeting with Dr. Gene Heasley, I decided to that SNU was a great place for me,” said Dr. Halliday. 

While at SNU, Dr. Halliday explained that she shifted her desire from being a physician to becoming a teacher. This shift occurred as a result of her being a teacher’s assistant and tutor for the biology department, as she discovered her love of teaching. 

Dr. Halliday went on to receive her B.S. in Biology in 1988 and later obtained a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1994. After having taught at SNU, Dr. Halliday is now an associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the OU College of Medicine.

While a student at SNU, Dr. Haillday credited three professors as being the most influential: Dr. Sharon Young, Dr. Robert Judd, and Dr. Gene Heasley. She said Dr. Young was incredibly patient, supportive, and fair. Dr. Halliday also explained that Dr. Young not only demonstrated her desire for her to succeed academically, she also invested in her development as a whole person. 

“Dr. Robert Judd was also one who demonstrated an interest in developing whole persons,” she explained. “He held us to high academic standards – and was also an incredible scholar. His knowledge in just about any subject (even outside of biology) was impressive.” 

Finally, she said Dr. Heasley stretched her academically to levels she did not know she was capable. Dr. Halliday explained the growth she experienced as a result of Dr. Heasley’s teaching and advisement was way beyond her expectations and prepared her for graduate training. 

Thanks to the investment of these three professors in her life, Dr. Halliday said her love of teaching goes far beyond instructing students in biology. 

"I love being part of the academic and personal journeys students take to reach their dreams,” added Dr. Halliday. “I feel called to serve by equipping the saints as they prepare to serve God. I find myself in Christ when I lose myself in the service of others. “ 

Dr. Halliday’s expertise with higher education is one the driving factors that fuels her passion for the Campaign For The Sciences. She said a driving force of a successful program is directly attributed to the faculty and students within the program. 

“SNU hires great faculty, but great faculty can become even more effective if they have excellent facilities and equipment,” said Dr. Halliday. “In addition, having up-to-date and state-of-the-art facilities significantly impacts the ability of SNU to recruit the top students into the science programs. “ 

She also urged those who have directly benefitted from the investment of SNU to get behind and involved in the vision of the Campaign For The Sciences. 

“For science graduates, this campaign is critically important for that goal of building the future,” she added. 

With work already underway on the 25,891-square-foot laboratory on the SNU campus as part of the Campaign, Dr. Halliday is excited about future students this new facility will bring to SNU who will be able to discover for themselves the harmony that exists between their faith in Christ and science.