Wayland chancellor announces retirement at trustees meeting

Wayland Baptist University Chancellor Wallace E. Davis brought an emotional end to the meeting of the Board of Trustees by announcing his retirement from the university, effective May 31.

Davis has served as chancellor of the Wayland University System since July of 2000, when the board voted to move into a systems operation. He had previously served as president of the university, taking office initially in July 1991.

Quoting passages from the book of Ecclesiastes, Davis said he had decided to retire in order to pursue other passions, including painting, spending time with his grandchildren and teaching.

"In serving Wayland, I have saved the highest point in my educational career for the last," Davis told board members.

"Wayland has been the capstone of my career. The trustees have been supportive, trusting and uplifting. The faculty has been caring and concerned. And the students have made even the worst days worthwhile."

Davis expressed his willingness at helping the university during the coming transition period and thanked the board for allowing him to serve the school. Delbert McDougal, chairman of the board, echoed the thoughts of many trustees in regretfully accepting the resignation.

"Dr. Davis has brought this university to another level, one that many of us might never have thought possible," McDougal said.

"I don't know of anyone in the country who could've brought Wayland to this point. It was a giant step."

In his 11 years with Wayland, Davis has overseen a number of building projects, including the long-awaited completion of the Mabee Learning Resources Center in 1996 and several phases of the Spanning the Centuries campaign. The first phase dealt with maintenance issues across the campus, including climate control systems and renovation of some existing facilities, as well as the installation of three new computer laboratories on the campus. Other phases have seen renovation of the Van Howeling facility into the new education complex, construction of a new women's dormitory and campus aesthetic improvement outside Harral Auditorium and Hutcherson Center. Other projects remain under the campaign, which had a completion goal of 2008.

Before coming to Wayland, Davis served as vice president of academic affairs for Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi and held many positions in teaching and educational administration. A native of Olney, Davis holds degrees from Baylor and the University of Texas.

In other business, trustees approved a motion to rename the new boulevard entrance being constructed on Smyth Street between Fifth and Sixth Street Igo Boulevard in honor of Harry Igo and his late wife Annette, who contributed $200,000 toward the project. The proposal is still before the city council for approval.

Trustees also approved new tuition rates for the coming school year, with Plainview tuition rising $10 per hour to $270 for undergraduate courses and $275 for graduate courses. The summer term tuition will once again be reduced, with rates approved for $140 for undergraduate and $165 for graduate level. Rates at Wayland's external campuses will remain the same.

The budget for 2002-03 was also approved by the board, with the university proposing to operate within a $28,966,837 budget, representing only a 2.5 percent increase over the current fiscal year.

The board approved several faculty promotions as well, effective June 1. Plainview faculty members Donna Clark and Richard Dillingham will be promoted to the rank of assistant professor, while Dr. Kenneth Johnson is promoted to associate professor. Dr. Niler Pyeatt will be promoted to full professor. On external campuses, Dr. Michael Sewell of Wichita Falls and Dr. Anthony Strange of Fairbanks, Alaska will be promoted to associate professor, with Dr. Mary Maloney of Phoenix and Dr. Jeff Tillman of Wichita Falls promoted to full professor.

Bids were approved for three new tennis courts to be constructed adjacent to Hilliard Field at 8th and Vernon Streets and the construction and landscaping of the new entrance. The projects will cost approximately $154,440 and $152,500, respectively. Bids were also awarded to Sodexho Campus Services to take over the university's maintenance, landscaping and custodial services. The university's food services contract with Sodexho was renewed as well, with the company agreeing to take over operations of the Pete's Place student lounge and remodel that facility.

During the trustees' luncheon, two board members received the Keeper of the Flame Award, recognizing gifts in excess of $100,000. Yvonne Franklin of Amarillo and Joe and Terri Jesko of Arlington were presented with crystal pieces commemorating the honor.