Legacy Luncheon focuses on Wayland past, present and future

October 11, 2013

PLAINVIEW – Friday afternoon, the Wayland Alumni Association hosted a luncheon for its Distinguished Alumni honorees and any alum who graduated more than 50 years ago. The Legacy League Luncheon honors those who have left a lasting legacy at the school.
As part of the luncheon program, Dr. Estelle Owens, Dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences and University Historian, Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Bobby Hall and senior business major Caitlin Walker offered a look at Wayland’s past, present and future.

Dr. Owens opened the presentation talking about Wayland’s past and quoting the “great wisdom writers” that came from Texas.

“Topping the list, the head coach at UT, Darryl Royal, who had a great philosophy about success and sustainability: Find a winning combination and stay with it,” Owens said. “What he actually said was, dance with the one what brung ya.”

Owens explained Royal was talking about the concept of symbiosis, a mutually beneficial relationship. She said Wayland has always had a symbiotic relationship with the area churches and Baptist Associations.

She gave many examples, including one of the Sunbeams from First Baptist Church in Plainview, who in the early 1900s, collected the coins from their piggy banks and lined them up along seventh street from the church building to the university, then donated the coins to the school.

Wayland also maintain relationships with other area churches. First Baptist Church Hereford employed Dr. E.B. Atwood, president from 1919-1923, paying his salary so that Wayland would not have to spend the additional funds. And First Baptist Church of Matador donated $4,000 to the university to brick Matador Hall.

Dr. Hall gave a synopsis of Wayland’s present, focusing on how the university has continued to grow in spite of what he calls “the most volatile environment in the history of higher education in this country.”

“And yet, Wayland has moved through this time so far with grace and with success and we expect to continue to do so,” he said. “There seems to be a significant loss in confidence in some circles of our country, in the value of higher education.”

Dr. Hall said last fall there were “half a million fewer students in higher education than the fall before. This year, I predict it will be much higher than that.” Hall said Wayland will see a downturn in overall enrollment numbers this fall, but the school is prepared for that event.

Dr. Hall said Wayland is currently preparing for its fifth-year review by its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Wayland’s School of Music has just completed a successful accreditation review by the National Association of Schools of Music, and the School of Nursing in San Antonio also holds specific accreditation.

Academic course offerings increased with the addition of the Master of Divinity program and the Bachelor of Fine Arts. And Dr. Hall said other program offerings are currently in the academic governance process for approval.

Walker, who serves as a President’s Ambassador, offered her thoughts on Wayland’s future, pointing to growing academic and athletic programs and the impact they will have on the school.

“It’s interesting to think that in 25 years I’m going to be in my 40s,” Walker said, drawing a chuckle from the predominantly 50+ crowd. “I pray that I will have a chance to bring my own kids to a football game here. I’m going to have the chance to say that I was here the first year that the Wayland Pioneers played at Bulldog Stadium.”

Walker also pointed to academic success, specifically the School of Math and Sciences and its work on a treatment for breast cancer. Student research groups have been working diligently with promising results.

“Knowing that Wayland Baptist University is going to have a hand in upcoming treatments for breast cancer is extremely exciting,” she said.

Dr. Hall summarized the overwhelming feeling and sentiment among the participants.
“Wayland is in good hands,” he said. “And I’m not talking about my hands, Dr. (Paul) Armes’ (President) hands or anyone else’s hands. I’m talking about God’s hands. This university is in good hands and we look forward to wonderful times to come.”