Retired Wayland chancellor pens collection of stories

Folks who hear Dr. Wallace Davis speak have pretty much the same feeling: They all think he's a talented storyteller. Davis just thinks it's part of the gig.

As the recently retired chancellor of the Wayland Baptist University system, Davis is now enjoying a bit of quiet. But one of his last projects before riding off into the sunset was completing his newest book, Climbing Sunshine Mountain.

His second book, Climbing Sunshine Mountain is a collection of Davis' favorite stories, ranging from childhood escapades to lessons learned as a university administrator. Though he believes that stories lose a bit of their flavor when transformed from spoken to written form, Davis said he gave in to repeated requests to publish the tales.

"These stories have allowed me to introduce humor into my talks or to make certain points I considered important. I am sorry to say that while the speeches were soon forgotten, the stories live on. It seems every audience has its favorite and never seems to tire of hearing it retold," Davis said.

His storytelling art, which he said he learned from his grandmother, really started being honed while Davis was a teacher many years ago.

"I started telling stories when I was a sixth-grade teacher. I used them to illustrate a point and the kids seemed to like them," he said. "When their minds would wander, I'd slip a little story in there."

During his tenure as president and then as chancellor at Wayland, Davis got plenty of chances to charm audiences with his tales. From speeches at graduation ceremonies to chapel services and other occasions, students and others have delighted in stories about the 78-pound member of the Olney High School football team and the seven-year-old fourth grader, double promoted.

A native of Olney, Texas, many of Davis' stories revolve around his childhood there. He retired in May 2002 after 11 years of leadership at Wayland and now lives in Salado with his wife, Patsy, a retired educator.

Proceeds from the sale of Climbing Sunshine Mountain will go toward the construction of a Student Activities Center for Wayland's Plainview campus. The books are available for $12.95 (plus $2 for shipping and handling if mailed) through the Office of Development. They are also available for purchase at the Wayland University Store, located in the McClung University Center on the Plainview campus.

To order a book, contact the Office of Development at (806) 291-3425.