Reed honored as Distinguished Alumnus at Wayland Baptist University

Release Date: February 24, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – Jacob Reed, a 1998 graduate of Wayland Baptist University, was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award on Friday as part of the university’s homecoming festivities. The award was presented at the annual chapel service held to honor other distinguished alums and returning alumni.

Reed earned a Bachelor of Science degree in composite science and religion and went on to complete a master’s degree at Kansas State University, serving as grad assistant in the department of agronomy. While at KSU, he was president of the Agronomy Graduate Student Association, and his research focused on ergot in sorghum — a fungal disease that devastates many sorghum crops in the developing world.

Following graduation, he moved to Lubbock to work for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, and his research focused on peanut physiology and managing irrigation for South Plains peanut fields. With a longtime desire to do mission work, Reed eventually got the chance, traveling to Uganda with help from Dr. Vaughn Ross, now dean of the School of Mathematics and Sciences at WBU.

“The experience confirmed my desires to work overseas, and I began the application process for the International Mission Board. In 2004, I led another team to Rwanda and, later that year, I was accepted to work with the IMB. In 2005, I moved to Uganda to work again with the Karamojong,” he said.

Over the next three years, his work involved church planting and agriculture research. He learned the local language and walked on average 50 miles per week to villages to lead Bible story groups to the Karamojong, many of whom had never before heard Biblical narratives. In addition, 95 percent of them could not read, making church planting a significant challenge.

In 2006, he married the former Georgia Williams, a 2000 WBU graduate, and they fulfilled a common dream of serving in Africa by moving back to Uganda to work with the Karamojong. Georgia taught English and Bible in local schools, while Jacob continued with church planting, and together they developed a 53-story discipleship set to place on solar-powered digital players for use in story groups.

Reed credits his many religion professors for preparing him well in the field.

“The educational foundation they helped provide allowed us to discern how best to teach a people who had never been exposed to the Bible,” he said.

In May 2008, the Reeds returned to Lubbock, where he works for Texas AgriLife Research (formerly the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station) conducting research in pre- and early post-market testing for herbicides as well as systems agronomy. He soon plans to begin the doctorate in plant and soil science.