Provence retiring after 25 years with Wayland

PLAINVIEW -- After 25 years of service to Wayland Baptist University, Freda Provence will take a much-earned break. Provence, who began working at Wayland in 1982, will retire at the end of June.

A native of Paducah, Provence attended Texas Women’s University after graduating from high school in 1956. Two years later, on the advice of a friend, she enrolled in Wayland.

“I had not been on the Wayland campus,” Provence said. “I just transferred site unseen. When I came here, after spending time at TWU where they had a different building from every discipline, I was just stunned and thought, ‘Oh, Lord. What have I done?’”

Provence dropped out of school a year later to take care of her ailing father. She took a job in Lubbock as a Dictaphone typist for three orthopedists. While caring for her father, Freda maintained contact with Joe Provence whom she had met in school. Joe dropped out to tend to an ailing brother, but the pair continued to correspond. When Joe returned to school, they began dating and were married in August of 1961.

The couple spent three years as youth directors for a Baptist Church in Clovis, N.M., before Joe returned to take a job with Wayland. Freda began taking night classes and eventually graduated in 1974. She joined the staff at Wayland administrative assistant to the president in 1982. After 25 years, Provence is still at Wayland and says she will continue to serve the university after retirement.

“I’ve already promised to come back and go through some files in the basement,” she laughed.

Provence will also do volunteer work and continue her involvement with the university through the Community Classroom where she plans to help people acquire citizenship or get their GED. She will also be busy at home, taking care of Joe, who retired as Director of Alumni Services last summer. Joe has worked part time in the Alumni office throughout the last year.

In her tenure, Freda has worked with five administrations in the life of the school. She began work with Dr. David Jester, then served under interim president Glenn Barnett, Dr. Lanny Hall, Dr. Wallace Davis and Dr. Paul Armes.

With 25 years of memories, a few things stand out in her mind.

“I guess one of the most memorable occasions was when we finally completed the LRC in 1996,” Provence said.

Construction on the Learning Resources Center began in the mid 80s under Dr. Jester. The building sat as an empty shell for many years prior to its completion in 1996.

“Having an unfinished building on campus was an albatross around our neck,” Provence said. “When Dr. Davis came, he started working on ways to finish that building. When we finished it, we had a wonderful celebration.”

The university will celebrate Freda’s contributions to the school with a special reception at 2 p.m. on June 28 in the McClung University Center parlor.