Wayland Celebrates with December Graduates


Graduating woman stands at podium, speaking.
Mallorie Ellis, from Brownfield, was the senior class speaker for the winter graduation ceremony at Wayland Baptist University on Saturday. Ellis graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University celebrated winter Commencement Saturday afternoon with 68 students participating in the ceremony.

Krista Epley was recognized as the highest ranking graduate, completing her degree with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Epley, from Midland, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Mallorie Ellis, a graduating senior from Brownfield who was a member of the Pioneer volleyball team, served as the senior class speaker. Ellis, an English major, challenged her classmates to “never let fear keep you from chasing your future.”

Drawing from her personal experience as a volleyball player for the Pioneers, Ellis said she had to step out of her comfort zone in order to commit to play volleyball. Ellis contemplated the scholarship offer for about a month because she felt she was too small to play volleyball at the collegiate level.

“I felt that I wouldn’t be fast enough, jump high enough or even know enough about volleyball to play at the collegiate level,” she said.

Ellis explained that the decision to play came with many challenges, including surgery, hospitalization and illness. But by facing those challenges she gained life-long friends, knowledge and experience that she wouldn’t trade.

“There were so many times giving up would have been the easiest option, but I was never ready to let go,” she said. “Accepting the challenge not only provided me with the opportunity to further my athletic career, but also further my education.

“Looking back on my career as an athlete here at Wayland, it has been everything I could have imagined. I learned more than I ever thought possible and played with some of the best athletes I’ve ever seen.”

As Ellis challenged her classmates to chase their dreams, she encouraged them to always focus on God.

“Chase it with everything you have. Go at it wholeheartedly and keep God at the forefront of your thoughts and decisions,” she said.

Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall challenged the new Pioneer alumni to take advantage of their new beginnings, drawing inspiration from the Christmas season and the birth of Christ.

“Graduates, today you also experience a new beginning,” he said. “Certainly the circumstances are different, but you, too, are the children of God, and well equipped through this education and other experiences, to do the work of Christ, to spread the good news, and to change the world in which we live.”

Those participating in the ceremony were:

Doctor of Management: Patricia Roebuck, Montgomery; Warren Paul Walker, Plainview.

Master of Arts in English: Bridgit A. O’Connell, Lockney

Master of Business Administration: Judy Leanna Brake, Hale Center; Araceli Chavez, Plainview; Dawaan Dontay Raglin, Waco; Sara Catherine Schmalzried, Kress.

Master of Education: Brooke Michelle Fowler, Kress; Clifton F. Rogge III, Abilene.

Master of Public Administration: Vance Steven Lipsey, Brentwood; Devin Evans, Anaheim, CA.

Bachelor of Applied Science: John Able Arellano, Floydada; Denzel Deon Bradford, Huntsville; Travis A. Dutton, Ewa Beach, HI; Sara E. Fernandez, Plainview; Brendon C. Foust, Amarillo; Justin Ray Hernandez, Seminole; Kenneth Michael Hewitt, Plainview; Adriana Alanis Luna, Belen, NM; De’Lena BaCall Mathews, Mansfield; Richard I. Mora, Plainview; Jesse A. Ortiz, Southland; Kirk Mitchell Parsley, Crowell; Joe Angel Salinas, Jr., San Antonio; Chantal Vigil, Albuquerque, NM; Jacob Tyler Vigil, Albuquerque, NM.

Bachelor of Arts: Melody Nicole Chavez, Plainview; Mallorie Nicole Ellis, Brownfield; Yolanda Melissa Gallegos, Plainview; Jonathan Ottenwalder Gutierrez, Dominican Republic; Melissa M. Hester, Plainview; Asia H. Igafo, Kaneohe, HI; Rhonda Latrice Johnson, Bryan; Ian Killian Kirk, Baldwin City, KS; Elexia Rae Ruiz, Amarillo; Johan Marcus Silva, Lubbock; Rozlynn Destinee Vasquez, Riverside, CA.

Bachelor of Business Administration: Joshua Brown, Plainview; Bobby Akem Childers, Crowbyton; Jackline Jemeli, Kitale, Kenya; Obet Gonzalo A. Medina, Plainview; Tiona d. Owens, Plainview; Richard Preston Rackley, Corpus Christi.

Bachelor of Christian Ministry: Monte J. Lass, Lockney.

Bachelor of Music: Shayla Kaileigh McCutcheon, Lubbock; Madison Taylor Younger, Canyon.

Bachelor of Science: Jillian Blanchard, Arlington; Luke Talbot Brown, Plainview; Krista Shay Epley, Midland; Yulissa Gisel Gutierrez Flores, Dallas; Kimberly Nichole Grimaldo, Plainview; Ellen Ann Hamzy, Ft. Worth; Drew Alan Jackson, Portales, NM; Kyle E. Rickman, Seminole; Evelynn N. Simmmons, El Paso; Jai’Cee Danielle Tudman, Amarillo; Audrey Danielle Varela, Plainview; Williams Robert Roy Watkins III, Farmersville; Christopher Paul Willit, Jr., Prosper.

Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: Laura Sandra Alcorcha, Plainview; Jessica Gonzalez, Hart; Raul R. Almaraz Hernandez, San Antonio; Jasen Jay Herrera, Farwell; Lesley Anais Lara, Olton; Kristen Lee Lopez, Plainview; Pennington Anastacia Moore, Plainview; Nicholas Christopher Pierson, Wylie; Matthew Luke Salazar, Plainview.

Associate of Applied Science: JoAnne Minner, Plainview.