Professor honored with endowed scholarship on birthday

Release Date: Sept. 19, 2008

Dr. Estelle Owens and Lanny Voss at scholarship presentation

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Estelle Owens has received some great gifts over her lifetime of birthdays. But no doubt one of the best surprises came Tuesday when she learned that an anonymous donor had given the money necessary to create a fully endowed scholarship in her honor, timed to coincide with her 60th birthday.

              Owens is dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Wayland Baptist University, as well as professor of history and the official university historian. She is currently working on the comprehensive history of the university as it marks its centennial year.

              Scholarships are created with gifts of any amount, and those donations begin to accrue interest while being invested through the Baptist Foundation of Texas. Once the fund reaches $25,000, it is then endowed, with interest pulled off annually to create scholarships for students in need. For some families and friends, that process can take a few years, but the donor wanted the scholarship to be established during the centennial and while Owens was completing one of her largest works for the university to date.

              While wishing to remain anonymous, the donor said the gift was intended to honor Owens’ strong Christian leadership and witness, academic excellence and willingness to impact and guide students’ lives.

              “Dr. Estelle Owens is a driving force behind Wayland’s positive impact on student lives. As an outstanding teacher, she is the personified conscience of her students, confirming them in their doubts, explaining their dissatisfactions, and stimulating their urge to improve,” the donor said. “She is one of Wayland’s greatest assets and richly deserves this honor. Those who endowed this scholarship wish to remain anonymous because her contributions to the Wayland mission deserve the spotlight. She is the only person who should receive attention through these efforts.”

              Owens is a 1971 graduate of Wayland, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree here before earning her master’s degree from Baylor University in 1973. She joined the faculty at Wayland in 1974 and continued her education at Auburn University, earning a doctorate in 1983.

              While teaching, Owens has served on various university committees and was the unofficial historian for years before receiving that honor by the Board of Trustees officially in 2007. She has served as an academic dean for many years and is a longtime member of First Baptist Church.

              While the scholarship has reached endowment, the donor hoped that Owens’ peers, former students and friends “who would like to see her life’s work and legacy both honored and continued” would add their gifts to the fund. There is no limit to how big the scholarship fund can grow.

              The donor wishes for the scholarship to ultimately benefit a female social sciences major or minor with strong Christian leadership in the local church, academic excellence and dedication to scholarship, and willingness to risk the unconventional.

              For more information on donating to the Estelle Owens Scholarship, contact the Office of Advancement at (806) 291-3425.