Graduates Encouraged to Set Aside Failure, Fear of Success

PLAINVIEW – Despite failures early in their careers, celebrities Lucille Ball, Michael Jordan, Henry Ford and Woody Allen are well-known names in society. Similarly, Wayland Baptist University graduate Katie Trimble encouraged her classmates to remember that early failures don’t have to mark the rest of their lives.

“It’s not how we started the race that matters but how we finish,” said Trimble in her student address at Saturday’s commencement ceremony. “We have all failed to be faithful to God in the past, but He never bails on us.”

Using a story from the college career of WBU President Dr. Paul Armes, Trimble drove home the point about how what could be a setback should be viewed as a chance to recover and finish strong.

“Have you failed at something during your four, five, six or seven years of college, or are you afraid of something in the future?” Trimble asked fellow graduates. “Don’t ever feel that your failure and fear catch God by surprise. And they are not bigger than God can handle or work through.”

Armes gave a brief charge to the graduates as well, encouraging them to thank those in their lives that made their own life and education possible, including God.

“You are now part of a very special family called Wayland,” he said. “May your life be filled with service and joy. And may your future live up to the dreams God has for you.”

Armes recognized a record six students as highest ranking graduates, each attaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average for their college career. Honorees included Alicia Alford of Forney, Rachel Merrill of Lubbock, Lori Pretzer of Glendale, Ariz., Amanda Russell of Borger, Tiffany Thompson of Saginaw, and Brandon Urlaub of Wickenburg, Ariz. He also spotlighted a rose on the stage in memory of Reid Rogers, a freshman who died in 2004 and would have graduated with Saturday’s class.

The ceremony also featured the conferring of an honorary Bachelor of Letters degree to Wayne Evans, who attended Wayland from 1960-62 as a transfer from Odessa College, excelling on the court as a member of the Pioneer Basketball squad. Evans, who lives in Florida and operates a real estate and mortgage broker business with wife Lynda, set several school records during his playing time at WBU, including total points, highest scoring average in a season and rebounds in a single game. He was honored with the Distinguished Service Alumni Award in 2007 and has been a generous benefactor to the university, most recently to the gymnasium in the student activities center, which now bears his name.

“I am greatly indebted to Wayland for what I have received, and it is my privilege to repay to God some of that debt,” said Evans in his response to the degree. “My advice to you is not to waste your life doing things your way instead of God’s way, and don’t lose touch with Wayland friends. Commit to the privilege of giving back to support others so they will be blessed. Don’t miss that blessing.”

Two retiring science professors were recognized formally for their new emeritus status. Dr. J. Hoyt Bowers, who taught from 1963-2008, will be emeritus professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Gerald Thompson, faculty member from 1967-2008, will be emeritus professor of biology. The Board of Trustees approved the promotions at its March meeting.

Graduates honored during the spring commencement include the following, listed by degree, along with hometown, major and Latin honors (if applicable):

Master of Arts in Counseling: April D. Anders-Fortner of Lubbock, Jesseca Rae Brockman of Dimmitt, Lauren J. Collier of Plainview, Traci Renee Cox of Lamesa, Deanna R. Dawson of Lubbock, Lexy Anne Glass of Gruver, Lady Jennifer Lofton of Arlington, Jaime R. Smith of Lubbock and Lori J. Wilkins of Plainview.

Master of Arts in Management: Joseph A. Williams of Amarillo, organization management, and Suzanne Wright of Vega, organization management.

Master of Arts in Religion: Christopher Daniel Riley of Borger and Sarah Leann Wigner of Jal, N.M.

Master of Business Administration: Michal Polanowski of Konin, Poland.

Master of Education: William Robert Fleming of Ozona, elementary education; Rubi Fierro
Perez of Plainview, secondary education; Alecha Sheppard of Plainview, elementary education; and Ryan Dale Webb of Lamesa, educational administration.

Master of Public Administration: Whitney Laurese Lafferty-Fleming of Cameron, justice administration.

Master of Science: Yolanda Kautz of Dickens, multidisciplinary science; and Cynthia Denise Walden of Cotton Center, multidisciplinary science.

Bachelor’s Degrees with Honors: Brandon Lee Urlaub of Wickenburg, Ariz., Bachelor of Arts in religion, summa cum laude; Tina Ruth Bettis of Plainview, Bachelor of Business Administration; Lucas Hans Loetscher of Cheyenne, Wyo., Bachelor of Science in biology and physical science, magna cum laude; Lori A. Pretzer of Glendale, Ariz., Bachelor of Science in molecular biology/chemistry, summa cum laude.

Bachelor of Arts: Elissa Velasquez Aldape of Hart, psychology; Alicia Lynn Alford of Forney, music, summa cum laude; Griselda Lucerito Amaya of Plainview, criminal justice; Colby MacIntosh Anderson of Tucson, Ariz., business administration; Emily Jean Anderson of Tucson, psychology, magna cum laude; Brandon Basham of Fort Worth, religion; Hayley Austin Cox of Plainview, mass communication; Rita Maree Cox of Plainview, English; Roxanne Nicole Davis of Window Rock, Ariz., psychology; Tyler Dipprey of Shallowater, religious education; Scott Cade Ferguson of Lamesa, religion; Mary Lola Feril of Grand Prairie, theatre; Daniel Mark Fitzgerald of Colorado Springs, history; Jacob Lee Flick of Kress, art, cum laude; Tara Renee Fox of Enid, Okla., psychology; Mackenzie Renee Garner of Palmdale, Calif., English/art, magna cum laude; Jeffrey Graves of Plainview, religious education; Caleb Cedric Hailey of Colleyville, music; Michael Dean Irby of Claude, criminal justice; Rebekah Kay Jackson of Olton, music; Grant Matthew Jasper of Argyle, theatre; Jonathan Jimmerson of Plainview, church music; Klay Keith of Plainview, mass communication; Amanda Kay King of Munday, English, with honors; Milagros Betzabe Longoria of San Augustine, Chi., Mexico; Joel Magallan, Sr. of Hale Center, Spanish; Sarah Elizabeth Medley of Spearman, religious education, cum laude; Rachel Kaunleann Merrill of Lubbock, music/English, summa cum laude; Stephanie Ann Nelson of Pampa, business administration, cum laude; April Ann Pierce of Bowie, psychology; Tosha Marie Powerll of Pampa, English; Joseph Ramirez of Plainview, psychology/criminal justice; Amy Padilla Rendon of Midland, Spanish; Elizabeth M. Schwabe of Plainview, psychology; Andy Jay Scott of Muleshoe, religion/English; Christopher A. Styne of Dumas, music; Joshua Lee Timmons of Idalou, criminal justice; Katie Lyn Trimble of Knox City, religious education, magna cum laude; Wendi Leigh Vanlandingham of Plainview, art, cum laude; Jonathan David Whedbee of Plainview, music; Stacie Lannette Winkler of Monahans, religion; Warren Leslie Yeatman of Chipinge, Zimbabwe.

Bachelor of Business Administration: Cody Brandon Adams of Plainview, management information systems; Tiffany Nicole Adams of Plainview, management information systems, magna cum laude; Matthew J. Benton of Amarillo, management/marketing; Jason L. Bohnstengel of Plainview, economics/finance; Kody Bueermann of Tahoka, business administration, magna cum laude; Jason Omar Carter of Christ Church, Barbados, economics/finance; Robert Todd Dawson of Pinedale, Wyo., management/marketing; Lorena Annette Garcia Flores of Plainview, accounting; Claudia Eva Gausin of Plainview, management/marketing; Kristopher Robin Hatley of Midland, management/marketing; Anthony Steven Herr of Lubbock, management/marketing; Austin James Kane of Albuquerque, N.M., management/marketing; Joel Magallan, Jr. of Hale Center, business administration; Teresa Soliz Martinez of Plainview, business administration; Mario Munoz of Crosbyton, management/marketing; Yuliana Murguia of Plainview, economics/finance; Nicholas Peterson of League City, business administration; Jonathan Vincent Reynoso of Chandler, Ariz., management/marketing; Johnny Lee Rodriguez of Plainview, health care administration; Daniel Muller Storey of Canyon, business administration and management/marketing; Cynthia Ann Urbina of Plainview, accounting; and Evan Reed Winegarner of Follett, management/marketing.

Bachelor of Music: Jody Lane Keesee of Lubbock, music education; Jared Alvin McCarthick of Lovington, N.M., music education; Jay Garrett Wooten of Amarillo, church music; Jessica Renee Yeatman of White Deer, music.

Bachelor of Science: Christopher M. Aleman of Floydada, physical education; Katie Lee Benton of Briscoe, middle school mathematics; Crysta Jo Connell of Abernathy, biology, summa cum laude; Cody Lynn Gardner of Lockney, biology; Armando Juarez Garza of Plainview, physical education; Stephanie Celeste Louder of Hereford, mathematics, magna cum laude; Robert Moreno, Jr. of Plainview, physical education; Michael Francis O’Connell of Lockney, biology; Anastasia Nkem Okolo of Houston, biology; Caroline Kehinde Oladipo of Mechanicsville, Va., psychology; Antonio Ruiz, Jr. of Hobbs, N.M., molecular biology, cum laude; Amanda Dyann Russell of Borger, psychology, summa cum laude; Tiffany Lynn Thompson of Saginaw, molecular biology, summa cum laude; Lydia Noemi Valdez of Plainview, biology, cum laude; Mayra Alejandra Vargas of Plainview, biology; Christie D’Ann Ward of Hale Center, business administration; Gary Alan Zacher of Corpus Christi, mathematics.

Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: Rebecca Ann Carlson of Sublette, Kan., elementary education, magna cum laude; Amanda Carrasco of Hart, elementary education; Amy Elizabeth Dillon of League City, magna cum laude; Alanna Lea Dixon of Plainview, elementary education, cum laude; Michelle Marie Johnston of Hobbs, N.M., elementary education; Andrea Morales of Plainview, middle school mathematics; and Jacquelyn Rose Yu of Irving, elementary education, summa cum laude.

Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education: Kathy Delrene Cockrum of Plainview, human services; Margarita Gonzalez Hernandez of Cotton Center, occupational education; Christopher Shane Lasiter of Amarillo, business administration; Tammy W. Myers of Austin, occupational education, cum laude; Ronald Lee Nelson, Jr. of Abilene, career and technology education; and Brent Lee Patton of Plainview, occupational education.