Albuquerque dean chosen as honorary commander for Kirtland Air Force Base

ALBUQUERQUE – Dr. Ben Craver, dean of the Wayland Baptist University campus in Albuquerque, has been chosen as an honorary commander at Kirtland Air Force Base.

According to the invitation letter, the program is designed “to help promote good communication and an open exchange of ideas, both of which are vital in building a strong partnership.”

Wayland has enjoyed a longtime presence on Kirtland, with offices and classes on base as a satellite of its main office location on Wyoming Boulevard in the northeast portion of Albuquerque. For Craver, who has been dean just under a year at the campus, the selection is quite an honor.

“This is a really cool thing. I guess it’s not a real common thing, so to me it’s an honor, a distinctive group,” he said, adding he sees the benefit for both parties. “For me, it’s a great opportunity to keep Wayland before them as much as it is for them to keep Kirtland a partner in the community. I think it’ll be a blast, too.”

In the honorary role, Craver will be matched with Lt. Col. John D. Roach, director of Mission Support at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, and will be participating in various activities throughout the year. Though the specific plans are not known, Craver said he expects to be invited to activities that will give him a glimpse into the Air Force world. But he does have a wish list.

“They fly the Ospreys out here, which is a tilt engine machine, and I would love to go up in one of those,” he laughed. “But I’m really not sure what I’ll be doing.”

Reciprocally, the Air Force hopes that Wayland and Craver will involve Roach in their special events as well, giving him a chance to know the university better.

According to Dr. Elane Seebo, associate vice president for external campuses, the honor shows the great relationship between the two entities and she is proud that exists.

“Wayland has been very supportive of Kirtland and, conversely, they have been very supportive of Wayland,” Seebo said. “I’m glad to see any of our folks get that kind of recognition from a base, because it shows a great network and cooperative partnership.”

The Kirtland Honorary Commanders Program was started in 1995 as a way of building partnerships in the community, and has served to spread support and understanding of the base’s missions since its inception. Retired Col. Bobby Wright, who works as co-director at Wayland’s site on Kirtland, helped revitalize the program while serving as vice wing commander from 1999-2001, when he retired.

Incidentally, former WBU Albuquerque Dean Dr. J.B. Boren was also chosen for the honorary commander position but transferred to Wayland’s Amarillo campus before he could be installed.