Serving the Oklahoma Episcopal Area for three quadrennia (2004- 2016), Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr. and his wife, Mrs. Deliliah (Dee) Marie Bernard Hayes were honored by the Oklahoma Annual Conference with the establishment of a fully endowed $130,000 scholarship at Africa University named in their honor. Hayes has always stressed the importance of support for Africa University. The two annual conferences within the Episcopal Area—Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) and Oklahoma Annual Conference (OAC)—did not disappoint. The OIMC supported the AU Fund at 100 percent and the OAC's support of the AU Fund averaged 94.5 percent throughout Bishop Hayes' 12-year tenure.
Dee's life as the spouse of a bishop was not defined by her husband's duties, but rather by her passion to assist children, youth, and the poor. During the Hayeses' tenure in Oklahoma, Dee became active in children's and youth ministries and served on several conference and community boards and agencies that addressed the needs of at-risk youth and the poor.
Bishop Hayes' episcopal assignment required travel abroad. Their visit to Africa University in 2010 was a memorable one for them. They were impressed with the facilities, hospitality, and the beauty of the campus nestled at the foot of Mt. Chiremba in the Valley of Hope.
Upon retiring in September 2016, the Hayeses returned to their home in Houston, Texas and have become active members of The Woodlands United Methodist Church. Bishop Hayes is bishop-in-residence, and Dee is involved with numerous outreach projects which support several charitable agencies in the Houston area.
When asked what are their hopes and dreams for Africa University, they said they pray that Africa University will continue to be a beacon for the continent of Africa by producing outstanding leaders and continue to be one of the crown jewels of The United Methodist Church. Further, they pray that the endowed scholarship will enable the young men and women of Africa who are without sufficient financial resources to acquire a first-rate university education so that they may be of service to their families, communities, nations, and the world.
Elaine Jenkins, director of planned giving, Africa University Development Office
A World Service Special Gift is a designated financial contribution made by an individual, local church, organization, district or annual conference to a project authorized as such by the Connectional Table. Current World Service Special Gifts projects include the Africa University Endowment Fund, the Leonard Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students, the Methodist Global Education Fund, the National Anti-Gambling Project and the Lay Missionary Planting Network.