Alumni, faculty celebrate endowment of scholarship honoring Jesters

April 6, 2011

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Michael Davis made his way back to Wayland Baptist University for the second time in six weeks, this time to honor a couple from his student days.

Davis, who works as manager of Nuclear Training Policy and Compliance for National Security Technologies in Las Vegas, Nev., took part in Wednesday’s chapel service featuring Dr. and Mrs. David Jester to pay homage to the man who served as president during Davis’ undergraduate days.

The chapel service included the dedication of the Dr. David L. and Marie Hans Jester Endowed Social Work Scholarship, which Davis began with his own financial gifts, then spearheaded the effort to raise the needed funds to bring the scholarship to full endowment in less than a year. Other alumni, former employees and friends have added to the scholarship Davis intended to honor the legacy of the Jesters, who served as president and first lady at Wayland from 1981-87.

In his remarks after the dedication, Davis praised the Jesters for being an example of service to others.

Dr. and Mrs. Jester taught me that making a difference begins with me,” he said. “Thank you both for being a positive influence in the lives of so many.”

Indiana native Marie Hans and “missionary kid” David Jester met while students at Georgetown College in Kentucky and married shortly after graduation in 1951. Jester had been raised in Tanzania to missionary parents.

The couple attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with Marie earning a Master of Religious Education from the Carver School of Missions and Social Work and David completing the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in divinity. He later earned the Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees from Teachers College of Columbia University and also did graduate work at University of Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello University and the University of California at Berkeley.

The Jesters ministered as missionaries in the United States, Nigeria and other countries. David served as president of Niger Baptist College, was founder of the School of Basic Studies at Ahmadu Bello University and held faculty and administrative positions at Campbellsville University (Ky.) and Georgetown College.

Jester became the ninth president of Wayland in 1981. During his tenure, Wayland moved from college to university status; added graduate, associate and lifelong learning programs; opened McClung University Center, started the Learning Resources Center; and expanded its reach to San Antonio, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

After leaving Wayland, the Jesters continued their work in social and educational programs at Central Texas College, Texas State Technical College, South Texas College and Mid-Continent University in Kentucky, where David retired as Chancellor Emeritus. Marie worked in education and literacy programs in various locations.

The couple is retired in Louisville, where David serves as a deacon and president of two boards and Marie is president of PEO and a leader in WMU. They have three daughters and three grandchildren.

Endowed scholarships are created with any donation, which is then invested in the Baptist Foundation of Texas. With interest and additional gifts, the fund is able to reach endowment at $25,000. At that time, interest is pulled annually to provide scholarships for students, with the corpus remaining intact into perpetuity.

For more information on endowed scholarships, call the Office of Advancement at (806) 291-3425.