Couple to dedicate bronze statue at Wayland library

Release Date: June 19, 2008

 

PLAINVIEW – Ted and Beverly Sanders have always had a love for education and for art. Their latest gift to Wayland Baptist University combines the two.

              The Sanderses will dedicate a life-size bronze sculpture titled “The Classics” during a brief ceremony and reception on Sunday, June 29 from 2-3 p.m. in the Mabee Learning Resources Center at Wayland. The sculpture, which depicts a boy seated on a bench reading a book to children, sits just inside the entrance to the Mabee Center and has been a welcome addition since it arrived a few months ago. It is the work of Colorado sculptor George Lundeen.

              The Sanders are dedicating the sculpture to Beverly’s parents, S.B. and Viola McSwain, who were longtime members of the Plainview community and business owners. The couple met while S.B., called “Bee” by Mrs. McSwain, was working at the Granada Theatre, one of several owned by the McSwain family. They soon married and moved to Arkansas where he managed the Petit Jean theatre, but Bee moved his wife and young daughter back to Plainview when he was called up for the U.S. Army during World War II and had a stint overseas.

              During that time, they lived with Viola’s mother and nephew, whose memory provided a great link to the statue.

              “My mother’s first reaction when we brought her to pick out the sculpture to be given in their honor was that ‘The Classics’ reminded her of my cousin Clendon reading to me and my sisters, which he did often,” recalls Beverly, who moved back to her hometown of Plainview in 2005 when husband Ted retired from the Education Commission of the States in Denver.

              After Bee returned from the war, the couple stayed in Plainview and ran the Karmel Krisp, a soda fountain and sandwich shop next to the Granada. They later purchased the drugstore at the Hilton Hotel. They were active members of First Baptist Church, and Beverly remembers a strong Christian witness by her parents in their businesses.

              S.B. died in 1975 at the age of 61 from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), and Wayland president Dr. Roy McClung officiated at the funeral, noting his sense of humor. Viola lives in Prairie House and at age 88 still enjoys working word puzzles and playing games.

              Prior to joining the landscape of the Wayland campus, the sculpture (and two others currently on loan from the Sanderses) was housed at the offices of ECS, for which Ted served as president for five years after serving as a college president and a state education superintendent among other educational roles. Purchased when the new facility was designed, he said the trio just stood out.

              “Our lifelong commitment and interest in education is why the sculptures appealed to us. I spent my career in education, and Beverly has had a special interest in low-functioning literacy in adults for many years,” said Ted Sanders.

              When the ECS office downsized and looked to sell the art pieces, the Sanderses opted to purchase them and donate one to the university.

              “Beverly had wanted to do something special for Wayland in honor of her parents, since we had done a scholarship for my parents,” Ted noted. “(The sculptures) fit very nicely at Wayland with its mission and our love for education and our tie to Wayland as alums, and with us living back here, we can come enjoy them like everyone else.”

              Ted is a 1964 graduate of Wayland, and Beverly completed her degree in 1966. The two taught in Idaho briefly before Ted moved into other roles in education, and Beverly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom to their four children and volunteered often in their communities in literacy and education causes.

              The dedication reception is open to the public, and viewing of all three sculptures will be available.

 

.