Alumni, Supporters, Honored for Distinction during Homecoming Chapel

PLAINVIEW – Alumni and friends of Wayland Baptist University were honored Friday during the annual Homecoming Chapel as the Association of Former Students presented its Distinguished Alumni awards. Among honorees were several alumni who have earned distinction in their work or service, two generous financial supporters and two longtime employees of the university.

Bill Whitfield, mayor of McKinney, Texas, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the association. Whitfield earned his Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education degree from the Lubbock campus in 1984 as an adult student. He worked for Kraft Foods for 35 years, receiving Kraft’s most prestigious honor, the J.L. Kraft Jade Ring Award, before retiring in 1990as West Texas District Retail Sales Manager.

After moving to McKinney, Whitfield became involved in city politics there, serving two terms on the city council before winning election as mayor in 2003 and again in 2006. He is a member of several committees on the U.S. Conference of Mayors and many regional boards and committees dealing with many civic issues. He also is involved with Habitat for Humanity, fine arts endeavors in McKinney and other activities. He and wife Jo Ann have two married daughters and two grandchildren.

A former member of the Pioneer basketball team, Wayne Evans of Jupiter, Fla. received the Distinguished Service Alumni Award. After playing two years of junior college ball, Evans returned to his New York hometown to take over the family farm and raise his own family. He came to Wayland in 1960 to resume his basketball playing and graduated in 1962, earning All-American status and setting school records for scoring.

He worked in insurance and financial services for many years and now runs a real estate and mortgage broker business with wife Lynda, Kids Depot Realty, listing and selling privately-owned preschools and childcare centers. They also own and operate several centers and consider that part of their ministry.

Longtime Amarillo band director Roger Edwards received the Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award. A 1973 graduate of WBU, Edwards was the first student to be certified to teach all-level instrumental music. He began working in school band programs while a student, starting the band program at Hart and working at Plainview High as well, all while also serving area churches as youth and music director.

Edwards is in his 37th year of teaching, the last 13 at Amarillo High School. His bands have earned high UIL honors and performed for many clinics and festivals. He is an active clinician and adjudicator and serves as the director of the orchestra at First Baptist Church. He is active with Texas Bandmasters Association and the Amarillo Symphony Youth Orchestra Board. He and wife Bennie, a 1971 WBU graduate, have four grown children (two of which attended Wayland) and three granddaughters.

Douglas Harmer, a 1996 graduate of the Wichita Falls campus, received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. A native of New York, Harmer joined the Air Force in 1980 and was transferred to Wichita Falls’ Sheppard Air Force Base in 1994. There, he completed his degree and in 2004 became the first Wichita Falls student to graduate with a Master of Education degree.

Harmer retired from the Air Force in 2002 and took a position as civilian munitions instructor at Sheppard. He has served as associate pastor and minister of education at Allendale Baptist Church since 2005 and is currently the 381st Training Squadron’s Resource Advisor at Sheppard. He and wife Chong SonA have two daughters.

Longtime supporters Wilda and Harley Redin were presented the Distinguished Benefactor Alumni Award. With her late husband Claude Hutcherson, Wilda Hutcherson Redin was a supporter of Wayland athletics for many years, making airplane trips to games and hosting the Flying Queens in their home regularly. They contributed the funds for the current athletic arena, Hutcherson Center.

Harley Redin served as coach for the Pioneers from 1948-57 and the Queens from 1955-73, compiling a 431-66 record and several national championships. He was active in rules committees and helped institute many changes in the women’s game. He has been named to several Halls of Fame. The couple has been financially supportive of the university for many years, and they are active in community service and the First Baptist Church. The couple has four grown children, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

The association also presented Distinguished Lifetime Service Awards to two 40-plus-year employees of the university, one presented posthumously. Dr. Bill Hardage, longtime executive vice president who died March 2006, was honored for his long career at Wayland, beginning with a position as track coach after graduating from WBU in 1965 and ending with several years in administration. As Director of Special Services, Hardage helped guide the four existing external campuses and helped expand Wayland’s reach by leading in the development of several more over the decades. He served as academic vice president, advancement vice president and provost before taking the role he held at his untimely death. His children, Tim Hardage and Cindy Bessire, and wife Nell accepted the award on his behalf.

Joe Provence, Emeritus Director of Alumni Services, was also presented a lifetime service award. Provence came to WBU as a student in 1957 and after a time away returned to serve on the Public Relations staff and complete his degree, graduating in 1966. He returned to the staff in 1967 as director of recruitment and promotion, then served as director of public relations, student activities director and cheerleader sponsor before taking the alumni position in 1985. He retired from full-time service in 2006 and remains in part-time employment. He and wife Freda have supported university programs and students, both financially and with their presence, for many years.