Ross added to Math and Sciences Hall of Honor

February 27, 2010  

PLAINVIEW – Emeritus Professor of Biology Dr. Vaughn Ross took his place among other giants of Wayland Baptist University science faculty Friday as he was inducted into the School of Mathematics and Sciences Hall of Honor.

The ceremony was held as part of Homecoming 2010 weekend, which began Friday and included a guest alumni lecture by Dr. Ken Mattox, longtime cardiac surgeon and professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

Surrounded by other members of the Hall of Honor, Ross was lauded by fellow emeritus professor Dr. J. Hoyt Bowers as a divinely-appointed addition to the WBU faculty back in 1994, coming off a long career on the mission field in Kenya in the area of public health.

“Dr. Ross’ coming to Wayland was God-lead. He just moved him from one mission field to another,” Bowers said, noting that Ross was a sophomore and worked as a barber in the Gates Hall basement barber shop on campus when Bowers joined the faculty decades ago. When he and wife Johnene decided to return to the states permanently, he called Bowers to inquire of any positions he may know about in higher education. As it so happened, longtime professor Dr. Harold Reese had just announced his retirement a few days earlier, and Bowers and his colleague Dr. Gerald Thompson just knew God had opened the door for Ross to return as a faculty member.

Ross attended WBU, graduating in 1967 with majors in biology and religion. He continued with a master’s degree in science from West Texas State University and a doctorate from Kansas State University. He worked as a high school science teacher and field biologist for seven years before the couple headed to Kenya for a role as Director of Community Health for the Nyanza Baptist Clinics, later the Coordinator of Human Needs Ministries. Johnene provided discipleship training in their home and assisted with community health clinics.

Ross served as Dean of the School of Mathematics and Sciences from 2005-09, during which time the school added majors in geology and established a nursing program to be run from the San Antonio campus. He was instrumental in helping establish the Kenya campus program in 2000 and served as the director of that endeavor for eight years.

In his response to the Hall of Honor induction, Ross spoke of his own WBU experiences.

“Wayland is about students. I experienced that first when I came as a student,” he said. “The last chapter of coming back to Wayland was icing on the cake. To get to do for other students what I believe these guys did for me.”

Ross joins fellow emeritus professor Thompson, Reese, Bowers and Dr. Harold Temple on the Hall of Honor, as well as the late Dr. Dorothy McCoy, a longtime math professor.