Wayland family acknowledges endowed scholarships during homecoming

PLAINVIEW — Wayland Baptist University administrators took time during the recent homecoming events to recognize several families that have endowed scholarship to benefit Wayland students.

During the Homecoming Chapel, Director of Alumni Development Danny Andrews recognized Charles and Mary Abercrombie with three honors, including an endowed scholarship established by the couple’s four children. The Abercrombies were also presented with the Distinguished Benefactor Award and the Keeper of the Flame Award, recognizing individuals for significant donations to the university.

Although the couple did not attend Wayland, two of the four children did. Dr. Gary Abercrombie (wife, Janice), of Plainview, and his sister, Trisha Worthen (husband, Bill), both graduated from the university and currently Dr. Abercrombie serves as the chairman of the Wayland Baptist University board of trustees.

The couple’s other children are Carolyn Rollins (husband, Dale) and Jana Carver (husband, Terry).

The Joanne Bowers Chemical Education Endowed Scholarship was dedicated during a special reception held in the Moody Science Building. The scholarship was in recognition of Bowers’ 50-plus years of service through chemical education, teaching at the high school and collegiate levels. Joanne Bowers is married to Dr. J. Hoyt Bowers, longtime science faculty member at Wayland, and the couple has a son, Mark, and two grandchildren.

Other scholarships were dedicated at a special luncheon. The Weldon and Betty Beckner scholarships honor Dr. and Mrs. Beckner who graduated from Wayland Baptist College in 1955, Betty with a B.A. in English and Dr. Beckner with a B.S. in business administration. Following a brief experience as a bookkeeper, Dr. Beckner chose to become an educator and completed 52 years as an educator and educational administrator at the elementary, secondary and university levels, including a return to Wayland as a vice president.

Because they recognize the extreme shortage of male elementary school teachers and the special needs of rural schools, the first of their two scholarships is designed specifically to encourage young men with a faith-based background to become elementary school teachers in rural communities.

Along with their professional careers, the Beckners have enjoyed a lifetime of participation in church music programs. In light of that, the couple’s second scholarship is designed to help students at Wayland who feel God’s call to serve in the music ministry.

Dr. Fred and Sally Meeks were recognized with the endowment of a scholarship that will benefit students at Wayland who plan to pursue vocational Christian ministry. Dr. Meeks served as a pastor before entering education. He taught courses in Bible, theology and Christian ministry for 21 years at Wayland and held the position of Dean of the Division of Religion and Philosophy. He now serves as the director of the Logsdon Seminary Lubbock Program.

Sally Meeks is a registered nurse who served in various hospitals and public schools. She retired as school nurse at Plainview High School in 2006. The couple has two daughters, Marnie and Meredith.

Loren Phillips of Lubbock established the Garland L. and Waty D. Phillips Endowed Scholarship in honor of his parents out of gratitude for their love, provision and Christian influence on his life.  Garland Phillips was a native of Rotan and worked for Vulcan Materials in Denver City. Mrs. Phillips was a native of Emory, Texas and was a homemaker.

Because music was an integral part of the family’s life, the scholarship is intended to benefit Wayland students whose passion is to minister to the church through Christian music.

The university also recognized the Browning family for a series of scholarships established based on a generous in-kind gift, including the Hollis W. and Venita Browning Scholarship. Hollis and Venita Browning were married in 1928 and were owners of cotton gins, ice plants and grocery stores, while also being engaged in farming. Hollis died in 1967 and Venita in 1998.

Four other scholarships were named in honor of other members of the Browning family, including the Jean Lee II and Sandra Sioen Browning Scholarship, the Paul and Kathryn Browning Holloway Scholarship, the James and Karen Browning Higgins Scholarship, and the John T. and Alicia S. Browning Scholarship.

The members of the Browning family have been valuable members of the community and the West Texas region serving through business and career fields, as well as in various churches. All of the Browning scholarships are dedicated to assist students seeking a quality Christian education.