Wayland says ‘Welcome home’ this week with Homecoming 2023 celebration

PLAINVIEW – Alumni from across the Wayland Baptist University system are welcomed home this week as the University’s Plainview campus hosts Homecoming 2023, a four-day celebration designed to integrate alumni with current students at all campuses.

“The excitement is becoming contagious, and the environment is at its highest on campus as we approach Homecoming 2023,” said Jeffrey Vera, Director of Alumni Relations. “We’re excited to offer an in-person format for Homecoming on the Plainview campus, as well as some virtual offerings for those who cannot make the trip to reminisce in person. This includes livestream opportunities and on-demand events.”

Vera said the goal of Homecoming 2023 is to welcome home alumni while integrating current students and alumni in a variety of activities on and off campus.

“We all have stories to tell about WBU of the past and present, which can then trigger opportunities for the future,” the alumni director said. “Throughout the week, there will be opportunities for classmates to have mini-reunions, become a spectator for our basketball games, and even take in a showcase of talent presented by our School of Creative Arts.”

Activities begin online with the Military Alumni Reunion via Zoom at 5 p.m., Wednesday. Military alumni from around the world will gather for the virtual reunion.

For alumni arriving on Thursday, the Abraham Art Gallery, Jimmy Dean Museum and Museum of the Llano Estacado have exhibits available for viewing. An exhibit of book illustrations by R. Gregory Christie is on display through May at the Abraham Art Gallery. The gallery will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At Mabee Regional Heritage Center, visitors can view a lobby exhibit featuring 25 elaborately designed quilts from Panhandle artisans or stroll through the Jimmy Dean Museum and Museum of the Llano Estacado. Mabee Regional Heritage Center will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A double-header basketball game closes out Thursday’s activities as the Flying Queens take on the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma women at 6 p.m. and the Pioneers challenge the USAO men at 8 p.m. Both games take place in Hutcherson Center.

Homecoming 2023 activities begin Friday with registration and coffee taking place from 9 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. in the north foyer of Harral Memorial Auditorium. For those who didn’t get to go Thursday, the museums open again at 10 a.m.

An alumni panel takes the stage at Harral Auditorium at 11 a.m. as Homecoming Chapel 2023 takes place. Honor class alumni will be recognized, and homecoming king and queen candidates will be introduced. Current students and alumni will join with Wayland Singers to sing the Alma Mater. The celebration goes beyond the walls of Harral Memorial Auditorium with a livestream broadcast that can be seen at https://www.wbu.edu/about/spiritual-life/chapel/index.htm .

Wayland’s Legacy League Luncheon takes place at noon Friday in UC-211. The luncheon recognizes the 50-year honor class, as well as everyone graduating prior to 1973. Distinguished Alumni will be recognized, and International Choir will perform. The luncheon is open to all Homecoming 2023 guests, but reservations are required.

Registration continues from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday at Homecoming Headquarters in Gates Hall. Campus tours depart from there at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Honor classes gather at the Presidents Home Bed and Breakfast from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Honor classes include 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003 and 2013. Refreshments will be served, and alumni will have opportunities to reminisce and catch up with each other.

Alumni to be honored during the annual Blue and Gold Awards Banquet include Donnie Brown, BA’93, Director of Spiritual Life at Wayland; Rick Cooper, BS ’81, Med ’85, Men's Basketball Operations, Texas Tech University, Lubbock; Kathie Jackson, BS x’74, retired longtime educator from Amarillo; Richard Miller, BS ’87, MDiv ’21, pastor of Happy Union Baptist Church in Plainview and a retired probation officer; Dr. Hailey Budnick, BS ’14, Neurosurgical Resident, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN; Distinguished Young Alumnus; and Sally Dillman Eaves, BS ’75, co-owner of Salt Shop Handmades in Plainview, Distinguished Benefactor. Current students to be honored are Pioneers of Promise. The banquet takes place at 6 p.m., Friday in Trinity Auditorium at Ninth and Utica streets. Advance tickets for this event are $15 each, and they are available until 3 p.m., Thursday. Go to https://bit.ly/3HOAsB1 to purchase tickets.

International Choir and Wayland Singers demonstrate their talents during the School of Creative Arts Showcase, a free event taking place at 8 p.m., Friday in Harral Memorial Auditorium.

Saturday activities begin at 9:30 a.m. with the WBU Choirs Mini-Concert and Reunion in Miller recital Hall. Dr. Ann Stutes, Dean of the School of Creative Arts, and Dr. Sarah Herrington, Director of Choral Studies, host this time for fellowship reminiscing and listening to performances by International Choir and Wayland singers.

One of the highlights of Homecoming 2023 is the grand opening of the Flying Queens Museum inside Mabee Regional Heritage Center. The grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at 10:30 a.m. with dozens of former Flying Queens planning to attend. While the ceremony is at 10:30 a.m., the museum will be open until 4 p.m. The Jimmy Dean Museum and Museum of the Llano Estacado, also located inside Mabee Regional Heritage Center, will be open.

Vera serves as host for the Young Alumni Coffee and Conversation at 11 a.m. Coffee and free pastries will be served at this off-campus event, which takes place at Broadway Brew in downtown Plainview.

An informal School of Christian Studies Alumni Mixer takes from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Flores Bible Building, and Abraham Art Gallery will be open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There’s another basketball doubleheader Saturday afternoon. The Flying Queens tip off at 2 p.m. and the Pioneers play at 4 p.m. Both will be playing Texas Wesleyan teams. The games are Homecoming 2023 virtual events with livestreaming provided by Plainview Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

Wayland Student Activity Center hosts the “Show Up & Glow Up” Kahoot at 8 p.m. at Pete’s Place. This will be a free event.

Be sure to pick up a Homecoming 2023 commemorative T-shirt. Quantity is limited for this shirt, which is part of the “Wayland Tradition Series” offer by the Wayland Alumni Association.