Wayland homecoming to feature 'Big Top' theme

February 4, 2011

PLAINVIEW – College life might ordinarily be called a zoo, but this year, Wayland Baptist University thinks it’s more of a circus.

Featuring the theme “Under the Wayland Big Top,” the university’s annual Homecoming Weekend is slated for Feb. 25-26 in Plainview. Various activities are planned to give alumni from all years a chance to gather, reminisce, introduce their families to the campus and community and enjoy some of their favorite WBU traditions.

This year’s event honors the Class of 1961 as the Golden Anniversary class, with other honor classes ending in 1: 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001. Classes are encouraged to gather as groups and celebrate memories of their time at Wayland.

A special feature this year is the carnival for families, featuring games, inflatables and entertainment. That event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Laney Center. Families are encouraged to bring their children for free fun during homecoming, then join the Wayland family for a “tailgate” hamburger and hotdog lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of Hutcherson Center for $8 per person before the ballgames begin at 2 p.m.

The remainder of the weekend will feature many of the homecoming traditions with which Wayland alumni are familiar. For those who may arrive on Thursday evening, the Flying Queens and Pioneers will take on Rogers State University at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, in basketball action in Hutcherson Center. Also at 8 p.m., the Wayland University Theatre department presents its first production of “Musical Mayhem,” an evening of music, theatre, improvisation and more from students and faculty, in the Harral Studio Theatre. Tickets are $4 for Wayland alumni.

The Abraham Family Art Gallery in the Mabee Learning Resources Center will feature the exhibit The Fine Art of Jazz, featuring photography by Dan White, during the entire weekend as well. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 2-5 on Saturday.

On Friday, events officially kick off with the Golden Anniversary breakfast honoring the Class of 1961. Guests with the class members are $7 per person for the event, which allows alums a chance to reminisce about their WBU experiences.

Registration and coffee follow in the foyer of Harral Auditorium, beginning at 9 a.m. Homecoming chapel then begins at 11 a.m., with the Association of Former Students honoring its annual Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. Following at 12:30, the Legacy League Luncheon will be held in the McClung Center, honoring all graduates of 50 years or more. Tickets are free for those graduates and $11 for all other guests.

The afternoon will feature a baseball doubleheader with Oklahoma City University at Wilder Field, beginning at 2 p.m. Also at 2 p.m., the School of Mathematics and Sciences will host a guest lecture with Dr. Bob Sartain, a 1961 WBU graduate and  retired math professor from Howard Payne University who formerly taught at Wayland.

At 3:30 p.m., the School of Math and Sciences will host a reception for honorees of new endowed scholarships – including professors emeritus Dr. Harold Reese and Dr. J. Hoyt Bowers and donors David Milstead and Dr. Glenda Payas – and Dr. Sartain. The event is open to the public in the foyer of Moody Science Building.

Activities for the children of alumni visiting campus will be held Friday from 5-11 p.m. at the Laney Center, including a pizza dinner, snacks, crafts and games. The Alpha Delta Kappa sorority will provide childcare and activities free of charge to alums with reservations through the Alumni Services office.

The annual homecoming banquet will be held at 6 p.m. in the McClung Center, featuring entertainment by the student candidates for Homecoming Queen. Sponsoring organizations are required to perform a skit or song with their candidate at the banquet.

“We had a great time last year with lots of students involved in the songs contestants did for the banquet,” said Danny Andrews, director of alumni development and sponsor for homecoming along with the Student Alumni Council. “I know our visiting alumni were very impressed with the quality of talent by Wayland students.”

Tickets to the banquet are $11 per person for those without WBU meal plans. Reservations are needed in advance.

Friday evening will also feature a cheerleader reunion at 8 p.m. in the Laney Center and another performance at 8 p.m. of the theatre production “Musical Mayhem.”

On Saturday, homecoming continues with a breakfast for alumni of the math and sciences at 8 a.m. in the Mabee Learning Resources Center atrium. Registration continues at 9 a.m. in McClung and the University Store will host an open house with discounts for alumni, beginning at 9 a.m.

A coffee and time for visiting will be hosted for all honor classes and visiting alumni from 9-11:30 a.m. in the McClung Center parlor. At 9:30 a.m., a brief dedication ceremony will be held for the Miss Wayland display in the foyer of Harral Auditorium. The display includes newly framed prints of each of the 40 winners along with a case containing historical photos and memorabilia from the decades of pageantry.

A reunion and mini-concert for former members of the International Choir is set for 10 a.m. in the Miller Recital Hall, a favorite tradition for alumni vocalists. At 10:30 a.m., the Athletic Hall of Honor Inductions will be held in McClung Center room 211, followed by a reception honoring the inductees. This year’s honor class includes basketball standouts Breena Caldwell and Richard Miller, track and field athlete Patrick Nwanguzo and longtime bus driver and supporter Frank Bass.

The noon luncheon follows in the Laney Center, with recognition of new endowed scholarships and a brief word from President Dr. Paul Armes. Tickets are $10 per person for that event. The tailgate meal will take place in Hutcherson Center as a more informal option for lunch, with plates for $8.

Athletics is on tap for the afternoon, beginning with a Pioneer baseball game at 1 p.m. on Wilder Field and the basketball doubleheader tipping off at 2 p.m. in Hutcherson Center. During halftimes and between games, the coronation of the Homecoming Queen will take place along with recognition of the Hall of Honor inductees and performances by the Pioneer Marching Band and the Cheer and Dance Team.

The evening features another 8 p.m. performance of the theatre production “Musical Mayhem,” or the alumni-student dance for homecoming guests, offered free in the Laney Center. Sunday will also feature a final 2 p.m. matinee production of “Musical Mayhem.” Tickets are $4 for alums and $8 for other adults.

For more information on homecoming events, call the Office of Alumni Services at (806) 291-3600. Reservations can be made for the ticketed events via an online form at www.wbu.edu under Past Students. Advance reservations are requested for events with meals.