2023 Willson Lectures speaker

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Todd von Helms, author of the best-selling book Before You Leave: For College, Career and Eternity, will be featured at the 2023 Willson Lectures at Wayland Baptist University.

The annual lecture series begins at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21, with an invitation-only dinner at the university’s Plainview campus and concludes with a chapel lecture at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Harral Memorial Auditorium. Dr. Von Helms said his topic for the Tuesday dinner will be “Embracing the Gift of Prayer,” while his topic for the chapel lecture on Wednesday will be “Made for Eternity.” The chapel lecture is open to the public. In addition to the featured addresses, Dr. Von Helms is scheduled present lectures to classes in the School of Languages and Literature and School of Christian Studies.

Established in 1950 by gifts from Floydada residents James M. and Mavis Willson, the couple intended for the annual lectureship to feature topics related to “Applied Christianity” and “Christian Home and Family Life.” Like the outstanding speakers brought to the campus through the years, the presentations by Dr. Von Helms focus on applying Christianity with emphasis on home and family life.

The Willsons were successful businesspersons and active community residents. Dedicated Methodist laypersons, they were active in their local church. Dr. Willson served as a trustee at McMurry University, Southern Methodist University, and the former Methodist Hospital in Lubbock. He received a merit award from Wayland and was the recipient of several awards and honors, including honorary doctorates from Texas Wesleyan University and McMurry University. He was given a humanities award from Southwestern College.

Wayland also nominated Dr. Willson for the Freedom Foundation Award in 1960, which he received in Valley Forge, Pa. He participated in numerous civic organizations, including the West Texas Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, the Masons, and the Shriners.

Dr. Von Helms has more than two decades of experience gained through working with teenagers, college students, and clergy as an ordained minister, college professor, church consultant, research assistant, interviewer, chaplain, and headmaster. He has degrees from the University of Texas, Dallas Baptist University, Southwestern Seminary, Southern Seminary, Duke University and Southern Methodist University.

Dr. Von Helms is a Senior Fellow at The King’s College in New York City, an adjunct professor and the Presidential Scholar of Christianity and Culture at Dallas Baptist University, and a Senior Fellow for the Center for Faith and Culture at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.

In addition to traveling the nation speaking to youth and college students, Dr. Von Helms organizes speaker series events that encourage communities, churches, and academia to think more deeply about matters of faith.