Alumnus of the Year Announced at Homecoming

Wayland Baptist University's annual Blue and Gold Awards Presentation held during homecoming weekend may have had to go virtual thanks to the ongoing pandemic concerns, but it was still a special time to recognize alumni and students.

"Our annual Alumni Awards dinner has become one of the highlights of our homecoming weekend, and we are incredibly sad that we are unable to do that in person this year," said Teresa Young, director of alumni relations, in the prerecorded presentation that premiered Friday evening on the alumni YouTube channel. "However, this virtual format does not diminish either the importance of these awards nor the deserving nature of those receiving them. Our honorees represent various career arenas, generosity to their university and impact on the communities where they live. We hope learning their stories will make you even more proud of your Pioneer heritage."

The program featured the Distinguished Alumni Awards presented to former nuclear training expert Dr. Mike Davis of Pampa; gospel singer Paul Harkey of Tennessee; longtime Coach Joe Lombard of Canyon; and data analyst Dr. Joel O'Hair of Colorado. In addition, Dananai Gardner was named Distinguished Young Alumnus for her work as assistant district attorney in North Carolina, and Dr. Estelle Owens, emeritus professor of history and university historian, was named Distinguished Benefactor for the year.

Dr. Bobby Hall introduced each honoree, then a response was given by the award winner. Hall then announced that Dr. Mike Davis was named Alumnus of the Year, chosen from the pool of Distinguished Alumni throughout the Wayland system for 2020.

Several students were also honored during the presentation, nominated by each of the eight academic schools on the Plainview campus as Pioneers of Promise.

"These are students who are active on campus, exhibit good academic progress and are ones to watch in the future," Young explained. "We look forward to welcoming these excellent Pioneers to the Wayland Alumni Association in the future."

Students honored were as follows:

Young also recognized alumnus Mike Manchee, principal of De Zavala Middle School in Amarillo, as the 2020 winner of Texas Baptists' BEST Awards - Baptist Educators Serving Texans. The award recognizes teachers and administrators in Texas public schools who live out their faith in ministry to students they serve. Manchee, a 1994 and 1997 graduate, was selected among nominations from Wayland and area churches.

The video presentation is available on-demand at the WBU Alumni YouTube channel located here: .