Extra Alumni Online Newsletter for November
Vanessa and Jason Carlson’s lives changed dramatically on May 27, 2011, when their daughter Victoria Rose came into the world prematurely weighing just two pounds. Born a full 12 weeks before her due date, the baby spent two months in the NICU unit.
“I remember taking a picture thinking that might be the last day we saw her alive,” recalls Vanessa, a 2015 graduate from San Antonio’s Rio Grande Valley site. “Every obstacle the Lord just brought us through. She had a cyst in her brain that was gone six months later. With every milestone, the doctor was just amazed.”
Several years later, the Carlsons wanted to mark their perfectly healthy daughter’s fifth birthday in a special, lasting way. Preferring to think of the bright moments, Vanessa and Jason penned a story about Victoria’s life that focused on the triumphant aspects more than the difficulties. Meant originally just to be a family gift, friends who saw the book wanted a copy of the inspirational tale.
Not long before Victoria’s sixth birthday, the Carlsons published their story through Halo Publishing, and the result was a children’s book titled Mighty Little Keeper, illustrated by Rosemarie Gillen. The book released in February 2017 and is being sold on Halo’s website as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Carlsons hope that others find the book a special keepsake for their own “preemie” to focus on overcoming odds and the role that their faith played in that journey.
The family also started a foundation, Victoria Rose’s Gift, with the primary mission to bring happy moments into a tough place for parents of premature newborns: the NICU unit. Throughout the year, the Carlsons deliver care packages to families that include necessities like toothbrushes, books, journals, stuffed animals and the like.
Vanessa learned about Wayland’s presence in the Rio Grande Valley from her pastor at Baptist Temple in McAllen. When she found out coursework could be completed online and locally, she jumped in with both feet. She chose education as her major and is now a middle-school science teacher in Edinburg. Jason is a firefighter in McAllen and volunteers for the Edinburg unit.
The family also includes Scarlett Elizabeth, 4, and a new baby sister, James Amelia, born Aug. 25.
From the History Files
Ironically, the man whose name would one day grace one of the largest Baptist universities in the United States was not originally a Baptist at all. According to his daughter Mabel, Dr. James Henry Wayland was raised by a long line of Methodists, but he later converted before marrying longtime Baptist Sarah Tucker in December 1883.
Nevertheless, Dr. and Mrs. Wayland became active members of First Baptist Church in Plainview, and the doctor served on the leadership of the Baptist convention. So it was really no surprise to many when his vision for a Christian university on the high plains of Texas bore the Baptist name.
Still in his 20s when they ventured to Hale County to set up a medical practice in a place kinder to his asthma, the young doctor and his wife and children were pioneers in the truest sense. They arrived in a fairly new town – Plainview had not yet been incorporated as a city – built one of the first homes in the area and established a practice that served residents in a 300-mile radius.
Then 15 years after arriving in the arid land of West Texas, the couple made one of their first sacrificial gifts to the local Baptist Association when they donated $10,000 and 25 acres of land near their home as the seed money for a college provided the city could raise an additional $40,000 for the project. The charter for the Wayland Literary and Technical Institute was granted on Aug. 31, 1908, and the college would undergo a name change just before classes first opened in 1910.
The Waylands would go on to give more than $100,000 to the university, and the doctor would serve on the board, all while running a medical practice, a hotel, a small cattle ranch, and a pharmacy and raising nine children and a granddaughter, three of whom preceded him in death. He died in 1948 at age 84, and Mrs. Wayland lived in Plainview until her death in 1955.
Plainview Homecoming wrap
Alumni from throughout Wayland’s history ascended on the Plainview campus for homecoming Sept. 22-23. Events kicked off with the traditional Friday chapel that featured a panel discussion with three alums, a performance by the International Choir and recognition of the 1967 honor class. Tours and a lecture by 2007 alum Dr. Martin Ortega graced the afternoon, with the evening featuring an awards banquet honoring three Distinguished Alumni Award winners: Dr. Glenda Payas, ’69, Benefactor; Dr. Rosemary Pelphrey, ’11, Young Alumnus; and Major Gen. Michael Fortney, ’86 from Hawaii, Distinguished Alum. A popcorn reception at the home of president Dr. and Mrs. Bobby Hall, and the pep rally and torch parade outside Gates Hall capped off the night.
Saturday featured a breakfast for honor class alums, the Athletics Hall of Honor induction featuring a class of 11 for its 25th Anniversary, and the International Choir reunion and mini-concert. The afternoon included a pregame party before the Pioneer Football matchup with Texas College. Wayland cheerleader alumni gathered to cheer at the game, then enjoyed a dinner reunion together. Hall of Honor inductees included runner Kirby Dunn ’10, baseball pitcher Daniel Franklin ‘03, administrator Dr. Claude Lusk ‘84, basketballer Joe Lombard ‘75, basketball coach Mark Adams (1983-87), runner Jodie Young ‘96, basketballer Kristina Edwards Lee ‘95, volleyballer Serenity King ’00, and boosters Christa ‘63, Don ’65, and Caren Smith ‘92. Ray Murphree ‘71 received the Harley Redin Coaches Award.
The Class of 1977 had a great showing for their 40th reunion, thanks in great part to the outreach of Leon and Beverly Beard, Dr. Tim Wilson and Dr. Tim Powers. They gathered on Friday night to reminisce over snacks and yearbooks.
Homecoming 2018 will be in the fall once more, with classes ending in 8 being honored. We are seeking class agents from 1968, 1978. 1988, 1998 and 2008 to help connect with classmates and encourage their attendance. If you would be willing to help in this effort, please contact Teresa Young.
Meet Your Alumni Board
Currently serving as board president, Tyke Dipprey is a familiar face on two Wayland campuses.
Tyke is a 1997 graduate of the Lubbock campus, returning to college as a working adult to study business. But the last several years he has been more at home on the Plainview campus as he lives in the city and works as an insurance agent. Since coming on the board more than a decade ago, Tyke has enjoyed staying connected to the larger WBU community.
“Through the board, you get to meet 50-year graduates and 60-year graduates and see that tradition go on,” he says. “There’s a pride and excitement in being part of the alumni association.”
The most meaningful tradition for Tyke has been the family atmosphere of Wayland. He loved the small class size and the fact that professors and administrators alike knew his name and treated him like a person, not a number.
“They helped you to succeed rather than trying to weed you out,” he adds. “Wayland did a great job of encouraging me and helping me to get my degree.”
Dipprey encourages alums to keep their information updated with the alumni office so they can stay informed about the opportunities to be as involved as they wish. He pointed to the alumni website as a great resource for events and activities to connect alums.
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