Dr. Wayland’s granddaughter to share memories during 115th anniversary celebration

PLAINVIEW – Linda Adkins, granddaughter of Dr. James Henry Wayland, will be one of two featured speakers Thursday, Aug. 31, when Wayland Baptist University celebrates its 115th anniversary.

Adkins is scheduled to share memories of her grandfather, who founded the university as Wayland Literary and Technical Institute. Adkins will be joined by Dr. Estelle Owens, Emeritus Professor of History and University Historian, in an encore presentation about the founding of the institution in 1908.

The Founders Day celebration kicks off at 5 p.m. on the front steps of historic Gates Hall, which stands as the main entrance at Seventh and Quincy streets in Plainview. Dr. Lusk, Senior Vice President of Operations and Student Life, is scheduled to welcome guests, and International Choir is slated to perform Wayland’s alma mater.

The first 200 people to arrive at Wayland’s Founders Day celebration receive a free T-shirt featuring Wayland’s recently updated Pioneer Pete mascot. After the formal ceremony, cake will be served, special photo-ops are planned and there will be lawn games such as cornhole, can jam and volleyball. This community celebration, which continues until 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

“We’re going to celebrate Wayland’s anniversary with a party,” said Christina Longoria, Digital Media Manager and primary organizer of the Founders Day celebration. “We invite the Plainview community and everyone throughout the South Plains to come join the celebration. Linda Adkins and Dr. Estelle Owens have great stories to tell, and everyone is going to have a lot of fun.”

Wayland, a pioneer physician, understood the importance of education, and he was driven to offer faith-based education to the people of West Texas. His vision at the turn of the century for the literary and technical institute he founded remains the vision of Wayland Baptist University’s Plainview campus, nine external campuses, and Wayland’s online campus.

In an agreement with Staked Plains Baptist Association and the people of Plainview, Wayland and his wife, Sarah, donated $10,000 and 25 acres to establish the institute, which was officially chartered in 1908. With 241 students enrolled, the first classes were held in Matador Hall in September 1910. A year later, Elmer Childress would become the first graduate of what was then known as Wayland Baptist College. By 1914, Wayland had become one of the correlated schools affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Today, Dr. Wayland’s vision continues as Wayland Baptist University continues to be a pioneer in so many educational endeavors. With campuses in six states, plus online offerings, Wayland is on the cutting edge of faith-based Christian higher education.