Stokes to be honored as Distinguished Alumnus

PLAINVIEW — A longtime love for education led Dr. Vernon Stokes to a series of degrees, as well as a longtime career in the public education field. But it all started at Wayland Baptist University, where the Sundown native followed his youth minister to study for his future career.

Wayland Alumni Association plans to honor Stokes with the Distinguished Alumni Award at 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9. The award will be presented during the Blue and Gold Awards Banquet, a Homecoming 2024 event that takes place in Trinity Building Auditorium.

During his time as a student, Stokes’ love for music led to side jobs directing music at area churches, serving in Plainview and Slaton during the school years and helping lead revivals in Texas and New Mexico. His typing skills allowed him to work as secretary to athletic director Harley Redin, a role which evolved into serving as student manager for the Pioneers basketball squad. He also officiated scrimmages for the Pioneers and Flying Queens during their workouts.

In his role in the Athletic Department, Stokes became good friends with one Flying Queen basketball player in particular, Belva Ramsey. They began dating and married in 1958 while still in school.

After graduation, Stokes began teaching in Plainview and directed music at Seth Ward Baptist Church for four years. His career in education spans all levels, from elementary, junior high and high school, as well as college. He continued his own education with a master’s degree and doctorate at Texas Tech. He served as a campus administrator in several districts, then as assistant superintendent and finally as superintendent.

Dr. Stokes then went on to serve as a consultant with the Region 18 Education Service Center in Midland and then as its executive director. After retiring, he was called to be interim superintendent for Ector County ISD in nearby Odessa, a stint which led to four years in the superintendent’s seat. He retired again in 2000.

The Stokes family include four children, 14 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. They honored their two late daughters with an endowed scholarship at Wayland several years ago. Dr. Stokes also served 19 years on Wayland’s Board of Trustees, serving as chairman for three of those years.

The Blue and Gold Banquet includes recognition of Distinguished Alumni Award winners, a Distinguished Young Alumni Award winner, Distinguished Benefactor Award winners, and Distinguished Lifetime Service Award winners. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased for $15 before Feb. 1 by calling the Office of Alumni Relations at 806-291-3600.