Alumnus of the Year Announced at Homecoming

March 1, 2021


Students Recognized for Academics

Two men holding a blue vase with a W logo, looking at the camera
Dr. Mike Davis, right, is presented his cobalt vase award as 2020 Alumnus of the Year by Dr. Bobby Hall, president of Wayland Baptist University. Since the annual homecoming awards presentation had to go virtual, the two met to announce Davis’ selection and present his awards.

Wayland Baptist University’s annual Blue and Gold Awards Presentation held during homecoming weekend may have had to go virtual thanks to the ongoing pandemic concerns, but it was still a special time to recognize alumni and students.

“Our annual Alumni Awards dinner has become one of the highlights of our homecoming weekend, and we are incredibly sad that we are unable to do that in person this year,” said Teresa Young, director of alumni relations, in the prerecorded presentation that premiered Friday evening on the alumni YouTube channel. “However, this virtual format does not diminish either the importance of these awards nor the deserving nature of those receiving them. Our honorees represent various career arenas, generosity to their university and impact on the communities where they live. We hope learning their stories will make you even more proud of your Pioneer heritage.”

The program featured the Distinguished Alumni Awards presented to former nuclear training expert Dr. Mike Davis of Pampa; gospel singer Paul Harkey of Tennessee; longtime Coach Joe Lombard of Canyon; and data analyst Dr. Joel O’Hair of Colorado. In addition, Dananai Gardner was named Distinguished Young Alumnus for her work as assistant district attorney in North Carolina, and Dr. Estelle Owens, emeritus professor of history and university historian, was named Distinguished Benefactor for the year.

Dr. Bobby Hall introduced each honoree, then a response was given by the award winner. Hall then announced that Dr. Mike Davis was named Alumnus of the Year, chosen from the pool of Distinguished Alumni throughout the Wayland system for 2020.

Several students were also honored during the presentation, nominated by each of the eight academic schools on the Plainview campus as Pioneers of Promise.

“These are students who are active on campus, exhibit good academic progress and are ones to watch in the future,” Young explained. “We look forward to welcoming these excellent Pioneers to the Wayland Alumni Association in the future.”

Students honored were as follows:

  • Gabriel Moblicci of Miami, Fla. A freshman criminal justice major in the Honors Program and member of the Pioneer Men’s Wrestling Team, Gabriel represents the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
  • Jackson Kent of Houston. A sophomore general business major and member of the Pioneer Men’s Soccer Team, Jackson represents the School of Business.
  • Christian Vaughn of Houston. A senior Christian ministry major also pursuing the MDiv and member of the Pioneer Football Team, Christian represents the School of Christian Studies.
  • Christina Safford of Langdon, N.D. A junior secondary education major and president of Kappa Delta Pi honor society, Christina represents the School of Education.
  • Chester McVade of Lubbock. A junior communication studies major and member of the Pioneer Football eam, Chester represents the School of Fine Arts.
  • Michaela Chamberlain of Tucson, Ariz. A senior English major and creative writer, Michaela represents the School of Languages and Literature.
  • Cheyenne Hill-Johnson of Stafford. A senior biology major and member of the Pioneer Track and Field team, Cheyenne represents the School of Mathematics and Sciences.
  • Taylor Lindley of Pampa. A junior music performance major and president of the International Choir, Taylor represents the School of Music.

Young also recognized alumnus Mike Manchee, principal of De Zavala Middle School in Amarillo, as the 2020 winner of Texas Baptists’ BEST Awards – Baptist Educators Serving Texans. The award recognizes teachers and administrators in Texas public schools who live out their faith in ministry to students they serve. Manchee, a 1994 and 1997 graduate, was selected among nominations from Wayland and area churches.

The video presentation is available on-demand at the WBU Alumni YouTube channel located here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f37fep_Rqls .

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