Alumni Awards Dinner Full of Surprises

September 27, 2017


Dr. Glenda Payas Commits to Fund Two New Scholarships

Dr. Glenda Payas receives her award from Teresa Young.
Dr. Glenda Payas is presented the Distinguished Benefactor Award by Wayland Alumni Director Teresa Young.

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Glenda Payas, Major General Michael Fortney and Dr. Rosemary Pelphrey were recognized at an alumni awards dinner Friday night as part of Homecoming 2017 activities at Wayland Baptist University.

The evening took a surprising turn when Dr. Payas, the Distinguished Benefactor Award honoree, announced her commitment to endow two new scholarships. One scholarship will honor former Wayland science professors Dr. J. Hoyt Bowers, Dr. Harold Reese and Dr. Gerald Thompson, who were instrumental in her success at Wayland, and fueled her desire to make a career in dentistry. The second scholarship is in honor of Mike Melcher, Senior Major Gifts Officer, for his commitment to the university.

“There is no one more committed to advancing Wayland than Mike Melcher,” Payas said.

Melcher, who was in attendance, was surprised by the announcement.

“I had no idea that was coming,” he said.

Payas, who graduated from Wayland in 1969 and earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, recently retired after 28 years of private practice in Tulsa where she and her husband, Brad, also manage rental property.

Major General Fortney, a 1986 graduate of Wayland’s Hawaii campus, was honored as the Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Fortney will officially retire in October as vice commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, after more than 39 years in military service. Fortney was making his first visit to Wayland’s home campus in Plainview.

Having no prior association with the Plainview campus, Fortney said it’s tough to answer his peers when asked if he attended after describing where Wayland is located.

“Well, kind of …” he said, grinning. “I’m a Wayland grad and I am proud of it.”

Fortney said the main reason he came to Homecoming was to say “Thank you” to the university.

“The commitment to the military student is unequaled in any university I have been associated with,” Fortney said. “I’ve known a lot of different schools that are affiliated with the military, but I had never seen one bend over backward to accommodate their military … the young soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines like Wayland Baptist does.”

Pelphrey echoed Payas and Fortney, thanking Wayland for guiding her along her journey.

“Wayland was a big part of creating and making me who I am today, getting to this point of doing what I do every day -- being a dentist. And I absolutely love it,” she said.

Pelphrey graduated in 2011 and earned her Doctor of Dental Science degree in 2015. She works part-time for Ideal Smiles of McKinney and part-time for a mobile dentistry company that caters to an elderly clientele. She plans to open her own practice in the near future. Pelphrey and her husband, Micah, live in Richardson.

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