Provence, Jesko Receive President's Award

March 9, 2018

two couples receive an award from Wayland President Bobby Hall
Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall (left) presents the President’s Award to Joe and Freda Provence (top) and Joe and Terri Jesko for their support of Wayland Baptist University.

DALLAS – Wayland Baptist University honored several key donors at its Pioneers of Excellence awards dinner held recently at the Museum of Biblical Arts in Dallas. Joe and Freda Provence, of Plainview, and Joe and Terri Jesko, of Arlington, received the prestigious President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed to benefactors who have given not only financially, but have also supported the university’s endeavors through service and advocacy.

Joe Provence earned his degree from Wayland in 1966, while Freda graduated in 1974. Together they served for many years as sponsors of the Miss Wayland pageant, working with each year’s winner to prepare for the annual Miss Texas Pageant.

Joe retired in 2006 after 44 years on the Wayland staff, serving in the news services office and in student activities before taking the alumni role in 1985. He was named Emeritus Director of Alumni Services by the WBU Board of Trustees. Freda retired in 2007 after 25 years of service to Wayland, all spent as an administrative assistant in the president’s office.

The Provences were honored with Wayland’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013 as well as the Spirit of Philanthropy Award by the Wayland advancement office as part of the National Philanthropy Day program in 2013.

Joe and Terri Jesko both graduated in 1968 and have passionately supported the university since. From special projects such as the All-Steinway Initiative and Impact 2020 campaign to more general programs such as the annual fund, the Sally Society women’s philanthropy group and endowed scholarships, the Jeskos have been avid supporters both financially and through service.

Joe has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2010 and Terri served as a trustee from 1998-2006. Joe received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Wayland in 2000 and the couple was honored with the Distinguished Benefactor Alumni Award in 2015.

Wayland also recognized three recipients of the Keeper of the Flame Award, given in recognition of individuals and groups who have given at least $100,000 to the university. The Roberta Wright Reeves Trust, Dr. Glenda and Brad Payas, and Jack and Kelly Sue Witten were recognized for their lifetime support of the university.

The Roberta Wright Reeves Trust established an endowed scholarship in 2002 to support students in the School of Languages and Literature. Mrs. Reeves was the granddaughter of Col. C.C. Slaughter, a West Texas cattleman, who was influential in Wayland’s early days.

Dr. Glenda Payas, a 1969 graduate of Wayland, and her husband Brad have established several endowed scholarships and supported other Wayland endeavors including the Sally Society, the annual fund and the capital campaign.

Jack and Kelly Sue Witten have supported student scholarships, the annual Lubbock campus gala, athletic programs, Spanning the Centuries campaign and several other areas of the university. Jack also served the university as a trustee for more than two decades.