Public invited to Jimmy Dean open house

April 26, 2013

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University officials are inviting the public to view and tour the newly constructed Jimmy Dean Hall on Sunday afternoon from 2-3:30 p.m.

The come-and-go open house will consist of a brief dorm tour, along with refreshments, a reel of Jimmy Dean television commercials and appearances, and a photo display that tells the Jimmy Dean story. An official dedication will be held in the courtyard at 2:30 p.m.

The dorm has housed students this academic year, while small finishing touches were continuing to be made. The final pieces were put into place earlier this week as several photographs and a large portrait were hung on display telling the story of Jimmy Dean’s rise from a poor boy in Seth Ward to the top of the entertainment industry.

Jimmy Dean Hall is a three-story structure with 175 double-occupancy rooms. It features the latest in “green” technologies as well as technology that helps ensure the safety of Wayland students.

Jimmy and Donna Dean originally gave $1 million to Wayland in 2008. In 2012, an additional $5 million was donated, the majority of which will be used to fund a Jimmy Dean addition to the Museum of the Llano Estacado. Along with the $5 million, Donna Dean has shipped Jimmy Dean memorabilia to Wayland to use in the museum. The Wayland administration has already hired an architect to design plans for the museum addition. Administrators hope to break ground on the project this summer.

Jimmy Dean was born in Olton on Aug. 10, 1928. He was raised by his mother in Seth Ward. He dropped out of high school to join the Merchant Marines. His love for music led him to a career, recording his first big hit “Bummin’ Around” in 1953. He established the Jimmy Dean Sausage Company in 1969. Jimmy married Donna Meade in 1991 and the two lived in Richmond, VA. Dean was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. He was inducted in the Country Music Hall of fame posthumously in 2010. Dean died on June 13, 2010.