Religion professor retires after 30 years in the classroom

April 13, 2012

PLAINVIEW -- About five years ago, Dr. Gary Manning stumbled across a personal revelation that explains a lot about his career. As he was participating in a psychological profile study, it was determined that his desire for change was off the charts. At that point in time, he had been teaching at Wayland for only 25 years.

“Why are you still there?” asked the profile administrator.

“Because I’m always teaching something new,” he replied.

Five years later, however, Dr. Manning is ready to embark on a new journey as he retires from full-time teaching.

A web of personal relationships has influenced Manning’s life throughout the years. Friends and acquaintances have come and gone, but through these relationships Manning developed a network that not only brought him to Wayland, but also allowed him to influence others in their decisions.

Manning has seen a lot in his 30 years at Wayland, but while his life may be driven by the desire for change, he has watched those 30 years pass from the same corner office in the Flores Bible Building.

“I’ve spent 30 years in this office,” he said. “Nearly everybody else has moved.”

A 1969 graduate of Howard Payne University, Manning earned his master’s degree in religious education in 1972. Ten years later, he walked away from Southwestern Seminary with a Ph.D. During those 10 years, Manning worked as a pastor, music minister, youth minister and just about any other position one can hold within a church. But as he was completing his doctorate an encounter with a friend had a profound influence on his life.