Wayland buries time capsule to be opened in 2058 

April 30, 2010

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Claude Lusk brought the centennial celebration at Wayland Baptist University full circle on Thursday as he offered a closing thought and dedicatory prayer for the time capsule buried outside Gates Hall.

Noting that he had stood at the burial ceremony in 1984 as a student at Wayland and now was participating as an administrator, Lusk encouraged students to hold on to their dreams.

“Who knows if in 25 years, one of you may be leading this university. I didn’t think it possible for myself, but here I am today,” said Lusk, who serves as Vice President of Enrollment Management.

Students, faculty and staff and their families gathered in the windless enclosure of the McClung Center dining hall on Thursday evening for a hamburger dinner and the burial program, which was moved indoors due to high winds. Following the packing ceremony and description of the items being included, a handful of students and employees followed the capsule outside to the Gates Hall porch to be dropped into the ground, set to remain there until the university’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2058.

But before that, the four-foot-tall capsule spray-painted with “WBU 2009” on it had to be loaded with items reflecting the current era. Centennial co-chairs Hope English and Teresa Young narrated the program as various individuals helped communications assistant Amber smith pack the capsule.

Dr. Estelle Owens, university historian and professor of history, was chosen to ceremonially place the first item: a copy of the coffee table book The Wayland Century, into which she poured hours of research with writing assistance by assistant director of communications Jonathan Petty. Afterwards, items from Wayland’s external campuses and a photo album of all the campus locations were packed, along with items from the academic schools. Among those was a Bible with favorite verses marked and signed by students and faculty, a copy of the revived literary magazine, Embers, and actual modern currency contributed by the School of Business with the idea that future generations may no longer be using actual bills and coins.

Lauren Davis, president of the student body, read a prediction for the future penned by the Student Government Association cabinet, then helped pack items representing student life and pop culture, including an Abercrombie & Fitch shirt, blue jeans, flip flops, sling backpacks, a coffee shop cup, a DVD and Blu-ray, a video game, an MP3 player, a USB thumb drive, a GPS, a digital camera and an old cellular phone. 

Danny Andrews, director of alumni development, then helped pack items related to the university centennial and the school in general, including a yearbook, commemorative medallions, a poster, megaphone, pens, a reusable shopping bag representing the recycling and “green” efforts, a cap and pedometer representing the new wellness initiative, t-shirts, copies of the alumni magazine and admissions materials.

Other items reflect current trends such as a 44-cent postage stamp, a gift card and expired credit/debit card. A copy of the Time Magazine commemorating the Obama inauguration, Newsweek’s issue on the recession and recovery and year-end issues of Sports Illustrated and People magazines were included to give a glimpse into the current events of 2009. Printouts of Internet Web sites like Facebook, Amazon and MyCheckFree were included to address social media and online shopping and bill-paying trends.

The last item added was a packet that included various predictions and current challenges and trends, a list of the external campuses and their current data and a “tour” of the time capsule items to explain their functions to the future generations. Photos of the packing event were also printed on-site and tucked inside the envelope to commemorate the occasion.

“It was exciting to be part of the centennial and to close it out this way with a special event for the whole Wayland family,” said English. “I think it was special for everyone involved to know that we will be immortalized through the time capsule.”

A new concrete slab marked 2058 was placed over the new capsule to hold it in place until the next unearthing.