Longtime Tulsa dentist to be honored with Distinguished Alumni Award

PayasPLAINVIEW – Dr. Glenda Payas, retired dentist from Tulsa, Okla., will be recognized as one of Wayland Baptist University’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award winners during a Feb. 18 banquet held as part of the WBU Homecoming celebration in Plainview.

A native of Albuquerque, Dr. Payas earned her undergraduate degree at Wayland in biology and education in 1969. She then continued her education at New Mexico Highlands University, earning master’s degrees in the natural sciences and in guidance and counseling.

Payas earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and then served with the U.S. Public Health Corps with the Indian Health Service at the Claremore Indian Hospital. She retired in 2017 after 28 years in private practice in Tulsa. She and husband Brad manage rental property in Tulsa and have enjoyed traveling during retirement.

She has served in leadership roles in the dental community on the state and national level and was voted one of the top women in dentistry in 2011 and one of the top dentists in Oklahoma in 2012 among many other career accolades. Dr. Payas has used her talents to give back, setting up a dental clinic in Benin City, Nigeria, and doing dental outreach in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Jamaica. She is active in her church and has been a regent for ORU.

Since graduation from WBU, Dr. Payas has contributed financially to various projects at the university, including completion of two scholarships honoring some of her faculty mentors in science. She then endowed a scholarship honoring her parents and one for her grandparents and has gone on to endow several more, blessing students in amazing ways. She received the Distinguished Alumni Benefactor Award in 2017.

“Dr. Glenda Payas has spent a lifetime making an impact on lives through her dental work and missions work, and she’s continuing that through her giving to Wayland and scholarship gifts that make this experience possible for our students. She is truly remarkable and we are beyond honored to present her with this award,” said Teresa Young, director of alumni services.

The Blue and Gold Banquet is set for 6 p.m. on Friday on the Plainview campus. It is open to alumni and friends for $15 per person, which includes a barbecue dinner. Besides Payas, other honorees include Dr. Nelson Hayashida, longtime professor and chaplain; Dr. Emily Smith, epidemiologist and researcher; Dr. Gabe Trujillo, superintendent; young alumni honoree Johnny Terra; and benefactor honoree Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Mattox.

The dinner is just one piece of the homecoming weekend lineup that can be found online at www.wbualumni.com/homecoming. Registration is available online at that site. For more information, contact Young at (806) 291-3600.