December 2023

Alum funds leadership program as tribute

When Dee Ann Curry was looking for just the right way to remember her husband Eddy at his alma mater, she knew there were some aspects that were sacred to include: leadership and mentorship.

“There are four parts that Eddy and I both liked in ministry: lead with head, heart, hands and habits,” says Dee Ann, a 1975 graduate of Wayland who now lives in Lubbock. “The heart is because

Dee Ann and Eddy Curry

the Lord wants you completely; it’s an all-in thing, the emotional desire the Holy Spirit puts there. You are called to lead, not driven.”

When she learned the university was seeking to develop a new leadership program for students, it seemed a perfect partnership of her heart and Wayland’s. With her donation, the Curry Pioneer Leaders program was born in summer 2023. Dean of Students Shawn Thomas, a 1995 graduate, formed a staff team including Donnie Brown, a 1992 grad and director of spiritual life, and Teresa Young, a 1994 grad and development officer to plan the program, keeping both Curry’s wishes and the university’s strategic plan in mind.

“We were fortunate in that those two things aligned perfectly. Dee Ann wanted to make sure students were mentored in the program and that they learned how to be good servant leaders, and those things were very important to us as well,” noted Teresa.

Setting the structure

The final outcome is a one-year program that begins with a fall retreat where students are introduced to many key leadership concepts through teaching and experiential learning. The group traveled to Bonita Park camp near Ruidoso, N.M., for a three-day retreat that included a challenge course, ropes course, camp fire and other time to reflect on learning.

A total of eight students are participating in the initial year of the program, a diverse group that includes students from all across the academic spectrum, some athletes and an international

Curry PIoneer Leaders 2023
Curry Pioneer Leaders group

student. Each will be paired with an alumni mentor from their field for some organic leadership mentoring. Then in the spring term, the team will organize and carry out the university’s community service day in Plainview.

“We have a great group of Pioneers in this first year, and we’re so excited to see how they will grow through this process. We already had a great time of learning during the retreat and we believe it will only continue and get bigger and better as time goes on,” said Teresa.

During the retreat, the students received goody bags with a t-shirt and journal to keep their program notes and set of the curriculum on which teaching was based, Habitudes by Dr. Tim Elmore. The books cover principles of leadership – from self-leadership to leading teams – each based on an image that makes it more memorable. The retreat time made an impact on students.

“Learning about leadership and how effective the different skills can be will have a huge impact on my life, as I began to feel like a new person within the first devotional we had. When getting different leadership positions, I feel as if we never stop to think about how to be a leader,” said JoNiesha Kennedy, a junior from Louisiana and part of Wayland’s wrestling team. “Having other

Curry 1
Challenge course wall climb

adults outside of your home taking their time out to discuss and teach about this thing called leadership is incredible. It warms my heart to know that there are more adults that care for us and genuinely want us to be great leaders within the world. The retreat meant a lot to me.”

Cooper Trolinger, who serves as president of the Student Government Association and is already an active leader on campus, also noted the training was important.

“I am so thankful for this program. I got to spend time with students that I normally wouldn’t come

into much contact with. During this weekend we had serious moments of learning, but also we had a ton of fun and laughed a lot. This program helped me grow my established leadership abilities, and in turn I can use them in my role as Student Government President to continue to help make this place better for all students,” said Cooper, a senior from Pampa. “I am so grateful to the Curry family for making this program available to us at Wayland, and I’m excited to see what this program grows into.”

Leaving a legacy

Dee Ann is most excited that the program includes so many things that were important to her husband, who died of a sudden heart attack in 2019. Also a 1975 Wayland graduate, Eddy served in church education ministry for his entire career, cherishing his role in helping others grow in their relationship with Christ.

“Eddy didn’t like to be in front of people but loved to

Curry learning session
Learning session on Habitudes

do one-on-one ministry and lead one-on-one. I can’t tell you how many daily texts he’d send out to people to encourage people. He built personal

connections and relationships. He stayed in contact with people we were doing life with,” said Dee Ann. “It’s caring about individuals, and you can’t do that with everybody but you can do it with your actions and example.”

Dee Ann said Eddy kept regular contact with about 20 men from Wayland that he poured into, and he loved mentoring other ministers and students. He was a great servant leader who sent others out to serve as well. She knows Eddy would be proud of the Curry Pioneer Leaders program.

“I just love the fact that they are learning with a balanced style of leadership. Servant is mentioned way more than leader in the Bible,” noted Dee Ann. “Being Christ-centered is so hard. But leading with integrity is a good way to honor God. Leadership is a process of influence, and your habits have to reflect that to be a good leader.”

Student participant Marchelle Bowden, a junior on the Wayland Flying Queens basketball team, said those were key takeaways for her from the retreat.

Campfire time
Smores around the campfire

“Leadership and Servant Leadership are different. You can be an outstanding leader but if God isn’t

glorified, the Kingdom will not grow,” said the junior from Michigan. “As we become empty of self and dependent on God, the Holy Spirit will use us. (Rom.8)”

Dee Ann and Eddy come from a long line of Wayland people. Both Eddy’s father and two other brothers attended the university and all three of their wives. Eddy and Dee Ann’s daughter Kamber is a graduate, and their granddaughter K’Dee Bailey is a junior there now, carrying out the legacy.

The Currys met at the freshman talent show and married while students. Dee Ann studied education and was a public school teacher for 30 years, then taught speech at various colleges, retiring from McMurry University after 12 years of teaching.


Music alumnus participates in Macy's parade

Hale Center band director David Rogers Jr., a 2014 graduate of Wayland, was one of 400 directors from around North America who traded places for one week to play in The Band Directors Marching Band in the nationally televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.

“It was so much fun getting to march two-and-a-half miles from Central Park down to Herald

Rogers sousaphone
Rogers in practice

Square. Seeing the faces of so many people from all over the world to watch the parade was amazing!” said Rogers. “Also getting to see and be by so many celebrities was a cherry on top! I noticed a couple such as Jimmy Fallon and Flava Flav.”

The directors spent the majority of the week in New York, rehearsing, sight-seeing and performing at various sites. But the highlight was being part of the 97th annual parade on Thanksgiving Day, the culmination of a day that started with a 1:30 a.m. call time for a 3 a.m. rehearsal at Herald Square, breakfast and line-up at 6:45 for the 8:30 a.m. parade. David was one of several sousaphones in the band, which was featured on Fox and Friends on Tuesday, Nov. 21 leading up to the parade.

“Being able to get back out and put myself back into the shoes of a student, I got to experience some amazing things,” Rogers said. “The first huge memory that I will forever cherish is the 9/11 memorial performance. It was so moving to be able to pay a tribute to those who lost their lives in that attack. When I was performing, I will never forget the goosebumps that I got from the collective performance.”

A native of Tulia, David has been the director at Hale Center since 2018 after serving at nearby Springlake-Earth for three years and assistant director at Brownfield for seven months as a permanent substitute. While at Hale Center, he has grown the program significantly and recently led the Mighty Owl Band to the UIL State Marching Contest in San Antonio for the second straight year.

Band Directors Band
Band Directors Band

He applied to be part of the parade band in September 2022 and learned the next month he was accepted. He had to raise money for the trip, his first to New York, and said the Hale Center community has been supportive of the adventure. David has spent a year practicing for the lengthy parade route, marching while carrying his heavy instrument.

While David has been a longtime fan of the parade – which includes several marching bands from both high schools and colleges around the country – this was his first time to be a participant and not a viewer.

“This experience was so awesome and I hope by being able to do this, that I can encourage someone to pick up and instrument, pursue music beyond high school, and maybe even be

Rogers with directors
Rogers and the Hale Center staff

encouraged to be the next generation of music educators,” Rogers added.

The Band Directors Marching Band is organized by Saluting America's Band Directors™, a project of

the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation. The band marched in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., in 2022 and was invited to march in the Macy’s Parade. According the website, the call for directors to participate was met with enthusiasm and the 400 maximum spots were filled quickly.

David’s wife Krystyna Mosqueda-Rogers, serves as a teacher in the ISD and an assistant to the band. She is a 2016 graduate of Wayland.


Smith releases book on being good neighbors

Dr. Emily Smith first learned about epidemiology as an undergraduate at Wayland, under professor Dr. Vaughn Ross. But the field was still somewhat of a mystery until she was pursuing a master’s degree and it all clicked.

“When I heard about epidemiology as quantifying the most at-risk and choosing not to walk by with policies, I thought, ‘that’s the science of the Good Samaritan,’” said Emily, referencing the biblical parable from Luke 10. “I deal with this every day. My job is to do a good job at quantifying who is in need, and that’s always in the margins – the margins of the margins – and doing what I can to inform policy and not walk by.”

After years in the field, Emily has finally collected her thoughts and research on the matter, along

Emily Smith book
Dr. Emily Smith and her new book

with experiences as the highly-viral Facebook sharer “Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist” during the COVID pandemic, and published her first book with the title reflecting that story: The Science of the Good Samaritan, released Oct. 26 by Zondervan Books and available at mostly online book retailers in print form, a Kindle e-book and in audiobook version which Emily narrates herself.

A 2003 graduate of Wayland, Emily is assistant professor of emergency medicine at Duke University, dually affiliated with the medical school and the School of Global Health. Currently, her job is mostly research-driven, studying children with cancer and other conditions without access to better medical care because they live in some of the most high-poverty areas of the world, primarily Somaliland, Burundi and Tanzania in Africa. The focus will be expanding into children in conflict zones or those with hyperinflation with high rates of poverty as well.

Expanding influence

She said as the worst of the pandemic was ending, she received a random email from an agent asking if she’d thought about writing a book. After confirming the woman was legitimate, the pair chatted about what a book from Emily might include.

“I wanted to write about what resonated with people during the pandemic, including some data with a little bit of personal stories scattered throughout,” she recalled. “It’s not a COVID book; it’s about what COVID exposed, where people were seeing things like poverty, systemic racism, violence and bigotry for the first time. It’s about understanding issues like equity and what that really means. It’s in large part in response to ‘what’s next.’ We’re past the worst of the pandemic, but how do I live like a good neighbor now?”

Emily said the book is written in three parts, with centering the first section. It deals with centering one’s heart correctly like a neighbor, “so the rest of our lives look like a life of neighboring.” She said the repeated concept of “and also” reflects the encouragement to not only do those traditional service efforts like giving money or food but also to live as a good neighbor across all areas. The second section on cost covers Emily’s personal experiences during COVID and what it cost her to live as a neighbor.

“A lot of people won’t have the same experience I did, but I want people to be more prepared for that cost than I was,” she said. “When my stuff started going more viral, when I was speaking out about equity and poverty and wearing a mask, we were hit with threats and harassment, and it was awful. Some was from people that we knew or people from the faith community that we just lost.”

The book’s final section is on courage, which Emily said is about helping people translate that biblical parable into living neighborly in the 21st century. It includes data that shows how her research has shaped those decisions.

Encouragement for living

Overall, Emily is hopeful that the book provides a new perspective on the hot-button topic and empowers readers with the courage to step out and be a good neighbor where they can. She hopes readers laugh and find the content accessible and encouraging.

“One of my favorite chapters was about Nehemiah and using his wisdom of what to do but, more importantly, what not to do. We can’t fix the whole world but I think we can do something,” she said. “I loved that chapter because he says, ‘I’m doing a good work and I’m not coming down for anything,’ so it’s about not getting distracted, especially by naysayers.”

She also loves the final section on what she calls trickle-up economics.

“It flips capitalism on its head through a biblical lens. That one has a lot of data, but I enjoyed writing that because I think when people understand that more, we’re all better neighbors.”


Devotional: The Gift of Giving

Research has found that it’s actually good for you to do an act of kindness or generosity for someone else. Scientists have discovered that our brains release neurotransmitters that make us feel good when we do good.

Kindness In Gift Giving

Psychologists refer to this as the “helper’s high.”

The Bible tells us there is actually a spiritual gift of giving: “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously”

(Romans 12:8 NLT).

You don’t have to be wealthy to have the gift of giving. There are wealthy people who are very generous and have this gift, but there are also people living on a more moderate income who also have the gift of giving. They’re just always doing things for other people. If you have that gift, then use it for God’s glory.

While it’s true that God has given certain people the gift of giving, it is also true that every Christian should give to the Lord on a regular basis. Have you discovered the joy of giving? Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NLT).

We should not do this for endorphins; rather, we should do this because the Lord has told us to do it.

God makes this amazing promise to the faithful giver: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test’” (Malachi 3:10 NLT).

If we would obey God in this area, it could revolutionize our finances. And it could revolutionize our lives.


In the Mix

Homecoming Festivities 

It’s time to put Homecoming 2024 on your calendar and plan to come back to the Plainview campus to reconnect with familiar faces and places! The weekend is officially set for Feb. 7-10, 2024, in Plainview, with some events happening online as well.

If you’re a member of a class year ending in 4, this is your year to celebrate milestone anniversaries! We’ll celebrate 50 years for the Golden Anniversary class of 1974, and recognize the classes of 1964, 1984, 1994, 2004, and 2014 both in chapel and in reunions. Graduates and former students are welcome to attend any year, especially if you know folks from these honor years!

Homecoming will feature many of the favorite traditional events such as chapel on Friday morning, Feb. 9. Class reunions and campus tours that afternoon and the Blue and Gold Awards Banquet on Friday night, where we’ll honor our Distinguished Alumni Award winners and Alumnus of the Year. There is still time to nominate someone for those honors via our alumni website if you have a deserving graduate in mind!

This year, we’ll also have a special time to dedicate the new Mabee Laboratory Sciences Wing at Moody Science Building on Friday afternoon. We broke ground at Homecoming 2023 and renamed the School of Mathematics and Sciences for Dr. Kenneth L. Mattox, a Wayland alumnus and renowned trauma surgeon who has served in Houston for decades. This year, we will have a ribbon cutting and tours of the new lab space for guests. It’ll definitely be something to see!

Saturday will include the Pioneers and Flying Queens in a basketball doubleheader at Hutcherson Center, where we’ll crown the homecoming king and queen at halftime of the men’s game. Saturday morning will also have the International Choir reunion and other opportunities to connect.

If you’re part of the honor classes and can help promote and reach out to your classmates to attend, we can use some Anniversary Ambassadors to assist the Alumni office! Please contact Jeffrey Vera at (806) 291-3600 to sign up. (Full Schedule of Events Coming Soon)