WBU Centennial Gala a big success

Release Date: March 24, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – The critiques are in and according to those in attendance, Wayland Baptist University’s Centennial Gala was a resounding success. Wayland celebrated its centennial in style last Saturday night as supporters donned black ties and evening gowns for a $100-per-plate gala featuring the Glenn Miller Orchestra held at the Plainview Country Club and Civic Center.

“It was one of the most outstanding things I have ever been to,” said longtime Plainview High School band director O T Ryan. Chair of the Wayland Centennial Committee Hope English said the event was the culmination of months of planning and preparation.

“As far as we know, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves,” English said. “That was the most important thing. We wanted our guests to have a wonderful experience and celebrate with us in style.”

“I told Hope I second guessed everything she did for that, and I couldn’t come up with anything better,” Ryan said.

The event coupled a 100-year anniversary celebration with the chance to raise funds for student scholarships. Counting the live auction and ticket sales, English said the event raised approximately $40,000 for scholarships.

Saturday’s live auction included an original, commissioned painting by Kenneth Wyatt depicting Dr. James H. Wayland making a “House Call” on the West Texas plains around the turn of the 20th century. The painting, valued at $6,000, was auctioned off for $9,000 to Sally Shaw who then donated it to Wayland. While the original will be hung in a special place at the school, those interested can still purchase a copy of it by ordering a glicee which is a canvas print that closely resembles the original. The full size glicee, 30” x 40”, sells for $695 with a slightly smaller version priced at $595. Regular prints are also available for $150. For more information, or to purchase a print, contact Mike Melcher at 806-291-3431.

The highlight of the evening was the orchestra that entertained the crowd with many big band favorites.

“The band was absolutely incredible,” Ryan said. “I grew up with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Those younger people who made up this band were probably better than the original players.”

In his blog on myplainview.com, Paul Lyle heralded the gala, saying “Last Saturday night there was a break in this mirthless pall that's hovered over the Plainview spirit for the past few months as Wayland Baptist University parted the clouds, let the sunshine in and set toes to tapping again.” Lyle said he was ready for another one, maybe next month. English chuckled at the notion, assuring that it would be a while before Wayland tackles another undertaking of that magnitude, although it’s not out of the question somewhere down the line – a notion that please Ryan.

“I kind of feel like Paul, next month would be good,” he said. “This was an extraordinary experience.”